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12/14/2003 Archived Entry: "Sic Sempris Tyrannis"

I'm back after being laid low by a bug that utterly interrupted my life. And the first order of blog business is CARTOONS and other laughs! Cudos to: Mike Luckovich for "Visit to Drunken Sailors"; the Onion for its infograph on stopping SPAM; and, an oldie but goodie, "A Drug War Carol" by Susan Wells and Scott Beiser -- look at the top right-hand side where it says "next", and use that button to move forward to the next page(s).

Switching my computer over to Linux cannot come too soon for me, tho' I'll have to wait until the updated software package arrives for installation. Last night, while researching the next FOX News column, my system crashed for no apparent reason. Among the work I lost was a half-written blog entry, with notes and URLs, which I am now too &*^%$ frustrated to recreate. I use Windows '98 -- reportedly the most stable of the lot -- but I noted from a newscast yesterday that Microsoft will no longer be supporting '95 or '98 even tho' about 20 percent of all Windows-based computers still run those versions. Penguinistas of the World unite in righteous wrath! Like Emma Goldman, I long to dance through a revolution. Boy...losing work puts me in a bad mood.

Of course, everything I would have said in the unblog -- to get Orwellian -- is obsolete given the now-breaking news of Saddam Hussein's capture. Sic Sempris Tyrannis -- Thus perish all tyrants! My first response at the news was to check out coverage in the English-version Aljazeera, which ran basically the same straight-forward account that is circulating through dozens (probably hundreds) of other newspapers. In an article "World Leaders React," Aljazeera offers several quotations, all from sources that could be expected to applaud. Far more interesting is the article "Early Analysis". Of course, the Iraqi Governing Council has stated, "With the arrest of Saddam the financial resources feeding terrorists have been destroyed and his arrest will put an end to terrorist acts in Iraq." I put more stock in the analysis of Toby Dodge, analyst at Warwick University and International Institute for Strategic Studies, UK: "It's a huge coup and most Iraqis will be celebrating the capture of this tyrant. But it's not as clear-cut as that. The insurgency has grown well beyond Saddam's control or even influence. There are 15 to 30 groups that have no direct contact, financially or strategically, with Saddam Hussein. His capture gives the United States a window of opportunity. If they redouble their efforts and increase their troop commitment, they could contain or even roll back the insurgency. But the temptation of Bush, facing a re-election campaign, will be to call this victory and cut and run. That would be a disaster for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the strategic interests of the United States in the region and beyond."

The Jerusalem Post reports "Iraqi governing council members described Saddam Hussein as 'unrepentant, defiant and sarcastic' about the Iraqi people at a news conference transmitted live on nearly all broadcast channels worldwide....Earlier, Chalabi told the Pentagon-funded Al-Iraqiya TV station, 'Saddam will stand a public trial so that the Iraqi people will know his crimes.' Chalabi is a leading member of the U.S.-appointed council who has close links to the U.S. administration of President George W. Bush." It seems clear that Saddam will be tried in Iraq by the US-dominated Governing Council (or, rather, its judicial creation -- the special tribunal established last week to try top members of the Saddam government for crimes against humanity.) But a question hangs as to whether there will be a "World trial" as well. The latter would be a risky venture for the US because that trial could not be easily controlled, especially if France, Germany or Russia were prominent players. Another article in JP may explain why there is a comparatively muted reaction from the Arab press at this point: "Many in the Arab world greeted news of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's capture with disbelief. Then, when it became official, emotions ranged from joy, to hunger for revenge against the tyrant, to sadness that an Arab leader - even Saddam - should come to such a tawdry end." It may take awhile for reactions to sink in and settle...tho' with the situation so fluid, reactions may have erupted before I post this entry. Certainly, the Palestinians know where they stand: Saddam's arrest is bad news for them.

Oh well...up from a sick bed and back into the swirl.
Best to all,

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