That Saddam was sentenced to death is no surprise at all. But what is surprising is that the sentence is having no effect upon the American electorate. According to polling by Gallup, Fox News, and CNN done the same day, Democrats were carrying a seven to twenty percent lead in their campaigns for the US House. Bush stumped through the Midwest over the weekend, trumpeting the sentence as a sign of progress while extolling the "values" of his conservative legislative brethren. But America has tuned the president out. Frankly, Saddam's death sentence just doesn't make up for the sex and payola scandals of conservative legislators and evangelical preachers. And Bush's job ratings took a hit while he flew across the red plains as well. CNN placed his approval at thirty-five percent, while both Fox and Gallup had him stagnating at thirty-eight.
It's both tragic and comic that Saddam has received a ticket to the gallows. His sentence is based on his orders to kill 156 Shiites in Dujail reportedly involved in an assassination attempt on him shortly after the first Gulf War. Ironically, General Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile, languishes under house arrest for his role in the murder and disappearance of tens of thousands of dissidents during his fifteen year reign. While Saddam is responsible for a thousand times more deaths than the ones he's convicted of, one can't help but question why Pinochet's crimes haven't be treated with equal justice. It's also a tremendous irony that Bush himself is not a target of the Iraqi tribunal. If a recent study out of Johns Hopkins is correct, Bush's war has caused the deaths of over 600,000 Iraqi's.
But Iraqi deaths are only part of Bush's legacy of destruction while in office. Add the Johns Hopkins figure to the estimated 350,000 killed in Darfur, a crisis Bush has for the most part ignored, nearly 2,000 deaths that resulted from the lack of response to Hurricane Katrina on the Southern Gulf Coast of the U.S., and the nearly 15 million Africans who've died from AIDS because of Bush's refusal to permit generic vaccines to be used for treatment, and you can see that Saddam's heinous acts pale in comparison to Bush's neglect and incompetence. And Bush's legacy of death is a stain upon every legislator who has not taken steps to stop him. If we walk into the voting booths today with only one thought in our minds, let it be this one.
It's true that Saddam was an extremely brutal dictator; however his reach did not extend much farther than his own borders. Bush's handiwork has affected generations upon three continents yet Saddam is the one who'll end up swinging from the end of a rope.
President Bush anticipated his "November Surprise" to be the lynchpin for explosive results in the midterm elections. Neither he nor any of the conservatives running for office thought this improvised campaign explosive device would blow up in their faces.
Groucho Marx once said "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere,
diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies."
Who knew Bush and the conservatives he's shilling for were Marxists?