On the way to his execution, Saddam Hussein said, “Iraq without me is nothing.”

I am glad the Saddam era is over. But I wouldn’t say I am relieved. I wonder if his last words are prescient. The nation called Iraq is slipping into civil war. Indeed, is Iraq a nation? Is its national continuity impossible without the bindings of a brutal autocrat? Much relies on the answer to this question.

  • See a sarcastic visual of George Bush playing a round of “Hangmanâ€Â?…here:

  • Joshua

    Insert the words “with or” into Saddam’s statement, and he would have been closer to the mark.

    The real trouble isn’t Saddam or his absence, it’s that too many other nations, for their own reasons, don’t want the de facto breakup of Iraq that we’re witnessing now to become a formal partitioning. Turkey doesn’t want a Kurdistan next door. Nearby Arab countries don’t want a flood of Sunni refugees they’re afraid they’ll get if the Sunni Iraqis are cut off from the oil wealth that lies mainly in the other parts of Iraq. And of course a formal breakup would put paid to the Bush administration’s notion, and America’s hope, that the three peoples could somehow peacefully coexist and build a democracy together.

    The Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds were brought together many years ago in a shotgun wedding of sorts. Now that the shotgun is no longer pointed at them, they clearly want a divorce, but have found TPTB unwilling to process their divorce filing and officially dissolve the marriage. So, like it or not, they’re stuck with each other, and will keep fighting at least unless and until they are allowed to become unstuck.

  • That’s an interesting and deep question to ponder, and something that I know was considered by many people on the “bad bad people, anti-war, left-wing, intellectual, anti-American” side in 2003. It’s something that the administration shows no sign of considering.

    I personally think that Iraq will congeal… eventually… into a whole of its prior self, albeit without Saddam and likely without its current government. People can only endure so much violence and pain before giving up. I think a good case-in-point would be the ready surrender of Mogadishu in Somalia. It went without a fight and I would posit that it was partly as a result of many people being tired of a over a decade of anarchy and chaos.