can’t see the forest

Hussein Dies Upon the Gallows

From The Independent:

Saddam Hussein, the shotgun-waving dictator who ruled Iraq with remorseless brutality for a quarter of a century, was executed today. On the gallows, he refused to wear a hood and shouted: “God is great.”

It was a grim end for the 69-year-old leader who had vexed three US presidents. Despite his removal, Washington, its allies and the new Iraqi leaders remain mired in a fight to quell a stubborn uprising by Saddam loyalists and a vicious sectarian conflict.

US president George Bush called Saddam’s execution “the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime”.

Baghdad was relatively quiet after the announcement and the government did not impose a round-the-clock curfew as it did when Saddam was convicted on November 5 to thwart any surge in retaliatory violence.

In Baghdad’s Shiite enclave of Sadr City, some danced and fired guns in the air to celebrate the former dictator’s death.

Much more interesting than Bush’s practically meaningless soundbyte was the apt admonition of Sunni politician Khalaf al-Ulayyan: “The execution of Saddam Hussein is a big crime. Saddam Hussein was a prisoner of war and was arrested by US forces, not by the Iraqi government. It is a crime with which they wanted to cover up many things.

Saddam at gallowsMake no mistake: Hussein was one of the most brutal, ruthless tyrants of the last century. While I do not believe in the legitimacy of the death penalty in any case whatsoever, I would never deny that Hussein was a man responsible for a huge amount of suffering, death, and destruction. I suspect that those in Iraq who are sad to hear of his demise are few and far between.

But al-Ulayyan is absolutely correct. Saddam Hussein’s regime was being enthusiastically backed by the Reagan administration at the time the Dujail massacre, for which Hussein has been hanged, transpired. The propensity for Washington commanders to overlook such inconveniences of record is keen and unfaltering. “The kind of justice we denied the victims of his brutal regime” would be slightly more accurate.

But Iraqis remember. Palestinians and Iranians remember. Only in America is history so easily and smugly rewritten, and only in America are the motivations of those in the Middle East who would wish our government ill so poorly grasped.

A good weekend to you.

For further reading on the subject of Reagan-Hussein relations, try here, here and here.


13 Responses

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  1. Detective J said, on 12/30/06 at 10:40 am

    The Bible tells us that the penalty of murder is death. Unfortunately, because of his deeds, Saddam needed to be executed. However I have prayed he would turn his life to Jesus and be saved. Anyone, no matter what they’ve done, can be saved by God and spend eternity in heaven with Him.

  2. Curtis said, on 12/30/06 at 10:41 am

    Unfortunately, Hussein and the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people are not Christians. Unfortunately, Iraq is little more than a US puppet state.

    Thank you for your comment.

  3. leewatts said, on 12/30/06 at 11:23 am


  4. raincoaster said, on 12/30/06 at 1:40 pm

    Interesting. I did not know that about Reagan and the episode for which Hussein was convicted. I put him in the same category as Noriega; someone who was used when it was convenient and executed when he became expendable. Justice was not served, but at least the militant Muslim front isn’t accepting him as a martyr, which had been, I think, his last hope. At least he died disappointed in that.

  5. zilla said, on 12/31/06 at 1:38 pm

    All I have to add is an entirely emotional response. I recall a couple-few years ago when my seventeen year old son said kids at school were passing around the web address where a video of a brutal beheading could be seen. Then my son admitted to watching the video. He seemed very upset. Needing to know what he had witnessed, I later watched the video. When I look at this picture of Saddam Hussein, my reaction is every bit as visceral as my reaction to that video. Murder is murder is murder. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

  6. zilla said, on 12/31/06 at 1:42 pm

    PS: Bible, schmible. Whatever the book may be or may once have been, we are NOT living during Old Testament times, and those so-called laws did not work then; they no longer apply and they will never, EVER succeed in creating peace on Earth. People who believe so are a large part of the problem.

  7. Gracie said, on 12/31/06 at 3:14 pm

    Stopping by to wish you a Happy New Year! Be safe.


    Also, I think your post has a quote from Robert Fisk but make sure to read his article too as it sums up the tragedy in all of this. If I remember, you are one of his loyal readers so don’t miss this one. It’s also on SamGail if you can’t find it in the Independent.

  8. Curtis said, on 12/31/06 at 4:11 pm

    That’s a good point, rc—I think it’s certainly a positive that the martyr card didn’t quite play out for Saddam. In a sense you are also right, Saddam was disposed of at a certain point of no return and there a great many analogues between the US management of the situation in Iraq and previous forays into Central America (John Negroponte, for one example.)

    Thanks for your wishes, Gracie, and right back atcha! I’ll look forward to checking that out.

  9. homeyra said, on 1/1/07 at 10:27 am

    I have heard first hand testimonies of Iranian soldiers, and prisoners. In Iranian blogs I saw some celebrating his death. I understand those who have suffered to react the way they do.
    But the trial was what it was.
    It does not exactly increase your faith in “justice”.
    HNY all!

  10. peddlinshutterbug said, on 1/1/07 at 11:46 am

    You are partially right about all of this. But, it is not a matter of ‘rewriting.’ (Just take a look at the conspicuous revision of the foundations of the US, and the twisting or our nation’s motives over the years. We do back unsavory rulers. Unfortunaetely, it is necessary. Remember why we backed Saddam – against the old Soviet Union; a regime much more brutal and deadly to your freedom. Their invasion into Afghanistan. It was all about oil.
    The ugly truth about humankind is the inability for us to get along. period. But, the America-hating has gone too far. To the point of sedition and people foolishly endangering their own freedoms and existence. Make no mistake, the enemy is real,and loose lips do sink ships. The endless, narrow-minded, popular hatred of anything our nation does, exhibited by so many who are bashing their own country, is damaging nobody but ourselves. The enemy laughs at this. America is not perfect. but we are the only nation who has lost our own young men to liberate other nations, with what reward? You might be tempted to say “it is all about the oil,” That is partially true, but you love your plastics, warm (or cool) home, car, etc.. Oh, but if you’re talking about UN, French, German and Russian motives for NOT helping us to do in Iraq what they said needed to be done. Just read about the 14 broken resolutions and the call by the weak UN to take all measures against Saddam. He did support the Palestianian cause to blow up innocents in markets. The battles in Iraq are just a starting point of a long overdue offensive against what we have ignored for too long – only to our own, our children’s peril ~ our very existence.
    The USS Cole, the bombings of Marine barracks in Beruit, the Black Hawk down, the hostage crisis in Iran… it has been going on for years.. America is becoming known among our enemies for retreating, which is what is feeding this hatred, not making it any better. I ask what your solution is to the terrorism…to the hatred which desires to control you, and if you think i’m being paranoid, i ask you to really study the history of this and see where it leads. There is no such thing as a “pro-Israel bias” except in your politically skewed opinion. Where else in the world is there such a tiny nation which is surrounded by its much larger enemies, fighting for its very existence, which it deserves, (read a little about the temple mount and the origins of the original temple of the Jews, pre-dating anything muslim. You look at the history of brutality of the muslims, and the current situation in Somalia, Tunisia, Spain, name just a few..all around the world.
    This kind of talk by those who let their political hatred of a president embolden our enemies… it is dangerous. There is no negotiating with these murderers, just look at the concessions Israel has already made. Those are the same enemies who would take your home, cut your children’s throats and lower your flag, replace your churches with a shrine to their god, calling out their prayers five times a day. I laugh when I hear people whine about the so-called ‘religious right.’ Just let the islamics take over with sharia law! They say the truth is stranger than fiction.. all i ask is to think about your statements and the real complexity of this problem, as well as the difficult choices the free nations must make….just as you make the choice to drive those much hated internal combustion engines. It is not a matter of hypocrisy, it is a matter of survial and choices…compromises… choices…think…

  11. peoplesgeography said, on 1/2/07 at 2:04 am

    Happy New Year, Curt and CSTF regulars!

    Peddlin, where do I start? So much misinformation and pusillanimous parroting, so little time. You insult the intelligence of the good people here, and I couldn’t let your claims go without rebuttal.

    I know too many courageous, smart and aware North Americans to see that they most certainly are not endangering their own freedoms by being rightly critical of their increasingly fascist federal governments. Thank God for these activists who are tirelessly working to re-establish their freedoms, liberties and the goodwill towards Americans globally squandered by the stupidity and military invasions and misadventures of this federal maladministration, and working to counter the distortions and outright deceptions of the kind you peddle.

    You predicate your commentary upon a “we all can’t get along” mantra which is not borne out in evidence and you claim it is necessary to back tyrants. No, it doesn’t have to be this way at all. And cooperation, not conflict, has been the norm, it is only the M-I-S-C and war profiteers who have so far succeeded in dumbing down and conning the public into conflict for profit and resource access that could just as well have more equitable share arrangements. The House of Bush is in active cahoots and supports the Wahhabis in the House of Saud, so are they maniacal Islamists as well?

    The enemy is “real”? The enemy is us, its you and me. We’ve had enough of this manichean worldview of good and evil you buy into, that was so cold war. You’re projecting the shadow of western civilization onto the Middle East. You say that if we think you are paranoid to really study the history of the ME. Well many of us here have — are you claiming your knowledge is more superior, deeper, the ‘correct’ view? I teach international relations and and the tired zionist version of history you peddle is absolute hogwash. Predictably, you paint the Muslims as brutal and uncivilised when Jews, Muslims and Christians have coexisted well for centuries before the creation of the state of Israel and Jews were in fact protected in Islamic societies (just as the 40 000 Jewish Iranians still are) when they were persecuted elsewhere.

    It is your ludicrous claims that I find laughable. I wonder how many Muslims you personally know. “You can’t negotiate with murderers” you say, imputing somehow that Arabs/ Muslims are all congenitally murderous and Israel, the worse-than-apartheid state that has wrought so much damage in the region has a monopoly on virtue. That Israel has made any substantive concessions is so outright ridiculous it immediately undermines your credibility. The expansionist apartheid settler state of Israel has been the biggest threat to peace and has blocked every meaningful peace overture at every turn. The one leader who dared to go outside the norm was assassinated by a murderous Jew. It continues to build illegal settlements, it continues its brutal colonial occupation and virtual imprisonment of the Palestinians, it continues to exist as it does plundering the natural resources of the region supported as it is by the unwilling largesse of the US taxpayer who continue to subsidize their terror-underpinned lifestyle,

    It is your superficial spouting of the Zionist line that requires deeper reflection from you. Think for yourself rather than buying the AIPAC propagated worldview that is leading us into disaster and that beats the war drums towards Iran.

    Finally you claim people like us harbor ‘hatred’ for the US President. This coming from someone who is trying to whip up hate against those from the Middle East. Since when does dissent and criticism, the lodestar of the active and informed citizen, become ‘hate’? I think we pity the poor man and his bumbling crew, and acknowledging my partisanship, regime change in the US would be welcome for an increasing number of Americans, who love their country just as deeply, and for citizens everywhere.

  12. Curtis said, on 1/2/07 at 4:44 am

    Peddlin’, I thank you for voicing your opinion. Already you’ve been given an apt rebuttal from an individual who knows much more about the topic at hand than I do, and there is not much more I could add; nor do I wish to spend a great deal of time in so doing, because the viewpoints you have expressed are, in my humblest of opinions, not your own. They are recitations straight from the rulebook of imperialist oppression. I do not parry with indoctrination when I can avoid it. I suggest that you read and reread what PG has written very slowly and carefully.

    What I find most interesting about your comment is not what you say but what you avoid saying, probably because you are aware that taking your own points to their logical conclusions would provide a measure of comedy scarcely over the heads of eighth-graders. For instance: why is it necessary for the US to create and to back ‘unsavory’ leaders? And what is it necessary for, exactly? When was the Soviet Union ever a ‘deadly’ threat to my personal freedoms? Why does Israel deserve to exist when it continues to prove that it is not capable of existing without destroying the lives of non-Jews in the region? What hatred is it, exactly, which ‘desires to control me?’ Does hatred have free will, and therefore desire?

    I wouldn’t want to live in your political sphere. Too many gunsights and too few mirrors. But I thank you for your comment and I leave the floor to you, at your leisure.

  13. peddlinshutterbug said, on 1/2/07 at 11:09 pm

    I began my response with the same impassioned manner which gets us nowhere, not listening to each other, full of points and counterpoints I was sure would justify my point of view. I changed it; deleted it all. We all see each other from our own myopic perspective; our own narrow-mindedness. We play into a game which benefits neither of us. You say I spout only rhetoric… I read your blogs. where are your original thoughts? You have lost no freedoms. You see… we have more in common than you or I would like to admit; we all want peace.. we just go about it in different ways… we shelter ourselves in our arrogance… myself…my opinions… you, yours… the blaming only makes us feel better for a time …we don these human traits of ours.. these defense mechanisms… and project them onto our vast global brotherhood, and visa v. I do not wish to make enemies of you. I feel you are all venting the same angst as I feel. This upheaval in our world; it is frightening. Disheartening. With our hatred, are we any better than the terrorists? It is out of my control…or yours. We all wish the same thing..… the Palestinian woman who is shunned and chased away by the angry Palestinian man when she dares to speak to a reporter….. all she wants is to raise her children in safety and peace. She does not care who sets the bomb; her own or the enemy. Where is her fear and anger directed? The answer would surprise you. The Israeli families want only to live in the land of their temple, their heritage. They, too want peace. It is the same yearning of every human heart. It once was peaceful in Israel, for a time, before they were granted that tiny piece of land, officially named Israel. That was before the title Zionism, before the arab neighbors told the non-Jewish people to “flee and when Israel is defeated, you can go back and take the whole land.” Israel was victorious. Those people became refugees in their own homeland, they once shared in the “promised land.” It is complex. You and I will not solve this. T he UN will not solve it. Bush will not solve it. The next president will not solve it. What will we do when another nation acquires another nuclear genie released on this world? It does me no good to launch the “small” accusations on you, as you like to portray them. The convictions you feel are valid. We all are frustrated by the things happening. Things seem to be spinning out of control.
    It is difficult for you to see my way, and for me to see yours. The powers of the world have betrayed us; many powers, many betrayals. We have made our points… we will not solve it by making enemies of one another…I will not go into a new year at odds with you and others who have families, friends, children for whom they fear for the future. We share that fear for the same future. We are all mired in this…. I have spoken out of my passion; you from yours. I will respect that.
    But, I ask you to ponder… our individual responses…to each other. They only mirror in a small way the magnified hatred in the world.. and we ask what is going on… it is simple.. the human condition… our need for something beyond ourselves…We are the same. The afghan women and their children suffer. What are we doing for them? Did our soldiers not give those little afghan girls education? The Sudanese women and their children being hacked by Islamic oppressors. Have you ever spoken to a Kurd? You say the US is so bad. You are wrong. America did not partition those lands in the Middle East.The blame is useless. What evil power takes us over and sets God’s children against one another? The terrorists against others? You against the ‘neocons’ the neocons against the liberals. On and on. It is ridiculous. You against me, I against you. What is the difference in this hatred? I will not take part in it. I lift my eyes to the Maker of us all. not to men. The answer does not lie with men.

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