December 30, 2006

Saddam's Death

30cnd-hussein2[1].650.jpg

I will shed no tears for Saddam Hussein. An odious genocidaire, he ranks high in the pantheon of 20th Century monsters. But it is clear as day that this judicial process, not least the rush to execution, positively reeked of victor's justice. This is not to say the trial could not have been even worse, as genuine attempts by some in the USG were made to assist the Iraqi authorities in putting together a credible tribunal. But, like the rest of the Iraq War, it was mostly a fiasco (see here for detail regarding some of the many shortcomings in the process).

To be sure, an international war crimes tribunal sitting in the Hague, or a South African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission, either would have been far better than the process we witnessed--particularly given the critical imperative of forging better national reconciliation among Iraq's different ethnic groups and sects. And, yes, as David Kurtz points out, we cannot help sensing in the motley gaggle of hooded hangmen (pictured above) a revanchist, vigilante-style justice that gives the lie to the impartiality of the entire process.

Above all, however, what saddens me in all this was that Saddam was not methodically tried and convicted while alive, not only for the murder of the males of one hapless Shi'a villlage on the outskirts of Baghdad, but for the entire gamut of his despicable crimes--his brutal campaign of genocide in Kurdistan, his massacres of thousands upon thousands of Marsh Arabs, his command decisions during the long Iran-Iraq war, and more. Could we not have tried him in the Hague, even if it lasted past Bush's Presidency, say, on the whole panoply of crimes he was rightly accused of, with witnesses, prosecution and defense teams better protected, rather than under a state of seige, with fewer grave shortcomings in standards of judicial procedure, and above all, with a better sense that justice had been pursued deliberately rather than in a vengeful (however understandable) rush to execution?

P.S. Don't miss John Burns writing this weekend on Saddam's end.

Posted by Gregory at December 30, 2006 04:54 PM
Comments

See a sarcastic visual of George Bush playing a round of “Hangman”…here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: Daniel DiRito at December 30, 2006 06:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Saddam is dead, and nothing will change because of it. The idea of the nation of Iraq is a bad one: as I have mentioned previously. Saddam's methods held Iraq together, little else has worked; that goes to show Iraq is an ill conceived idea. U.S. troops will leave "Iraq" one day, and then the inhabitants can get on with making their own political settlement. Every dollar, and drop of blood expended since Saddam's government was toppled has been for nothing.

Posted by: Tom Perry at December 30, 2006 09:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"we cannot help sensing in the motley gaggle of hooded hangmen (pictured above) a revanchist, vigilante-style justice that gives the lie to the impartiality of the entire process."

why, pray tell greg, are they WEARING hoods?

because they are on a vigilante, offensive mission?

or because they feel themselves on defense against those who support the TOTALITARIAN way.....and as such will ravish them and their families and clans?


Posted by: neill at December 31, 2006 04:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Above all, however, what saddens me in all this was that Saddam was not methodically tried and convicted while alive, not only for the murder of the males of one hapless Shi'a villlage on the outskirts of Baghdad, but for the entire gamut of his despicable crimes--his brutal campaign of genocide in Kurdistan, his massacres of thousands upon thousands of Marsh Arabs, his command decisions during the long Iran-Iraq war, and more. Could we not have tried him in the Hague, even if it lasted past Bush's Presidency, say, on the whole panoply of crimes he was rightly accused of, with witnesses, prosecution and defense teams better protected, rather than under a state of seige, with fewer grave shortcomings in standards of judicial procedure, and above all, with a better sense that justice had been pursued deliberately rather than in a vengeful (however understandable) rush to execution?"

indeed, the good is the enemy of ...... the perfect.

and visa versa.

Posted by: neill at December 31, 2006 05:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

or because they feel themselves on defense against those who support the TOTALITARIAN way.....and as such will ravish them and their families and clans?

Given the executioners' chants in support of Moqtada Al-Sadr, I don't think its a matter of not supporting the 'TOTALITARIAN way' as of supporting a different totalitarian.

Not to mention the mighty Iraqi government putting on a show of strength by executing Hussein, yet the executioners have to wear masks to hide their identities from the insurgents. Brilliant.

Posted by: Doug H. at December 31, 2006 05:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

oh.

so we're dealing with divided loyalties....

so let's tuck tail and head for home. along with all the NEGATIVE consequences that entails....

this is a friggin WAR, unless you missed that.

Posted by: neill at December 31, 2006 07:32 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

only ONE side wins in war.


is it us/the West/ liberal democracy....

or is it moqtada/iran/alquaeda/hezbollah.....

Posted by: neill at December 31, 2006 07:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

and if we relinquish the battlefield to moqtada/iran ....vs...alquaeda/hezbollah.....

then the winner of that battle effectively will call the shots...

and America is effectively irrelevant.

Posted by: neill at December 31, 2006 07:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

btw, I meant

moqtada/iran/hezbollah ....vs...alquaeda/sunni.....

Posted by: neill at December 31, 2006 08:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


What do executioners wear in Saudi Arabia or Iran? Perhaps they should have borrowed some outfits from such a source. I doubt that would have enhanced anyone's confidence in the process.

Posted by: David Tomlin at December 31, 2006 12:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Could we not have tried him in the Hague, even if it lasted past Bush's Presidency, say, on the whole panoply of crimes he was rightly accused of, with witnesses, prosecution and defense teams better protected, rather than under a state of seige, with fewer grave shortcomings in standards of judicial procedure, and above all, with a better sense that justice had been pursued deliberately rather than in a vengeful (however understandable) rush to execution?

Absolutely not. No way.

In case you haven't noticed, we had to restrict the trial to something that happened before we were that involved with Saddam because he had so much evidence about his long-term relationship with us.

Try him in the Hague and give him a chance to tell the world about all his agreements with the US government? He could even embroider on the facts, bad as they are, and some people would believe him beyond what's provable.

it would be a catastrophe for world opinion of the USA. Convict Saddam for his real crimes and we'd have a bunch of US unindicted co-conspirators, and we'd have to repeatedly publicly point out that we don't let anybody but americans try americans for war crimes. And we'd probably have to try some senior US government employees rather than just pretend it didn't happen, and then what?

We had to have the trial in iraq with a gag in Saddam's mouth. It was the only way.

Posted by: J Thomas at December 31, 2006 01:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

and if we relinquish the battlefield to moqtada/iran ....vs...alquaeda/hezbollah.....

then the winner of that battle effectively will call the shots...

and America is effectively irrelevant.

Neill, are you somehow trying to imply that America isn't irrelevant already?

Posted by: J Thomas at December 31, 2006 01:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, this was done with all the elan, all the professionalism and all the vision of our long-term interests that have marked so much else about this war.

Where's Angleton when we really need him? Clearly, someone is trying to do things in way guaranteed to inflame those inclined to be our enemies, making sure that they each, individually, move at least one step up.

I can't believe that Karen Hughes couldn't have stage-managed this a little better.

OTOH, it's not surprising that the executioners were a bunch of Sadrists. They're getting lots of practice, nightly.

Posted by: dell at December 31, 2006 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

True justice of course, would be to try Bush, Rummy, Rice, and a large handfull of others alonside Saddam, in the Hague.

Posted by: M.Carey at December 31, 2006 10:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


"we cannot help sensing in the motley gaggle of hooded hangmen (pictured above) a revanchist, vigilante-style justice that gives the lie to the impartiality of the entire process. "

Polemic has reached new heights. Now the executioner's dress is the guiding, liminal hallmark of enlightened jurisprudence. A coat and a tie brings us Platonic marvel; equanimity wears soft-blue or velvet; but if the hangman eyes you from the primal abyss of the blackened hood-well, then the devil himself has managed your fate.

It must have been a comforting thing to the doomed Iraqis when Hussein decided their fate wearing his Armani garb.

-resh

Posted by: reshuffle at January 1, 2007 04:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


It occurs to me that the obvious alternative was for the executioners to wear Iraqi police uniforms. I don't think further comment is required.

Posted by: David Tomlin at January 1, 2007 07:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

haha hes a twat!
thank god the bastard died!!!!

YAY

Posted by: p3rry at January 1, 2007 05:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Saddam ws a soul and all souls belong to God who created them, The word stands alone when it says" Vengence is mines, and I will repay". The word also says, be not decieved, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, thatshall he also reap."

Saddam like many have to stand before the God of judgement, but the question is..........Will we stand blameless, or will we stand guilty?

This man's life had only just begun, cause now he must live in etetnity tomented by the life he lived. Saddam chose to live this way, he had a chance to turn his life over to Christ, but he rejected him, and chose to kill the people of God, so needless to say, "when U do to the least of these you likewise do unto God.

I grieve the life this fragile man lived, he lived a life murder, think it not strange that he too die the same way?


God's word is true, you do reap what you sow.!!
Saddam is now left in the hands of a just God. I dread now his lot..... this is only the begining of a life in eternity for him,

There are 2 sections to chose from in eternity.......

SMOKING OR NON? HE CHOSE TO SMOKE !!

CHOSE LIFE TO LIVE IN CHRIST JESUS TODAY, HE DIED FOR YOUR FREEDOM OF INS LIKE THIS,,SADDAM HAD A CHANCE TO LIVE FOR GOD, WILL YOU REJECT CHRIST AS HE HAS?

CHOSE THIS DAY WHO U WILL SERVE, TO LOVE CHRIST IS FREE, TO DIE WITHOUT HIM IS DETRIMENT, THIS MAN DIED ALONE WITHOUT CHRIST

BUT , I'D RATHER DIE WITH JESUS THAN DIE ALONE!

Posted by: JOI ROBERTSON at January 1, 2007 07:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"True justice of course, would be to try Bush, Rummy, Rice, and a large handfull of others alonside Saddam, in the Hague."

This has become an Anti-American cliche. I have one quesiton. On what charges? The charge of you not agreeing with them? In that case, yes. Death to all Americans!

Please, if you feel the need to make comments, justify them. This is the way of the the whole liberal movement. Get everyone all riled up about empty words.

Also....it is a fact that all executioners have historically been masked. Not in shame or fear, but because they represent the law and the law has no single face. The hangmen did not sentence him to death, they are simply carrying out the penalty and so, they need not be revealed.

Posted by: Chris at January 2, 2007 02:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Neill: We are not in a war. There is no GWoT. Nothing has happened on American soil in over five years. All our casualities come form inserting ourselves in a struggle that is not ours. It's a futile, foolish, thing we do in Iraq, and it weakens us.

Posted by: Tom at January 2, 2007 04:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I’m puzzled by what justice is all about! Men destroy physical bodies but the Almighty is capable of destroy both the flesh and the soul!

The past events have been registered in the richest historical archives! But truly speaking, none, other than Christ, stands blameless before God! A truth and reconciliation process would have brought much healing than a hangman’s rope!

Guys, the world is preaching peace everyday but the reality is: no peace shall be attained by human knowledge, skills and (stupid) wisdom.

Saddam revealed a strong mental strength in the final moments of distress and he remains an inspiration. Americans have made him (Saddam) forever made him a hero!

Posted by: Noble Skills at January 2, 2007 06:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Of course he couldn't be tried in the Hague; have those dreadful Europeans judging us? And maybe something coming out about any ties between us and Saddam before we decided he wasn't useful anymore and had to go? Please... I have no doubt that a lot of the destruction of public property/files/etc. was done on our behalf.

I don't feel sorry for Saddam, I'm only sorry he got the easy way out. He's fortunate indeed that we found him before his enemies did, or he would have ended up like Mussolini. I'm pretty sure he was at least smart enough to know that.

Posted by: LL at January 2, 2007 07:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A fall of evil by the pressure of the devil. It truely is a sad event in history of the mordern era that the rest of the world could do nothing but watch the fall of saddam as the Americans have successfully chased the oil banker. True Saddam was guilty but was it neccesarry for the americans to interife in one's country law and admistrarion. there was a time when saddam was a freedom fighter for one while he was a dictator to the other. what ever has happened has happened well now someone has to stop Americans or the whole world would be under their dominance.

Posted by: Ashif Ali at January 2, 2007 09:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

He should never have been tried at all. All that the trial achieved was to give him a platform for his ranting, and provide an excuse if one was needed for a few hundred extra people to die in bombings.

What should have been done? Simple. He was found by American soldiers, sitting in the bottom of a spider hole. So: find him, take his picture (on film), throw in a couple of grenades, take another picture, fill in the hole. Job done.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at January 2, 2007 12:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ali-

"...what ever has happened has happened well now someone has to stop Americans or the whole world would be under their dominance."

Yea, and what a tragedy that would be. Do what ya' want, go where ya' want, say as you please. Oh, and then whine about it on an international forum. Better we let the cockroaches take over so dopes like you can engage your intellectual somnambulism.


-resh

Posted by: reshuffle at January 2, 2007 02:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

saddam is the best presedent ever he is ma baby

Posted by: khaeriyeh at January 2, 2007 07:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Resh-"Yea, and what a tragedy that would be. Do what ya' want, go where ya' want, say as you please. Oh, and then whine about it on an international forum. Better we let the cockroaches take over so dopes like you can engage your intellectual somnambulism."

Amen brother.

Posted by: Chris at January 2, 2007 11:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Saddam is permanently out of office.

The next step is to get Bush permanently out of office, as quickly as possible.

Posted by: J Thomas at January 3, 2007 01:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

this us stupid as gay this is supposed to be a friggen video

Posted by: poop at January 5, 2007 11:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.


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