Saddam’s Gone – Why Aren’t We?

When Saddam was first captured, the accolades bestowed upon Mr. Bush were empirical proof enough for me that there would be a permanent presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. The successful snatching of Saddam was enough to validate the entire unconstitutional war in the minds of many Americans. Critics of the war were told to shut up.

But wasn’t apprehending Saddam supposedly what the war – and the debate over entering the war – was all about in the first place? So the Bush administration accomplished what it said it wanted to accomplish. It seems to me that the logical response to the capture of Saddam would have been a speedy and hasty withdrawal. Objective accomplished.

Instead, the capture of Saddam was used to score points for a continued occupation of Iraq: political grandstanding at its worst. Every day of U.S. occupation after Saddam’s capture is evidence that the war has absolutely nothing to do with Saddam, and everything to do with nation-building.

The Saddam factor has morphed into whatever suits neocon propaganda. The capture of Saddam was enough for neocons to deify Mr. Bush. But like Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s 1984, Saddam never really goes away. Only Saddam “sympathizers” and “loyalists” wish for the war in Iraq to end, according to the neocons.

It seems as though Republicans are either suffering from a terrible case of amnesia, or else they have some sort of cognitive deficiency syndrome. Tell me if I’m wrong here, but Saddam has been in U.S. custody for quite some time, hasn’t he? So how much farther removed from power does Saddam have to be before Bush can safely stop “emancipating” the world from him?

Pursuant to neocon logic, wanting to pull U.S. troops out of Okinawa demonstrates love for Konoe and Tojo. To properly distance ourselves from George III, U.S. troops should be shooting at British troops instead of working with them. And for that matter, why stop liberating Iraq at Saddam? How about finding some good dirt on Shamash-mudammiq, Nabu-apal-iddin, Nabonassar, or Nebuchadrezzar II as an excuse to keep this Babylonian adventure going?

I don’t think I need to take this reductio ad absurdum any further to prove my point. Those of us who are opposed to the war need to stop letting neocons co-opt our own best issue, i.e., the end of Saddam’s rule. Next time you are accused of being a Saddam “loyalist,” take a deep breath and calmly remind the neocons of Bush’s own “success.”