Careful with those values.

If you want to gauge the decency and morality of people, keep a close eye on them when dealing with an enemy that has been totally and utterly defeated.

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and a despotic madman. There is no question about that. In the end he had his trial, was found guilty and had to pay the price. All fine with me.

What bothers me is that although it is really easy to judge Saddam as a criminal and a morally bankrupt person, I don't think that this should make it OK for "us" to act in an undignified manner. To effectively lower ourselves to the level of those we despise.

Today I stumbled across an article about the South Park creators being presented with an autographed picture of Saddam Hussein. Apparently, Saddam was forced to repeatedly watch an episode of South Park in which he is portrayed as the gay boyfriend of satan.

Yeah, I watched the episode and I enjoyed it. It was funny. But as much as I think Saddam was a brutal, murderous, criminal deserving of his ultimate fate, and as much as I found the episode funny, I found it very disturbing that it should be okay to torture the prisoner in this manner.

This is not how we treat our prisoners. We are supposed to be better than this. A lot better. This is the sort of nonsense that validates any hatred our enemies feel towards us.

For those who only care about "winning": this is the sort of base behavior that detracts from victory. The sort of behavior that brings us closer to those we despise for their uncivilized behavior and hollows out victories and reduces them moral embarassments. It is the sort of thing that detracts from the sacrifices made by serious people.

As much as I enjoy South Park: I think Matt and Trey should be be deeply ashamed of themselves for taking pleasure in someone else's suffering. They should be ashamed of expressing, not only consent, but a generous measure of joy in knowing that their work was used in this manner.

What sort of dickless, unprincipled weaklings take joy in the humiliation of a beaten enemy.


El Presidente said...

Did you read the original article? Saddam was not forced to watch an episode repeatedly, he was forced to watch the movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Un-Cut". The fact that you miss such an important detail and follow with "...and as much as I found the episode funny..." proves that you really aren't concerned with poor Saddam being treated so brutally as to have to watch a gay cartoon of himself, nor are you concerned with South Park... you just want to drive traffic to your blog. Who gives a shit about Saddam Hussein anyway?

Mason Balistreri said...

Have you ever heard of the Halabja poison gas attacks? If you actually understood what torture is, you would understand that cartoons do not qualify.

X said...

El Presidente: How does confusion between whether it was from the movie or an episode of the TV series mean that I am not concerned with how people treat a defeated enemy? Are you capable of having two ideas in your head simultaneously?

X said...

Mason Balistreri: I have read about the atrocities Saddam committed and I fully support putting him on trial and I am glad he was convicted.

I found the depictions of Saddam in South Park entertaining and have no objections against him being depicted this way.

Besides, in a society where we are, at least supposed to, enjoy free speech, I would go to great lengths to defend the makers of South Park to depict Saddam in whatever way they wish.

However, I think that it is quite embarrassing that Matt and Trey take such pride in Saddam having been treated in a manner that is below our dignity. It makes us all look bad.

You fail to understand that this is not about what Saddam did. This is about our dignity. This is about our values and what we do to uphold our principles.

The fact that you are stuck in a base, medieval an-eye-for-an-eye mentality is just sad. Even worse, you do not seem to understand that it makes you more like the evil we like to think that we are fighting. Your attitude is closer to that of Saddam that you would like to think.