Reactions to the pictures of Bidet and Qtip Hussein’s bodies have bee predictable. They are grisly, hideous and authoritative. The two Sons of Saddam are quite dead. The moral justification of all this is a little dodgy, but I can live with the grey areas and inconsistencies. Had there been a chance to drag the bodies through the streets of Mosul, the Iraqi populace would have obliged, providing graphic evidence that there has been a regime change that even an uneducated goat herder could comprehend.
In certain cultures, even ours, this kind of evidence is important. Do remember that Saddam and the Sons terrorized their population for nearly 30 years. We’re talking a whole generation brought up under a leader with absolute power who let his sons behave like Caligula without the restraint and politeness.
There will always be a percentage that will never believe any evidence. It’s too easy to blame the Evil Empire of America, so why confront simple realities when massive conspiracy theories are much more entertaining. This also explains Area 51, Black Helicopters and the International Monetary Fund. By the way, if you don’t go along with the conspiracy theorists, then you’ve obviously been co-opted by the Force, so prepare yourself for that bit of intellectual salsa dancing while you’re up.
The Report is more troubling. It is the Congressional Report on 9/11. The arc of the questions were simple: What the hell went wrong? Why didn’t we catch this shit before it happened?
The fact that 9/11 happened is just the tip of the spear. Intelligence departments didn’t or couldn’t connect the dots enough to figure out something was up before it happened. Fair enough. We, meaning the intelligence agencies and governments, knew that Al Qaeda and a basket of other terrorists groups didn’t like the US before 9/11, I think even the IRA was listed as a terrorist group that didn’t like the US and I don’t remember their being a ban on all Irish people coming to the US, pre-9/11.
What we couldn’t know up until the moment, was that Bin Laden had enough loopy followers, determined to carry out the attacks on the US. The rest of the report is just the benefit of hindsight. To use the nebulous rules of hindsight, I should have never gone into radio in 1976, because I should have known that AM radio was doomed by FM and local television was soon to follow, led by the Internet. Meanwhile my career choice in technology is flawed because all the high tech jobs are going offshore. According to the Rules of Hindsight I should have known this in 1972.
I suppose my very first choice of being a liquor, mattress and condom tester would have been better. Again using the benefit of perfect hindsight it would have been a great career, except I’d now have cirrhosis, back problems and have worn the end off of Mr. Johnson.
The Report is a few thousand pages of Monday Morning Quarterbacking that merely proves the authors can predict the past. Yes, there were security lapses. Yes, the various intelligence agencies didn’t really share well. Yes, there were emergency response problems. Yes, all those problems have been studied; we learned big lessons, really quickly and fixed them even faster.
Some might say we over-compensated, but considering the remarkable depth and breadth of infrastructure change we initiated and implemented in a very short period of time, I’d say we did fine. Fortunately, the finger pointing from the Congressional Report has been shouldered off the media by the pictures of the Sons of Saddam. The media always loves a good blood and guts show.
Which answers the real question: Why do television stations cover shootings, police chases, hostage takings and the rest of modern hostility with very expensive remote satellite camera units, helicopters and massed coverage? Simple: The first one on the screen with the blood and guts wins the ratings wars. Show me the widow’s tears, or the victim’s wounds, or show me the shooter being dropped by SWAT. Live.
Not a whole lot different from dragging a body through the streets, except we let TV cover it for us in North America, so we don’t dirty our hands behaving like the savages we really are.