Detroit newspapers know a good story when it falls on their heads like a ton of bricks.
Take the Detroit News, which on the day Saddam was going to be hanged buried a one-and-a-half inch news brief about it on page 7A.
The Detroit News’s above-the-fold front page was instead reserved for an unremarkable photo of some people laying mementoes at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids (“Ford’s Last Journey”), and a windy news analysis on how Wall Street will do in 2007.
Today, now that Saddam is dead, the Detroit News and the rest of the media have noticed, because they can't help but notice, and the News has a lurid “SADDAM HANGS” headline in second-coming type.
Before Saddam actually became Dead Man Walking the press were all set to do their part covering the protracted ceremonies burying Gerry Ford. This was in hopes of lecturing America, (nobody in journalism reports any more—it’s all about “raising awareness”) that Ford was the great Republican president, in contrast to those other two guys whose names we won’t mention.
But then the Iraqis had to go and hang Saddam, completely bogarting the planned news cycle away from Gerry Ford’s funeral, (“Now there was a real leader. Remember how gracefully he presided over the rout of Saigon?”)
Even the Western media is not going to be able to keep people from involuntarily smiling at the all-too-rare occurrence in this world of actual justice taking place, instead of just being demanded and lied about by people who don't know the meaning of the word.
But that doesn’t mean the media won’t work mightily to keep the good fact of Saddam’s execution as far away as possible from the role played by the one man who is almost single-handedly responsible for getting him.
This is by no means a denigration of the role of the coalition forces, Iraqi interpreters and fighters, and countless other mostly unknown persons, thousands of them, who assisted in hunting him down, many of them at the loss of their lives.
But if you follow back the chain of events that led to Friday night's hanging of this war criminal, it is inescapable to conclude that the coalition forces and liberated Iraqis did not dispatch themselves to accomplish this goal, someone had to dispatch them; nor did the US Congress bestir themselves to support (briefly) this goal, someone had to lead them; nor did the UN, Chirac, Putin, Blix, Annan et al shame themselves to oppose and obstruct it, but that someone had to defy them; nor did the Western media almost universally lie, sabotage, and confabulate in an effort to accomplish the failure in Iraq they had themselves prophesied, but someone had to ignore them like the gnats and houseflies after whom they have closely patterned their behavior. The decision to depose Saddam Hussein and bring him to justice didn’t make itself, some leader had to make it.
Category 5 hurricanes are the results of blind forces and it is silly to blame them on policitical enemies. Liberating nations and bringing war criminals to justice takes human decision, and someone deserves credit.
When US Special Forces dug him out of his spider hole in December 2003, Saddam, disoriented and afraid, still had to try brassing it out. "My name is Saddam Hussein,” he said. “I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."
US Special Forces, the smartest and best warriors the world has ever seen, knew exactly who had brought them all together that day, and who had earned the respect. They told Saddam, "Regards from President Bush."