The Charade

The leader never carries out the killing himself but will always get his hands dirty. So how will the execution of Saddam be seen 200 years from now?

A quarter of a million American troops invade Iraq. Hunt down its leader and set up a tribunal with all the trappings of ‘fairness’ and he is in the end found guilty for being involved in the killing of 148 Shias over two decades ago during a time when America was openly heavily funding Saddam and silent over all these killings.

Americans hand over Saddam to Iraqis to carry out the hanging. On Eid Al-Adha no less; a good PR move to make sure every Arab is at home watching on TV.

In the last 3 years the presence of a quarter million of American forces on Iraqi soil have been responsible for killing an estimated quarter of a million Iraqis.

American forces are still occupying Iraq.

What will a student of history ask himself 200 years from now? Or will history still be written by the victors at that time?

Will they ask about why so many Arabs remained silent? Will they ask whether it made sense that one leader be executed for killing 148 people while another be praised for killing a quarter of a million of those same people? Will they see ancient footage of Colin Powell at the UN displaying doctored satellite photos of now unfound WMDs? Will they understand that 200 years ago, suggesting that a leader from a ‘superior’ nation be held to the same standard of accountability as everyone else in the world was unheard of? That suggesting an American is equal to an Arab is equal to a Brit is equal to an African is preposterous? Will they understand that someone like me who had no love for Saddam thought the whole situation to be preposterous?

Bush was right today: ‘a dark and painful era is over in Iraq’, but a new one, that he as a leader is directly responsible for, has already begun.

And the charade goes on and on and on…more Iraqis are being slaughtered…

So to anyone celebrating the execution of Saddam I’m forced to ask: what the fuck are you cheering for?


  • So to anyone celebrating the execution of Saddam Iâ??m forced to ask: what the fuck are you cheering for?

    Nas, didn’t you know?
    They’re cheering that the ‘tyrant’ was finally put to ‘justice’…they’re cheering for the ‘many families’ whose lives were completely ruined by this ‘evil man who had no respect for humanity’….

  • There really is nothing to cheer for in Iraq today.

    Anyway, there are two points that I think we will have to consider:

    First, I think the timing of this execution has to do with the fact that they didn’t want Saddam to be executed in 2007, so that Saddam’s death be counted in the events of 2006 which will be the subject of heavy news focus in the short term, not another year from now when it’s time for a 2007 review. By then, Saddam’s execution will be of the previous year. I can assure if there was no trial, they would have executed him much earlier than the end of year, but I think the whole process of the trial dictated that it be at the end of the year.

    Second, he was sentenced because of a crime that involves 148 individuals, but we all know he also made decisions to go to war that ended up with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. So people will be making the argument that just as Bush made the decision to put Iraq in war and ended up causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s, so did Saddam in the past, and therefore it’s not as easy as comparing the number 148 to a couple hundred thousands.

    I think Saddam got what he deserved, but in the worst way imaginable for the Iraqi people themselves. People are sad today, even I am sad, but most are not really sad for Saddam’s person, but for the fact that Iraq’s state has deteriorated so bad, that this is happening in it; the execution of their ex-leader by an occupying power and worse of all with what most see as forced Iraqi hands, on the dawn of a muslim holiday.

    One comment I liked was the following on BBC’s “Have Your Say”:

    He went to the gallows, with the same sense of resigned inevitability as we in the western “democracies” do when we go to the ballot box.

    richard johnson, hampton va

  • I hope there are more people/Arabs like you. I hate watching people rejoicing & dancing on the streets celebrating his death! It’s just plain stupid. Even the Vaticans oppose such acts by the Iraqi govt @ court (who may be following the orders of Bush). What were they thinking? they’re making a scape goat of him!

  • moey…freedom? from tyranny? from bloodshed? from war?

    if the next three years are anything like the past three years then theres more of that now post-saddam than in iraq’s entire 20th century history.

  • Moey, i don’t understand what you are saying. What freedom? Iraq is under a bloody military occupation which resulted in catastrophic instability and the killing of over half a million Iraqis. Freedom? Iraq is on the brink of a breakup. Freedom? The brutality of torture by the new regime has exceeded everything Iraqis have seen before. WHAT FREEDOM ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT MOEY?!?

  • Salaam All,

    Another thing worth mentioning other than the fact of executing Saddam on a holy day (an insult to Muslims in general ard to all Arabs in particular) is that he was put to death in the most dispicable possible manner (hanging) are we in the medieval times…!!?

    We don’t have a special liking to Saddam, no one denies that he has committed war crimes, but Muslims wouldn’t even deem killing their worst enemy on a holy day as something victorious! all people with any conscience didn’t see this act as ethical or appropriate…

    The current Iraqi goverment , I believe, has made the gravest mistake since its emergence. It wasn’t wise at all as regards their relations with other Arab goverments or peoples (the latter for sure). This goverment can only expect its soon demise.

    What, I fear now is more divisions in the Muslim world… all we can hope for now is that this year would be less bloody than the previuos one!

  • Like I said on my blog, one down, a dozen or more to go. Besides, I want to know when the leaders of the West, the people who helped put Saddam in power, helped arm and finance him and supported him before, during and after his crimes, are going to be brought to justice?

    It wasnt an execution, it was a sectarian lynch mob. I have no issue with the fact that he was killed, he deserved it, but it should have been done in a proper manner at a proper time.

    Following it should be arrests and indcitments against the CIA members who helped get him into power. There should be trials of the Western figures who backed him, before during and after all of these crimes.

    There wont be, why? Because these same people, and the people that have come after them, are still supporting the same sorts of dictators, in the Middle East and around the world.

  • if the next three years are anything like the past three years then theres more of that now post-saddam than in iraqâ??s entire 20th century history.

    So, what are you saying? Iraq needs a brutal dictator to maintain order?

  • Ya3bi it’s so stupid to believe that Sadaam was executed for his crimes, thios was not a punishment for his crimes, no matter how many of them he was really guilty for, because if it was so, dozens of leader should’ve been hanged before him, Arab and non-Arab leaders… Saddam was executed because he said no, unlike many many others, including most if not all Arab leaders.That’s a shame, a degredation for all Arabs and Muslims, nothign to celebrate

    Who do you think will be able to rule Iraq now with all the sects and minorities in it? Everyone wants to dominate and to take over… 3aleem Allah ‘3air yetmanno terja3 ayyam Saddam

  • Rocket Ray: I did not say that. However realistically speaking a brutal dictatorship beats a brutal occupation any day of the week.

  • However realistically speaking a brutal dictatorship beats a brutal occupation any day of the week.

    And there, IMHO, is the reason there is such a dearth of freedom, democracy, and rule of law in Arab countries.

    Iraq has (had) an opportunity forced upon them. I agree, it shouldn’t have been forced upon them, but that mistake can’t be unmade. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Iraq chose to strap bombs to them instead.

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. — B. Franklin, 1759

  • RR, you’re absolutely right…the problem with Iraqis today is that they’re just not making enough lemonade. With half a family killed and a home reduced to rubble, your average Iraqi just not seeing the brighter side to life. now they too can have a democracy!

    I think you should write that up in a memo and send it off to the pentagon. They can attach a clever name to it like ‘operation cup half full’.

    drop lemons, not bombs.

  • In the hope that you simply misunderstood me, let me relate something I read in the book “Citizen Soldiers”. When the US Army was advancing through Germany in WWII, they’d typically have to shell and bomb a German village where the retreating German army set up a defensive position. Once the Germans left the US Army would then occupy the village for a while before advancing again. The German villagers, as soon as the US soldiers arrived, would start repairing their homes, patching their roofs, and in general fix things up. They didn’t stand around, waiting for help or handouts. Life gave them lemons, and they chose to make lemonade. This is in contrast to the French, who waited around for the US to come back and give them money and fix things for them.

    Why can’t Iraq do the same thing? Instead they turn on each other and blame everyone but themselves for the situation they’re in. The US might’ve opened the door for this situation, but the Iraqis chose to walk through it.

  • RR….this is the first mistake…the western thinking that one country is exactly like another. one ethnicity, one history, one religion, one conflict, one solution, easy invasion, easy occupation, easy turnover.

    iraqis are not germans and iraq in 2006 is certainly not germany in 1945. war is not basic math. it is complex and it is complicated, and more so when it comes to the middle east.

    i agree that many are in part to blame for the chaos…but the one shares the most blame is the US and i mean by a landslide. to state a pick ‘yourself up from your bootstraps’ policy during a foreign military occupation in a warzone where the people have been historically divided based on religion, sect, and ethnicity…is like the bully who would use your hand to slap your face and yell “why are u hitting yourself? why are you hitting yourself?”

  • CMAR: there are actually people who read an entire post before they comment on it. you should trying being amongst that group, it really helps them in formulating their arguements.

    and if you have read the post (which i highly doubt) and other posts like it on this blog and still think i’m pro-saddam and pro-suicide bombers…then you must be half illiterate as you apparently have the ability to write

    you just cant read all that well.

  • Nas,

    I read the whole post. If you think I’m missing something important, please be specific. There’s nothing I see in it that changes its overall thrust that Saddam was unjustly or illegally –pick your phony debating point– deposed, that he was “railroaded” in his trial, and that it was done by the American goverment behind the scenes.

    Does the fact that Saddam was actually guilty for the crimes he was tried for matter?

    I’m also aware of your position on suicide bombers which is highly nuanced. It is certainly not as emphatic as you suggest. As you said here “That being said, I admit that I stand in the middle on these specific issues”.

    I typically read your suicide bomber posts in context of the large number of Jordanians who are against suicide bombers except when they blow up in Iraq or the West Bank.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if you are sensible to the fact that it is fomer Saddam regime elements —who never, until now, gave up the hope that the US would relent and put Saddam back in power so it could declare victory and leave— who are central to vetting and equipping human bombs in Iraq? You might be in the middle on these issues, but Iraqis who face explosions in police recruiting lines feel a bit more strongly.

    I’m not going to be led astray by your protestations that you are not “pro-saddam and pro-suicide bombers”. You can hardly be characterized as “anti-Saddam or anti-human bombs” either.

    Before Saddam was executed, Arabs –who actually admired Saddam as they admire anyone who “stands up to” the US and denounces Israel– said “who cares about Saddam? Saddam is in the past?” What it is clear now is that they meant:
    “We don’t want Saddam executed but we don’t think it is a good strategy to actually defend him. So we’ll pretend we don’t care about him and maybe the Iraqis will forget to sentence him.”

    Now that he has received his just punishment (or as much as mortal humans can mete out) those admiring Arabs say “The trial was unjust! They taunted the poor man on the gallows! This wasn’t Iraqis trying and executing their former tyrant and criminal leader! This was the Americans doing it!” (as though that would make Saddam’s sentence less right)

  • the reason my position on such bombings is in the middle is because i find them to be senseless but i can attempt to understand where they are coming from. if i was asked to take a firm position on them i would say against. the reason i say im in the middle is due to the fact that they play their role in resistance. if israeli tanks role into a palestinian town and encounter resistance, a palestinian deciding to blow himself up is no more or less dangerous than one who picks up an ak47. it becomes merely a weapon of choice. doing so in a pizza parlor is unwarranted and senseless. it depends on the context and the arena, to say nothing of the fact that palestine does not equal iraq.

    as for everything about saddam. you have a general way of speaking about arabs. i have said in this very post that i never liked him and yet you seem adamant to want to label me as empathizing with him. so be it.

    what i am against is not that he was sentenced, or tried, or convicted or hung. what i find difficult swallowing are the elements and conditions under which all of this took place. the same would be said if another country invaded the U.S. and put Bush on trial, who is equally guilty of war crimes at this point, at least as far as leadership goes.

    had the result of him being killed taken place by virtue of an international court or a popular iraqi uprising i wouldn’t care less.

    saddam is gone, iraq is worse now than ever before and america is still occupying it. what’s to cheer for exactly?

  • Nas,

    Wow, Nas! Did I ever misjudge you. You silently ban me for civil conversation and then selectively delete my posts. Well, it’s your blog, but I think that’s kind of dishonest and cowardly. enjoy.

  • “a palestinian deciding to blow himself up is no more or less dangerous than one who picks up an ak47. it becomes merely a weapon of choice.

    No. It is much more destructive than an ak47…not for Israelis, but for Palestinians and for the supportive Arabs in the surrounding countries as well. I say this because of the demands on a society in order to create human bombs. 1) One must distort the view of the enemy so much that the bomb considers political results of his action inconsequential (after all, he won’t be able to see or help create the new Palestinian government). All that is important is that he has caused a few of the enemy to die with him. And the Palestinian society has to take part in that vision so that political compromise becomes impossible (and so Palestinians would rather there be NO government on the West Bank if they can’t have Jerusalem as their capital…and of course, as Hamas says, permanent peace is not possible anyway.

    Secondly, religion has to be perverted as well since without the promise of a first class ticket to heaven (for a purely political act rather than a religious one), humans bombs would have to be drawn primarily from mental hospitals.

    But if you can understand the resort to human bombs to fight Israelis then you could surely understand it if it were done in Jordan as well to bring down the government after Black September? Or does it not matter if Arabs do these things to Arabs.

    the same would be said if another country invaded the U.S. and put Bush on trial, who is equally guilty of war crimes at this point, at least as far as leadership goes.

    First of all, the comparison between the US leadership and the Ba’athist Iraqi leadership is grotesque, to put it politely. Secondly, the idea is repugnant to me that Iraqis do not deserve to be free of Saddam because he was willing to use (and as far as Iraqis and the rest of the world believed, capable of using) nerve gas against who towns.

    Saddam was tried and executed by Iraqis and only Iraqis…by a government of Iraqis established by three successive elections (how many elections established the national leadership of Jordan?). So you’re not not against Saddam being tried, convicted, sentenced, or hung. You’re only against him being deposed by the only entity willing and capable of doing it, so he could be tried, convicted, sentenced, and hung. Yeah, sure, makes a lot of sense.

    saddam is gone, iraq is worse now than ever before and america is still occupying it. whatâ??s to cheer for exactly?

    What’s to cheer about is that if Iraq is screwed up, it is in the hands of the Iraqis (specifically, at this time, the Iraqi Arabs) to screw it up or make it better. Before, they were required to sit around a wait for Saddam to screw up the country for them. Saddam had savaged the Iraq economy well before his invasion of Kuwait. IMO what we see now is a mere taste of what the country would have become when all Saddam’s bills came due.

  • cmar2…cool your jets…there’s something about you that has my spamkarma working overtime thus forcing me to go digging in comments it has already rejected. possibly an ip problem.

    things like that happen.

    if your comment(s) do not appear then like i say in my commenting policy, feel free to drop me an email to inform me because i may not be aware of it. so i recommend next time you do just that.

    you know…before you pass any premature judgment on a person.

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