I am aware that Sadaam Hussein was a cruel and vain despot who helped engineer the deaths and torture of his people. And I want to see him punished for those deeds.
How can I explain my reaction, then, on seeing that bearded older man with his pistol, puffy eyes and a suitcase full of cash? It humanized him for me. For a moment I felt a sense of pathos and the stirrings of empathy or ...I am not sure what exactly, but I did not rejoice.
Perhaps I would have an urge to celebrate had this not felt contrived. Maybe it was because it was never about "liberating" anyone, and capturing this mustachioed militant is the reddest of herrings. We are so being played.
Had an international force with a humanitarian mandate unearthed him, it would be a different story.
Had they brought him to prison where he would be tried at an international tribunal, where victims could testify, atrocities could be documented...I think I would be able to use words like progress and hope.
Instead, we have a violent nutbar in US custody, and hundreds of more fanatical despots ready to fill his shoes.
I remember going to work early in the morning at the Ceeb on Sept 12, 2001. My cab driver was from Somalia. He was full of opinions and adrenaline after the previous day's attacks. We had a heated discussion about how the West is viewed in Africa and the Middle East.
"Look at Noriega, man!" he said. "He was the president of Panama, and now he is in an American jail. Think about it. The leader of a country in jail in Florida."