The new year begins cold and clear here in the People's Republic of Hillcrest. Not much is going on to speak of. I got up late-for me-and made bacon and eggs for breakfast. Not that I needed more food. Spent New Year's Eve at a nice dinner party where there was much food and drink. Tonight will have ribs and black eyed peas for dinner. No, I didn't need a big breakfast but what the hell. It's a holiday.
Been receiving text messages bearing glad tidings from all over. Talked with my friend Marge over in Jackson. She got up with her son early this morning to make sure he made it to basketball practice. God, I had managed to forget all of those basketball practices on New Year's Day. Nothing like line drills to put you in a festive mood. Good thing that I didn't have my first hangover until after my playing days.
I don't do resolutions. But I do have questions about what 2007 will bring.
Surge or Purge? Here's the biggest question of them all: What will we do in Iraq? The latest theory is that we dramatically increase or "surge" our troop level in a last-ditch attempt to impose order in that God-forsaken place. Note that I used "impose" and not "return." The last time there was any order in Iraq it was run by Saddam. And, suffice it to say, he ain't in charge. He ain't even sharing oxygen with us anymore. But more on that later.
I hesitate to classify the invasion of Iraq as a blunder. But this is only because I still have friends that are serving over there. What they are doing is noble and brave. I honor their service and I pray for their safe return. ( Matt has already requested steak on the grill when he gets back. You got it, buddy.)
But something has to change. We can't keep this up indefinitely, surge or no surge. We shall see.
Rough Justice: Saddam Hussein was hanged by the Iraqi government after what passed for a trial. His execution was calculated to be as humiliating as possible. He was not allowed a final visit from friends or relatives. According to eyewitnesses, he was mocked by the guards en route to the gallows. A grimmer bit of statecraft is scarcely imaginable.
Unless it was the torture and murder meted out by him during his reign of terror. Don't get me wrong. I weep not for Saddam. He may have been tried by a kangaroo court but then again genocide is a fairly easy crime to prove. If anybody on Earth deserved the death penalty it was that son of a bitch. The fact that he wasn't summarily rounded up and shot is more due process than he deserved.
But still. Say what you will about capital punishment. But we in this country don't mock the condemned. And we don't broadcast executions for public entertainment regardless of how cathartic it might be. The Department of Justice helped set this "court" up. Couldn't we have controlled these guys a little better? They could have killed him just as dead with a more dignified proceeding.
The execution of Saddam was brutal, sadistic and barbaric. And Uncle Sam's fingerprints are all over it. When a state orders that a life be taken, it must be an act of utter solemnity. Saddam was put to death by our proxy in a mob scene not much more dignified than the public executions conducted during the French Revolution.
I weep not for Saddam. But the way this played out sickens me both as a lawyer and an American. Our reputation for being the world's moral authority took a major hit when we invaded Iraq. I can't imagine that our status improved the other night.
All Things Razorback: Will the soap opera that is Razorback football continue in 2007? Which players will leave? Which assistants will be fired? Will Houston Nutt go to Alabama? Will the basketball Hogs win 20 games and go deep in the NCAA's (It says here no.)?
Will the radio callers and Internet rumormongers get a life and move on to other pursuits?
You must be kidding.
First things first: Barry Bonds is pretty much a lock to pass Henry Aaron's home run record if he manages to play long enough. My question is whether he will do so while under indictment or not. What will Major League Baseball do if that happens? What will be the response of the Player's Union if MLB suspends him?
How much fun will all of this be to watch? Words fail me.
That's enough for this New Year's Day. The Razorback game just started and I am tired of typing.
Best of luck to all of you in 2007!