A couple of Saddam Hussein's former jailors (a coupleof reservists, who seem like amiable farm boys from the Midwest) have spoken out about the Butcher of Baghdad and said that the out of work dictator, in American captivity, is charming, funny and fatherly. He told them that everything he did, he did for his country, and he had to invade Kuwait because they were raping Iraqui women. They also say that Saddam spends his time writing romance novels and his favorite activity is ... gardening. My God, is this guy Satan or what?!
Naaah. I'm not going to stand up for the guy and say how misunderstood he is. He's left behind plenty of evidence as to what a creep he is (hundreds of thousands of corpses, mostly). And his argument that he was doing everything from patriotism? We know what kind of scoundrels hide behind the flag, don't we? It's a thin excuse for causing the suffering of thousands of innocents. Finally, sure he's a nice guy now. You know, if you pull the fangs on a Viper, I'm sure the defanged Viper would be charming, funny and fatherly, too.
Real life villains seldom think of themselves as villains. Hussein thought he was murdering and torturing out of selfless ideals, for the greater good of others. Maybe some serial killers believe that they're doing nothing but evil and know it. Everybody else, at least at the time they're committing infamy, can justify it to themselves. I know I do it all the time.
Hitler's former secretary recently apologized for the fact that she found him to be a rather considerate and thoughtful boss. She knows everyone else thought that he was the most evil human who ever lived, but she couldn't compromise her memory. He was a nice guy in the office. That doesn't mean he wasn't just awful at other times, butyou know what? He probably was a rather pleasant and well behaved fellow ninety nine percent of the time. The other one percent of thetime he was authorizing the horrible deaths of millions and then he wasn't so nice. Not at all.
The Black Magician Aleister Crowley was once labeled the 'wickedest man who ever lived' and was also in his time labeled the Antichrist. For his time, no one was more reviled than this debauched sorcercer. Yet, at the end of his life, he was friends with a neighbor girl and even entertained her (at her invitation) and her little guests at her Birthday party, wearing his sorcercers robes dancing around making faces for their amusement. Then he went home and conjured demons and prayed to the great horned God and committed other blasphemies.
I could think up other examples, but hopefully my point is made. The people we think of as immoral are, in fact, highly moral - in their own minds. What we think of as horrors, they think of as sacrifices for the greater good, which is conveniently defined by themselves. No one really does wrong - until they decide later that it was wrong, perhaps. When they do it, though, it's right.
I wish bad people would laugh sadistically as they glory in their badness, knowing what they're doing is bad, while they're doing it, knowing what is right and knowingly rejecting it. That's the way I was taught it happened on the Saturday morning cartoons, but alas, in real life no one ever wears capes or masks and everything is a shade of gray.
About the Author: Steve Sommers new book, Evil Super-Villains Need Love, Too ... and other important wisdom, is available at http://www.lulu.com/content/317958.
His novel, REXROI, is available at http://www.lulu.com/content/306670