Killing the Monster Under the Bed

Vacationing at home in my sweats this week, watching too much TV--I flipped past CNN and heard that they suspect Saddam Hussein will be executed any time now.  It kind of caught me off guard.  Knowing what the time lines are for executions in the U.S., I assumed it would take them much, much longer.

It's hard to know what to think.  I remember in the first Gulf War when I first learned who Saddam Hussein even was.  I remember the editorial cartoons--a crazed man with huge, blood-shot eyes, and wild hair.  I was in 4th grade, and--although I don't think it was intentional--the adults around me at that time made him out to be a sort-of bogeyman.  He was a horrible, bad person, but I shouldn't worry about him much because he was far away and couldn't get me. 

Contrast that to some of the latest images, a sad, old, broken-down man--almost grandfatherly-looking.  I know what evil he brought to the world, how merciless he was to his victims; and I know that at this point there's not much else that can be done with him besides execution--alive he'd always inspire fear, at the very least.  But simultaneously, knowing that he's facing the end very soon now, I can't help but pity him.