A Pair of Aces

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Saddam's
sons and 14-year-old grandson are killed in yet another lopsided
display of American military firepower (300 heavily armed troops
supported by airpower against 3 adults and a teenager). The military
command calls this carnage yet another display of its high professionalism;
others might call it by its real name — an execution.

The
military was merely the exterminator. They were not even aware that
the Hussein brothers were residing right under their noses, until
an Iraqi walked into the 101st Airborne office and told
them exactly where these two men could be found. Thirty million
for a pair of aces (ironically known as a pair of u2018bullets' in poker)
— now that Iraqi knew how to play cards!

Let's
get the rules of this unique card game straight. An American President
launches a military invasion and occupation of another country without
being threatened with an attack and without a declaration of war.
He establishes 52 of its leaders as targets (the cards). He gives
the military a green light to execute anyone in the deck. He offers
a price (the pot) for each card captured or killed. Then he holds
a press conference to gleefully announce each capture or execution,
but the winner of the u2018pot' is not disclosed. Hmmmm.

The
President should pray that this game does not catch on. How long
will it be before a nation such as Iraq or its leaders establish
their own deck of cards with commensurate rewards? At last check,
I did not hear any accusation that Udai or Qusai were a threat to
the national security of the United States. Bush did not even mention
them in his daily war promotions. Yet, through genetics, they were
labeled for execution. What if Iraqis who have been legitimately
threatened and murdered by U.S. policy decide that our politicians
and their families must go? What if large cash rewards are placed
upon their heads? How could the Administration be heard to complain
when they were the ones who invented this macabre game?

According
to the American military command, most of the deck has already been
captured, including many of the most treasured cards. Ironically,
and to Washington's private horror, the attacks on American soldiers
have not abated. In fact, they have grown in intensity and frequency
with the acquisition of each new card. It appears as though the
Iraqi resistance will not be bluffed out of the card game, and is
willing to play very high stakes.

Do
the Iraqis yearn for a return to the days of draconian rule under
the House of Hussein? Hardly. In fact, so despised were the now
departed brothers that it is almost inconceivable that anyone could
evoke anger over their deaths. Apparently, the only thing worse
to Iraqis than living Hussein brothers is the identity of their
executioners. Iraqis undoubtedly see the heavy-handed display of
American firepower as a painful reminder that they are not in control
of their own destiny. They resent the American military presence
and its over bearing approach to “democracy.” For Iraqis, the violent
destruction of the Mosul neighborhood housing Udai and Qusai, is
a metaphor for the daily destruction being wrought upon their country
by the U.S. Military.

True,
both Iraqis and Americans wanted the Husseins gone. The Administration
saw the Hussein family and the Baath Party as an obstacle to their
regional ambitions. The Administration could care less about the
fate of the average Iraqi. Iraqis saw the Husseins as their latest
persecutors and abusers. Despite the rose-colored prospectus of
Bremer & Company, there is no assurance that someone equally
brutal will not ultimately assume the power seat.

Will
the deaths of Udai and Qusai raise the stakes high enough for the
Iraqi resistance to fold? Doubtful. The week following the executions
has seen more American soldiers killed than in any previous week
of the occupation. More likely, the Iraqis will u2018call' this latest
assault and raise the ante for America. Even those who celebrate
the demise of these brutal brothers, do not wish to trade subjugation
by the Husseins for subjugation by a foreign army.

In
poker, a pair of aces is just not that strong of a hand.

July
30, 2003

John
M. Peters [send him mail]
is a practicing attorney in Michigan.


        
        

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