Difficulties Of American Position In Iraq Compounded By Manner Of Saddam Execution
President Bush, I'm afraid, is going to regret his endorsement of the premiership of Nouri Maliki as much as he has had to regret his early endorsement of the conduct of the FEMA director after Hurricane Katrina, when he said, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Maliki bears the major responsibility for turning the execution of Saddam into a blatant example of the kind of sectarian revenge of lynching and murder that is tearing Iraq and the Middle East apart.
With unseemly haste, just four days after his appeals were dismissed, Saddam was sent to the gallows, the execution performed by an all-Shiite group of masked guards who sent him on his way with a cacophony of insults and chants for the murdering Shiite leader, Moktada al-Sadr, that lasted through the very moment the trap door was sprung. All this happened at the very beginning of a Sunni holiday, a message to rebellious Sunnis that there is no place for them in the new Iraq. And a videotape was produced that showed these proceedings in all their squalor and dishonor to the whole world.
Difficult and colonialist as it may have been, the American military should not have given itself to this sordid spectacle by releasing Saddam under these circumstances to the custody of the executioners.
We now find ourselves in an anomalous position in the whole Iraqi enterprise. We are the backers of a barbaric Shiite regime headed by a premier who is in league with murdering sectarian militias. And we are fighting a Sunni insurgency, just as barbaric with its suicide bombings, tortures and be headings, that happens also to be in the same sect as some of our supposed friends in the Middle East, the primarily Sunni kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and the Gulf States.
That this puts the American military and the Bush Administration is an almost impossible situation goes without saying. Only the sorry consequences of a withdrawal keeps us in Iraq at all.
But the pressures at home for such a withdrawal are growing all the time, and despite protracted deliberations, the way forward of President Bush and his administration is not clear.
There was even a poll released over the weekend that shows only 35% of the American military now supports any step up of the war effort of the kind the Adminstration has been contemplating.
Watching the funeral this morning of the late President Gerald R. Ford, with all the tributes to him for taking tough decisions, I wondered about its effect on Mr. Bush. What can he be privately thinking now after the lynching in Baghdad and this new proof that that the man he has endorsed as premier of Iraq is contemptible.
The New York Times had a tour de force Sunday in its pages of stories and pictures about the most recent 1,000 U.S. military personnel who have died in the Iraq war, which brought the total thus far to 3,000.
The reader had to weep for the sacrifices made by these men and women for a people seemingly unable to govern itself in a civilized manner, and the thousands of victims of the murders that have ensued.