The Humiliation Aspect

Surely Saddam knew he was the Ace of Spades, didn't he? I know first hand that the Arabs love to play cards, and their favorite game is a version of "Rummy." But maybe there is no exact equivalent translation for "Ace in the Hole?" Otherwise, Saddam surely would have hidden somewhere else!
The United States awoke to the electrifying news of Saddam's capture this morning. At this writing, reactions are just coming in from all quarters. Anti-American types are no doubt working hard to figure out a way to spin this in such a way as to mitigate such an obvious victory for the Bush Administration.
Never wishing to assist any such agenda, something obvious here must be pointed out. An undeniable proclivity of Arabic culture is the abhorrence of humiliation. Under Islamic law, murder is justifiable to avenge humiliation. A man may murder his own daughter lawfully if she embarrasses the family by engaging in "illicit activities." Before deciding such discussion is hopelessly off-point, consider what an abject HUMILIATION Saddam represents to the entire Arab world. And this is just the beginning! He is going to be kept alive for some time to come. The legal roundtable panel discussions leading up to Saddam Hussein's trial may actually surpass those of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson before it's over.
But it all represents wall to wall HUMILIATION for the Arab world. Their media (the most visible being Al Jazeera Network) has long cast President Bush and the United States as being "at war with Islam" despite the administration's many attempts to appease them. The Iraqi people may be dancing in the streets with relief , but much of the Arab world is reeling with shame. They will not suffer it kindly. Even though Saddam's neighbors feared him, the Arab world has reveled in the fact that the Iraq war has not been a clean victory for the U.S.
"I expected him to resist or commit suicide before falling into American hands. He disappointed a lot of us. He's a coward," said Mohammad Abdel qader Mohammadi, a Cairo teacher quoted by the Associated Press. Many in Arab capitals refused to believe the man captured was actually Saddam Hussein.

We've seen little condemnation of terrorism from the Islamic world, and even less assistance in waging "The War on Terror." Maybe I'm wrong, but I've always been of the opinion that the vast majority of the Islamic Arab world secretly took tremendous pride in what transpired Sept. 11, 2001, felt it was justified, and look forward to each and every time the terrorists bloody the nose of the USA.

Don't expect them to give up! Witness the fact that an ineffective car bomb went off in the streets of Baghdad just as President Bush finished delivering his live comments on Saddam's capture. After invoking "patience, resolve and focused action" as the reason for this very visible American victory, the President said, "God Bless America, and God bless the Iraqi people."

And how will this electrifying development affect the terribly strained relations between the United States and our (former) European allies? French President Jacques Chirac said this morning that he is "delighted" at the news of Saddam's capture. Delighted? Really? Saddam Hussein's Iraq owed the French tens of BILLIONS of dollars. Even in the face of UN sanctions against Iraq, Chirac was supplying some of France's most sophisticated conventional weaponry to Saddam ON CREDIT! Some 70 warehouses full of munitions have been cordoned off outside Baghdad, and are being guarded by U.S. troops. They include millions of tons of missiles, rockets, and explosive munitions of all descriptions, including Exocets and other French military hardware. Dates of manufacture are inscribed on many of those items which prove that they were provided to Saddam during the time that UN sanctions were in place! During the time that UN authority was being invoked to prevent the U.S. from going to war!

Saddam Hussein won't be the only one to shoulder humiliation as this developing story plays out. Meanwhile, the European Union moves rapidly toward developing their own (potentially belligerent) military under the guise of defense. You can expect them to be sympathetic to the humiliation sweeping over the Arab world, and the reasons will become increasingly clear.

Mark Armstrong