can’t see the forest

Saddam Hussein Set to Face Execution

Hussein toppled, BaghdadOn 27 December the Iraqi presidency announced that the court order sentencing Saddam Hussein to death was, in a word, final. The laws of the US puppet state in Iraq require that the execution take place within 30 days of sentencing, and Prime Minister al-Maliki has said that he hopes the execution will happen sometime in the remaining days before the end of 2006.

Recently Jalal Talbani, the President of Iraq, indicated that he is opposed to the death penalty but that the order for execution does not require his express approval. The trial and the resulting sentence have been quite strongly criticized by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch—while these groups are both opposed to the death penalty in general, they have said that it is particularly grievous to impose such a measure as the outcome of a trial whose face is obviously and severely pockmarked by a lack of due process, reeking of predetermination and US interference in matters of justice.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Scott Stanzel cynically mocked: “Today marks an important milestone in the Iraqi people’s effort to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.” It sounds better if you read it aloud with a pinched nose.

George W. Bush has given his enthusiastic—but, of course, somber—support to the sentence, a stance not surprising coming from a man who, during his sunny tenure as gub’nor of Texas, signed more execution orders than any living elected official in the US. For Bush, the execution of Hussein is a satisfying album leaf intended most squarely for the self-edification of his politically regressive constitutent base in the United States. In Iraq, he has none.

The crime for which Hussein has been sentenced to die is one of his lesser atrocities. It was his retaliation against the town of Dujail, forty miles north of Baghdad, which had been the site of an attempt to assassinate the then-president on 8 July 1982. The attempt was coordinated by the Shiite Dawa party, a group opposed to Hussein’s regime in general and to his US-backed war with Iran particularly. After the incident at Dujail, Hussein ordered reprisals against the town in which 150 men were killed, many of whom were young boys. A further 1,500 people were incarcerated and/or tortured, the city was leveled and rebuilt, and many of the town’s women were sent to harsh internment camps in the desert.

The tribunal handed down its sentence of death in November 2006.

Far above even the searing issue of the propriety of the death penalty in this case, however, there is a matter of justice which has, not surprisingly, remained off the radar of the mainstream media.

Rumself/Hussein, Dec. 1982That matter is this: that the crimes committed by Hussein and his men at Dujail occured with the complete implicit support of the Reagan administration. In fact, in 1982, Reagan had Hussein’s regime removed from its list of state sponsors of terrorism so that the United States could move arms and other goodies into Iraq to support its genocidal war against Iran.

The message is clear. The United States supports authoritarian murder and pillage when it is in the interests of the United States to do so. Likewise, it tends to oppose such atrocities only as a matter of convenience.

This is the ugly truth that will die along with Saddam Hussein. Whether or not one believes that the trial and the sentence of Hussein are just, one cannot ignore the glaring hypocrisy which is being all but righteously proclaimed. Along with the execution of a brutal dictator, a hallmark of doublethink in US foreign policy is also being masterfully executed in Iraq. Because Saddam Hussein is not being killed merely for crimes against his own people; he is being killed for crimes against his own people which occured with full complicity from Washington. Donald Rumsfeld and a number of his associates should be facing the gallows as well, solely by virtue of the logic behind their own tired rhetoric.

As the military and civilian death tolls in Iraq continue to mount, as Bush paves the way for a massive supplement to US troop strength in the area, and as increasing numbers of Iraqis continue to call for the evacuation of US military presence in Iraq, it is perhaps wise to reiterate that those [U.S. taxpayers] who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.


9 Responses

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  1. peoplesgeography said, on 12/29/06 at 4:52 am

    Hear, hear. Another thoughtfully crafted and well-written piece and well-picked visuals. Looks like this ill-conceived event is taking place next weekend, and it is up to us within this farce to see that the ugly truth of active neocon enabling, most prominently by the odious Rumsfeld, of Saddam and his death sprees doesn’t die with Hussein’s execution.

    Did you see too that former President Ford’s statement calling the Iraq War a mistake embargoed until after his death? RIP American free speech and democratic mainstream media … A statement by this elder statesman during his life may at least have given extra gravitas to the chorus of voices calling for sanity.

  2. Bluebear2 said, on 12/29/06 at 3:07 pm


    It is indeed interesting how many of these regimes the US has started only to later declare the puppet they placed is now an outlaw. Convenience indeed!

  3. zilla said, on 12/30/06 at 7:42 am

    Since Ronnie is already gone, maybe Nancy would step up to the plate, offer herself as a sacrifice to even the score? (Sorry, not so funny, eh?)

    At least Carter is getting some NPR airtime these days, what with the publication of his book this year. He strikes me as a sane gentleman in a world where most politicians are looney-tunes. Sad to say, he’s been prevented from doing whatever good works he’s been willing to do over the last half dozen years…

  4. Curtis said, on 12/30/06 at 10:37 am

    I did not notice the anomaly with the Ford speech…but why am I not surprised? You are absolutely right, Ann, history cannot be refurbished as easily as that.

    I have yet to read Carter’s new book, Zilla, but the snippets and reviews I’ve come across would suggest that the man values honesty in these urgent times.

  5. peoplesgeography said, on 12/30/06 at 12:12 pm

    If you haven’t already seen it, the Ford comments can be read here in the Wash Post.

    A crucial clarification: Ford’s comments and overt disagreement with the war on Iraq were embargoed until after his death at his own request. Sure makes Carter’s courage and integrity stand out even more.

  6. seekingfor said, on 12/30/06 at 10:01 pm

    This is a sad event.

    When Saddam Hussein killed he believed that his actions were justified.

    When we condone the killing of another we make the same mistake.

  7. Curtis said, on 12/31/06 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks very much, PPGG.

    I agree absolutely, seekingfor. What many Americans do not realize is: so does most of the international community.

  8. AJ said, on 2/9/07 at 4:36 am

    never seen a person as this historical man.. may god bless his soul..

  9. hentai maggie gallery said, on 9/4/08 at 4:54 pm

    hentai gyllenhaal maggie hentai simpsons maggie

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