December 16, 2003

Saddam Sympathy Watch Tariq Ali,

Saddam Sympathy Watch

Tariq Ali, writing in (where else?) Counterpunch:

"My first reaction to the capture of Saddam Hussein was both anger and disgust. Anger with the old dictator who could not even die honourably. He preferred to be captured by his old friends than to go down fighting, the one decent thing he could have done for his country.

I felt no pity for Saddam. He had killed some dear comrades of mine and imprisoned too many others, but the US had no right to do this. It was the responsibility of the Iraqi people.

I also felt disgust with the way in which the TV networks were covering this event. CNN and BBC World had become total propaganda networks, to such an extent that it must have made Berlusconi smile. Parading a captured prisoner in this fashion is the new model of imperialism. The latter-day equivalent of how barbarian chieftains were paraded in ancient Rome, prior to their execution."

The "responsibility of the Iraqi people."

A nation shuddering in a republic of fear under the brutish heavy hand of myriad security services in Saddam's service. Damn them for not having had the courage to act sooner.

And if they couldn't because they were powerless to do so in the face of genocidal rampages and chemical bombings, well, then simply leave their leader (one in violation of a dozen or so U.N. resolutions) in power until his people finally muster the courage and wherewithal to do it themselves.

And certainly don't dare to show footage of him undergoing a routine physical examination to ensure that Iraqis know he is in coalition captivity and will never be in power again. No, this is sheer barbarism and evocative of crude Goebbelsian (sorry, Berlusconi-like, seemingly a more damning charge these days) propaganda tactics.

Of course, Saddam didn't parade his prisoners too often. They were usually decimated in crude military operations or left to languish in cruel torture chambers in horrific anonymity. But latter day "barbarian chieftains" prefer to detain their captives in full public light while abiding by the Geneva Conventions. How utterly savage.

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