The Intersection of Watchmen and The Lord Of The Rings

This past Saturday I picked up the Blu-ray of Watchmen. That evening I watched the film with a friend of mine who had seen it in the theater, but had missed a bit sue to bladder pressures.
This version was the directors cut, nearly half an hour longer and I have to say superior to the theatrical cut.
While we discussed the film I became aware of the thematic intersection between Watchmen and The Lord Of The Rings. Specifically in the characters of Saruman and Adrian Veidt.
Spoiler Alerts….

Both of these characters fall into the sin of despair.
Saruman sees the fall of middle-earth of to Sauron and comes to the conclusion that he must join with Sauron in hopes of eventually overthrowing the evil from within. ( See the recounting of Galdolf’s conversation with Saruman in the Council Of Elrond in The Fellowship Of The Ring.) It’s a little sad that this aspect of the character was lost in the film version of the story. I particularly like that Saruman says that there will be no real change in their designs (He and Galdolf’s) but only in their means. Oh such evil lies upon that path. If you keep your eyes fixed on your distant goal you’ll never notice how far from the path you have strayed.
In the Watchmen, Veidt sees nothing but destruction for mankind. Veidt is convinced he knows the future and that nuclear holocaust as all that lays there unless he does something about it. Veidt, the pacifist vegetarian, embarks on a plan to save humanity. That fact that this plan requires the death of fifteen million people and countless lies, is all justified by his certainty in that extinction is the only other option. He has fallen prey to despair.
The reason despair is something to be avoided is that in it is the implicit assumption of the future. You can only truly despair when you know for certain the outcome of a situation. When you know for certain what the future holds. Of course that is something that is rarely true. We survived the 80’s and the 90’s without hurling nuclear missiles at each other, yet many people felt the same way in real life as the character Veidt did in the Watchmen.
I feel that Veidt was an evil character in Watchmen. Evil always has a justification for it’s actions, but remains evil.