Thursday, December 28, 2006

Murdering Saddam Hussein

The following are from news sources dated December 27th and 28th:

China: “The death sentence against former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is just a political show put on by the United States, Chinese analysts said.”

UK (NOT Tony Blair): “The rapid confirmation of the death sentence against Saddam Hussein is a long step backwards for Iraq. It is a brutal, if inevitable, display of victor’s justice that offends the principles that the US said it sought to uphold in toppling Iraq’s dictator.”

Rome: “A top Vatican official condemned the death sentence against Saddam Hussein in a newspaper interview published Thursday.”
“Italy's Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said the death sentence against toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein may destabilize Iraq.”
“Italy's premier condemned Wednesday the death sentence against Saddam Hussein.”
Germany: “German Government Rejects Death Sentence For Saddam Hussein”

New Delhi: “India's response to the confirmation of the death sentence on the former Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, on Tuesday contrasts with the position taken by the United States. Interestingly, the Indian view is quite close to that of the European Union.”
“Contrary to the White House statement that Mr. Hussein had ‘received due process and legal rights,’ External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on November 5 that such life and death decisions require credible due process of law, which does not appear to be victor's justice and is acceptable to the people of Iraq as well as the international community."

But of course, “U.S. Hails Saddam Hussein Death Penalty Ruling”. The White House has also been described as “saluting” the ruling but at the same time predicting serious retaliations and worsening violence in Iraq as a result of it. So what is the point of Washington’s approval? Why approve something that is almost universally disapproved and which admittedly will make things worse?

In the first place, Washington devised the entire judicial farce in which the Iraqi president’s conviction and execution were foregone conclusions. The process was never anything but a kangaroo court manipulated by the U.S.

What did Saddam do to deserve hanging which dozens of other national leaders have not done? Nothing. The case against him is so feeble that this is the best the Associated Press could do: “He put suspected foes to death without trial, oppressed Kurds and Shiites, waged war on Iran and twice fought U.S.-led armies. He left an impoverished nation now gripped by sectarian bloodshed and an insurgency against the U.S. presence.” Absolutely ridiculous! It is the UNITED STATES (or more accurately the White House and Pentagon) which, by invading Iraq, left an impoverished nation gripped by sectarian bloodshed and an insurgency against the U.S. presence. The President of Iraq had nothing to do with that. Additionally, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on Iraq for years before George II invaded it, with deadly results, including impoverishment. Before interference from the U.S., Saddam Hussein had created a relatively prosperous country with an excellent food distribution system upon which most Iraqis look back now with longing. The deaths of thousands of Iraqi children because of the American sanctions dwarf any oppression of Kurds and Shiites – as does the oppression of occupied Palestine by the Israel/U.S. axis. As for Iraq waging war on Iran, the U.S. is now seeking to do the same, with no rational justification, and it vigorously supported Iraq’s war against Iran. The president of Iraq “twice fought U.S.-led armies” because his country was attacked by U.S.-led armies. As for Saddam Hussein putting suspected foes to death without trial, what of the secret CIA prisons around the world into which people disappear and never reappear? What about the torture and murders at Abu Ghraib prison? What about “justice” and “suicides” at Guantanamo? What about the many, many people in Iraq who have died in U.S. captivity from beatings and other violent causes, often just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? And what of all those innocents in Iraq and Lebanon who have been killed without trial by American bombs and missiles? Assuming that the President of Iraq ordered certain individuals put to death without trial, was that worse than putting many more individuals to death with bombs and bullets without trial?

The second reason for U.S. approval of the sentence against the Iraqi president is that the U.S., and particularly neocons, monsterized Hussein into such a evil figure that nothing but the death penalty would seem sufficient punishment. Simpleminded people like G.W. Bush tend to become trapped by their own propaganda.

Third, there may have been an American concern that a living Saddam Hussein would attract loyalty and someday become a center of power – even get out of prison and become a public leader again. He is, after all, the only person alive who has demonstrated that he can govern Iraq as a modern state. The thought occurs to me that the White House should have thought twice, assuming it thought at all: Saddam’s Iraq was not a religious state like Iran and Israel, and Iraq’s sectarian government was a strong barrier against Islamic fundamentalists and Al Qaeda and oppression of women. Hussein’s sectarian government would seem to have matched Washington’s preferred standards. Too bad Israel’s interests overrode all others.
Fourth, since the end of World War II the U.S. has established a tradition of murdering the leaders of defeated countries – a barbarity once associated with ancient history. The U.S. did so both in Germany and Japan, relying on ex post facto laws, false evidence, selective prosecution, and double standards. I use the word “murder” advisedly because I am not going to call a murder something else just because it is ordered by someone who got hold of a black robe. Saddam Hussein – whose fatal crime was being the president of a country Israel wanted destroyed and a public figure whose continued existence the Bush family felt was an affront to them personally – is another defeated leader whose personality and ideas must be eradicated to suit American propaganda. The “justice” being meted out to Saddam Hussein would have been the same if the first American soldier who took him prisoner had simply shot him in the head with a pistol.


Anonymous said...

simpleminded is the word for it. but I think you might still be giving Bush too much credit. Hussein should just be allowed to step down like Rumsfeld. On the other hand, Rummy, Cheney and Bush should stand trial for murder.

Yves said...

Thanks for your valuable analysis and collection of views around the world.