The Glory of Babylon

So Saddam Hussein has chiseled a new cuneiform inscription into the bricks of ancient Babylon, proclaiming himself a "protector of the great Iraq and the builder of civilization."

His model for this kind of self-adulation is Nebuchadnezzar, the 6th-century BC Babylonian "king of kings" who conquered Jerusalem and everything else within reach and built the wondrous hanging gardens.

War and monuments were Nebuchadnezzar's passions, no doubt. But, as portrayed in the book of Daniel, he had other dimensions as well. Not least, Nebuchadnezzar seemed capable of learning from adversity and sensing the existence of a power that far exceeded his own. Remember the revelations that followed his bout with insanity, and his dream foretelling a future when mighty Babylon would be ruined and divided?

As the current ruler in the land of the Tigris and Euphrates glories in a distant past and harbors, perhaps, dreams of future conquest, may he, too, be reminded of the proverbial "feet of clay."

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