i had a really busy weekend, but i thought i should at least make some comment about saddam hussein's capture. basically, it's a good thing. one less murderous leader running around is always a good thing. what else is there to say, really? perhaps it will reduce the amount of violence against u.s. forces there, perhaps not. we will find out, i suppose. i personally doubt that saddam was in charge of the resistance so i don't think his capture will do much but boost soldiers' morale and take away one excuse for why the violence continued after the war was supposedly over. so it really cuts both ways. i could be wrong, of course. none of us really knows. we all have to wait and see.
which is why i find some of the what-does-it-all mean analysis so difficult to take. also it seems to me that saddam's capture is being turned into a bigger thing than it is. i suppose he is a symbol of resistance to america, so his capture is at least symbolically a big deal. but the story is totally drowning out real big news that is happening elsewhere. like the loya jurga in afghanistan. is anyone even covering afghanistan anymore? the loya jurga convened yesterday to draft a new constitution for afghanistan. what happens at that conference may determine whether the country becomes a stable republic or whether its remains a lawless haven for terrorists groups. unlike the capture of saddam, the loya jurga represents a real potential turning point in the so-called "war against terrorism." its success or failure could have real consequences for the future safety of people in the u.s. but it seems like anything relating to afghanistan is automatically assigned to the back burner of american news sources, no matter how potentially important it is.
meanwhile, i keep reading speculation about how the capture of saddam will effect the ‘04 presidential race. the likely effect is absolutely nil. that seems rather obvious. the election is eleven months away and the capture is really just a symbolic victory, not a substantive one. symbols are good at boosting short-term popularity, but usually don't help much in the long term. sometimes they can even hurt a candidate once it becomes clear that symbolism does not mean substantive progress (for example the "mission accomplished" aircraft carrier landing).
i also don't understand how saddam's capture validates anyone's position on the war in iraq. i don't think critics of the war ever said they were against going to war in iraq because we would never be able to capture saddam. in fact, i think most people (both pro and anti war) assumed that he would be killed or captured at some point and were surprised that saddam evaded capture for so long. personally, i don't see any relation between my position on the war and his capture.
okay, i will make one prediction: saddam will be put on trial which will be, at least partially, televised. and the trial will be scheduled for next october, just before presidential elections in the u.s.