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.”
Make 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.
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