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Sunday, January 07, 2007


Political Humor of the Day: Christopher Hitchens on Saddam's hanging

Christopher Hitchens is out with an article about "the shameful hanging of Saddam" and denouncing the "inescapable barbarity of capital punishment." This from a guy who was foursquare behind the U.S. attempt to decapitate Iraq (figuratively) and decapitate Saddam Hussein (literally) on March 19, 2003 with four 2,000 pound bombs (as well as subsequent attempts). All, as I've pointed out before, without even the benefit of a rigged trial (other than on the pages and airwaves of the U.S. media). Not that Hitchens is alone in this of course; as I've noted, with all the words I've seen devoted in the last few days to the "spectacle" of Hussein's death, I have not heard one person other than myself recall U.S. attempts to murder Saddam the "civilized" way -- from the air without having to look him in the face.

"White man's burden" is in full evidence in Hitchens' piece, with mentions of "zoo-like scenes," "the unwashed goons of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army," and "Sadr's riffraff," and a thinly-veiled reference to the racist term "ragheads" with "the only character with a rag of dignity in the whole scene is the father of all hangmen, Saddam Hussein himself" (the conventional phrase is "shred" of decency, Christopher).

Hitchens ends with "To know that the U.S. government had even a silent, shamefaced part in it is to feel something well beyond embarrassment." And to read Christopher Hitchens denouncing the death penalty while cheerleading a war that has killed more than a half-million people, as well as putting his racism on display for the world to see? That's to feel something well beyond "well beyond embarrassment." Revulsion, perhaps.

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