Crossposted from Town Called Dobson
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With another Saddam snuff film on the Internet, he is beginning to compete with Tupac for postmortem video releases.
If Bush cannot control the execution of Saddam with any level of confidence why should we expect anything more from anything else he has done or promised? Same old, same old. Yawn.
From the Toronto Star:
If he had the mordant wit of a Jack Kennedy, George W. Bush would be thinking, "I invaded Iraq, and all I got was this lousy video."
As war trophies go, the grainy film clip of Saddam Hussein's execution last Saturday doesn't compare with prising California from the Mexicans or the liberation of Paris. But it will have to do in the absence of any other success to derive from "Operation Enduring Freedom."
The grisly video that documents Saddam's final moments on Earth runs just over two minutes, but tells a powerful, nuanced story of ethnic hatred that curses so much of the planet, and would be instructive to the U.S. president but for his poor powers of comprehension.
Indeed, what have we gotten from Iraq except lies, corruption and death? According to the Pentagon, the only thing coming down the pike is more of the same. Saddam's videos have shown the simple abundance of everything that America used to stand against. We used to pride ourselves with holding the high ground. No matter how terrible an enemy was, we never stooped to their level.
Now we have, and we can't stop.
An October 2006 report in the U.K. medical journal Lancet puts the number of "excess deaths" in Iraq due to the invasion at 654,965, with 601,027 of these resulting from post-invasion violence. The Lancet numbers were disputed by other experts who variously put the civilian death toll as low as 57,980 (the Iraqi Body Count website) and 30,000 (Bush Jr., in a guesstimate during a Philadelphia speech in December 2005.)
Regardless of how the carnage is quantified, sectarian violence has only intensified since Yehya Hassan expressed his hope that the emergence of Saddam from his "spider hole" near Tikrit presaged a new enlightened beginning for Iraq. Boy Bush told fellow Americans in 2003 that the cost of Saddam's removal would not top $60 billion (U.S.), a sum that Iraqis would pay out of their own oil revenues. And those revenues might indeed have burgeoned, as the White House had predicted, but for the entirely foreseeable insurgency that crippled Iraq's petroleum infrastructure within weeks of the invasion, and has kept it that way for almost four years. (The Iraqis, after all, managed in their rapid retreat from Kuwait to torch hundreds of its oilfields.) By the recent estimate of former World Bank chief economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University professor of public policy Linda Bilmes, the U.S. tab for the Iraq war and occupation is certain to exceed $1 trillion (U.S.).
The Saddam execution video is now the most expensive movie ever made. It makes Titanic's $200 million price tag cheap by comparison.