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Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Sunday, December 14, 2003

"Ladies and Gentlemen, We Got Him."

It's been about an hour since Paul Bremer used the above words to began the press conferenece announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein. For some time CNN had been reporting a possible capture of Saddam Hussein and the BBC had already confirmed it. I was eagerly awaiting the scheduled new conference and when it finally began, I laughed and felt joy at the news and especially at the words Mr. Bremer used to announce it.

Later, when the above words were replayed, my wife, who is Korean, made a telling comment; "If he had used prettier words," she said, "there wouldn't be so much anti-Americanism in the world." She had a valid point. The exuding confidence, pride, and bravado of statements like Mr. Bremer's are, rightly or wrongly, seen as nothing other than sheer arrogance and hubris by non-Americans. Such expressions and sentiments are essentially American, however, and, for better or worse, we wouldn't be who we are as a people without them.

Seeing Saddam Hussein on the video one could feel nothing but pity, no matter how heinous his crimes. While he awaits justice and we do as well, let us not forget Our Blessed Savior's injunctions to love our enemies and pray for them.

As an aside, the 24-hour Korean news channel YTN, Korea's answer to CNN, the background display for the coverage of this news read "Saddam Caprted in Hometown." I found it interesting that the word "hometown" (Korean gohyang) was included. While this is an interesting and telling part of the story, it is my no means essential. However, Koreans place a great deal of importance on the nostalgic ideal of the "hometown" and, as a once predominantly Buddhist nation, the ideas of fate, destiny, and even irony are irrestible to them.