Another Perspective

Play Station for Saddam?

There are places that cannot be rewired.

By 11.16.06

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Now and again we are given an illustration. No caption. Just an illustration. So picture this.

Hundreds of Americans are sleeping in tents, many in abominable weather, to keep a place in line in the hope of purchasing for several hundred dollars the latest edition of a play station -- a computerized game. A game. And others are bidding up to twice the retail price to try and get one on E-Bay.

Hundreds of other Americans are also sleeping in tents in another place in hopes of seeing another day, while a people they have risked their all to democratize are blowing up one another; man, woman and child, and when possible are blowing up the Americans there to "save" them. In a week's time they kill more of one another than their former leader, Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to hang for killing in his recently completed trial. The picture raises the question: are we playing the wrong game? Do we misunderstand the wiring of the place that makes the game unwinnable?

It involves the tenets of a religion that those who began the game and plugged in 140,000 American players did not understand going in, tenets that allow for, nay encourage, fratricide on a scale that defies these Western interlopers. Ironically, one man understands it well: Saddam.

His despotic rule steered clear of sectarian tenets. He iron-fisted dissent from any of the sectors now enthusiastically killing women and children and, when possible, those American interlopers. His was the necessary cruelty that kept the ultimate cruelty from breaking out.

There are those who hold out hope that the place can be re-wired, that the very nature of the game can be changed. Who was it who said, "Human nature will not change..." Abe Lincoln completed the thought with the concept that in any great trials there will be wise and silly, good and bad. But his experience was with Americans -- some silly enough to sleep in a tent in hopes of paying an exhorbitant price for an electronic game, others brave enough to risk life and limb to bring the blessings of freedom to another people to whom the concept is utterly foreign. Whose gratitude is expressed in an improvised explosive device by the side of the road.

There is a solution to all of this. Untie the noose. Bring back Hussein. And tell him: "Game on."

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About the Author

Reid Collins is a former CBS and CNN news correspondent.