The age of innocence

I remember back when the first Gulf war began in 1991, I was terrified.  I remember sitting in my living room and watching Dan Rather deliver the news that we were officially at war.  For days on end, I would leave school, come straight home, and turn on the television to see how the war was going.

I also prayed a lot.  Especially before going to sleep at night.  I remember praying for an end to the war, praying for protection of our soldiers, and even praying for the protection of the opposing soldiers.  I remember asking God to help Saddam come to his senses, to help him to be a better person, to help him realize that what he was doing was wrong.  I felt that the only way I could even go to God for help was if I was willing to see both sides of the conflict.  Days later, the war ended and life went on.  I was satisfied.

I also forgot about Saddam Hussein.  Now that we were out of Kuwait, I gave little thought to what he was doing in his own country to his own people.  I had other things to worry about like boys, grades, college, and the drama club.  Funny how I gave a damn when I felt my own way of life threatened, but as soon as the threat was over, I got over it.

Then I grew up.  I began paying attention to what was happening in the world.  And then my prayers changed.  I prayed to God to please forgive me for wishing someone would just kill Saddam.  But in all honesty, it’s what I wanted.  I wanted him out of this world, gone, dead.  I kept wishing that one of his highly trusted guards would just poison his coffee or his doctors would put cyanide in his flu shots.  Just get rid of him.  Sure I felt guilty for it, but my desire for him to die far outweighed my guilt.  I felt that evil like that can’t be changed, and our only option to rid the world of him, was for him to die.

Mostly, I still feel that way.  But now?  Two years after his defeat and capture, I feel like it really won’t matter that much.  I think it would have mattered had we just strung him up after refusing him a trial, we’d have felt more vindicated.  But on the other side of the coin, I didn’t lose my entire family to his evil acts.  I don’t live in Iraq and thank God I’ve never had to live under his reign.  But somehow now it seems way less important.   Maybe I’ll feel differently once he’s gone.  Maybe I’m speaking out of turn when I say he didn’t deserve a trial.  But I realize that as part of our attempts to establish a Democracy, we have to exercise his right to due process.  I can appreciate it, but I don’t have to agree with it or like it.

As harsh as this sounds, for every husband who was tortured and murdered, for every child who was poisoned, for every woman who was raped, every person who has suffered as a result of his evil intentions, I wish we’d have gotten rid of him sooner, denied him a fair trial, raped him, tortured him.

I know how simple-minded that may sound but you ask the widows, the orphans, the widowers, the scarred survivors, and I’m betting they’d feel the same way.

I’ve come a long way since those days in my living room.  I’ve seen a lot and have experience the realities of a tough world.  I’m no longer the sheltered little girl who sees the world only how she wishes to see it from her bedroom decorated with unicorns and the pink dust ruffle.  I’m the adult who believes when appropriate the only way we can feel justified is by taking an eye for an eye.  I just hope I feel it now, two years later.

Either way, a part of me will be happy and relieved they finally hanged the bastard.

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