SADDAM

Is there anyone on the planet who didn’t watch that statue of Saddam Hussein coming down yesterday?

Is there any rational person who didn’t feel good about it?

However you feel about the war, you have to admit it feels good to see the Iraqi people finally be rid of that psycho who was running their country, to see them celebrating in the streets and badmouthing Saddam without fear. And no, I’m not just trying to set up some parallel to what it’s like living in America under Bush and how I’d like to see his statues toppled. The end of Saddam is a good thing, for Iraq and for the world.

But I still think this war is wrong.

There’s going to be a lot chaos in Iraq now, which was only to be expected, and a lot of gloating from the hawks in the U.S., which is probably premature. The war, as I see it, was never about getting rid of Saddam, a monster we helped create, nor was our fear that we would fail. The sight of statues falling someday was pretty much inevitable. But the bigger issue is what happens now.

Will the Arab world start to see us as the “liberators” we pretend to be, or will our conquest and occupation of an Arab country only lead to more Islamic extremism and breed a new crop of terrorists? (To the Marine who briefly draped the US flag over that statue’s head: nice work, bonehead.)

What about North Korea? Donald Rumsfeld is already getting cocky with America’s other enemies, warning them to shape up or be next on the hit list. Are we really scaring them into submssion or just pissing them off?

What about France, Germany, Russia, NATO, the United Nations? Can we rebuild all those burned bridges? Will we even try? I want to eat French Fries again.

Will we be able to maintain peace in the Gulf and set up a new government with any kind of credibility to the Iraqi people and the rest of the world?

Will we actually discover any weapons of mass destruction in the ruins of Iraq, or will we have to admit that the “hunch” that led to our invasion was wrong? And if Saddam really had those weapons, how come, as a last gasp effort to save himself, he never used them?

A quick look at history is enough to make you skeptical on all these issues. But forgive me for a moment, while I watch the Iraqi people celebrating, if I try to be optimistic.

I’m no expert on foreign policy, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. But I want the same thing as the people who supported the war: a safer America, and a safer world. I don’t think we’re going about it the right way, but I hope I’m wrong. I hope the worst is over.

We went, we saw, we conquered. Let’s just hope we’ve been watching the epilogue, and not the introduction.

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