It’s less than the time it takes to boil an egg. Most TV adverts spend more time on our screens, promising manufactured nirvana in exchange for our souls. But those two minutes and thirty six seconds will probably go down in history as the most significant few moments of 2007. That’s a brave prediction so early in the year, but bear with me and I’ll explain.
Two minutes thirty six seconds is the duration of the video showing Sadam Hussain’s execution on youTube. It’s the measure of our attention span at the end of a person’s life.
I’ve no doubts that the rights or wrongs of his execution will be debated for months to come. As time passes and events in Iraq deteriorate, spreading to other countries I’ll lay good money that opinion will shift and we’ll be saying Sadam should have been imprisoned rather than laid to rest. It’s too early to tell now, so I’ll leave that open. It’s pretty sure that people will be pointing to those 2:36 and agreeing that this was the turning point.
This will be the point when the US officially lost the war.
Not, of course, that they were winning beforehand. America stands scorned and hated in the international community because of their actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and in their own borders. You can’t win a war by trying to out-evil your opponents, but that is what the US has done.
America stands guilty of killing over 655,000 men, women and children. Guilty of torture, of using chemical weapons, of spying on their own citizens, ignoring international law and doing everything Sadam was guilty of, only on a much, much larger scale.
It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t the US which put the noose around Sadam’s neck; his death is on their hands. Those 2:36 send a message out to every country in the region; if you don’t do what America says, your life is worth nothing. Such actions don’t fight terrorism, but catalyse it. To end terrorism, you have to end terror.
How long is your life worth?