Aces no longer high in Iraq

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Ace of Spades is dead. And they did it quick too. At approximately the sixth minute of the sixth hour of Dec. 26, the Ace met an abrupt end with a noose around his neck as Iraqis praised Allah and fired a hail of bullets into the sky.

Of course I mean Saddam Hussein. Ace of Spades was the title granted him by the United States' Most-Wanted Iraqi playing cards, used by coalition forces to identify high ranking members of the Iraqi government during the invasion in 2003.

Whether this war can be justified or not, that's for another column. But we must admit that the world is a better - slightly better mind you - place because Hussein is no longer dictator of Iraq. Hussein was found guilty of genocide and the catchall crimes against humanity, a term that first gained favor during the famous Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals following the Second World War.

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Amazingly, it seems like only yesterday when the aforementioned Hussein was seen on television smiling broadly as he held a young British lad close at hand. That was in 1990, just after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait that led directly to the Gulf War in 1991. I recall doomsayers and mass media prophets calling Saddam the antichrist, referencing the Bible and Armageddon as coalition forces built up along the Saudi Arabian-Iraqi border and awaited the green light. An Iraqi army numbering more than a million and one that had been battle hardened in an eight-year war with neighboring Iran would bloody U.S. forces in the potential conflict, experts predicted. Politicians and analysts talked of bringing back the draft and I was young enough to be called. It would be Vietnam all over again.

Instead, the Iraqi army - softened by months of aerial bombing - folded like paper. Kuwait was liberated, but the first President Bush didn't finish the job, choosing not to march on Baghdad. That would be left for his son to finish. And then only after more than a decade of Hussein flaunting efforts by the world community to make him walk the straight and narrow.

And in the end, Hussein died - like a man. Like Hitler. Like Napoleon. Like Mussolini and all dictators who came before him and will come after. He died like a man, not the beast of the Revelation.

He died by the rope. &#8220To hell,” someone shouted, the taunts of his executioners ringing in his ears.

At least until the final snap of his neck.

I leave judgment to the great beyond.

Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: