Sunday, December 31, 2006





KILLED TOTAL 2,999 (As of 12/31/06)

Let's get real, apart for the barbarity and crudity of killing a man subdued

by the state and powerless is cowardly, and most civilized nations except the

good ole USA has rejected it long since. The "crimes against humanity" argument

has been debated since Nuremberg...can a person be a criminal at a time when

they are not breaking the existing law of the land? Immoral, to be sure. If

combatants, subject to the rules of war. If non-combatant, perhaps not. There

were people of conscience - Robert Taft, one of JFK's "Profiles in Courage", was

an objector. People of good will can agree, but if we had to go into Iraq (we

did not), we should have done so quickly, snatched the wretched creature in

charge and shipped him off to Gitmo, or, better, the Hague, or even to the cell

next to General Noriega, I do not object to well-treated, tours of former

dictators. But I take no joy in their deaths once disarmed and degraded.

But the way this execution was carried out is loathsome and barbaric. I must

say Saddam, no worse than our 'allies' in Saudi or Uzbekistan or even Egypt,

really, was a lynching. It was a rush job--the victim was the old person on

camera not hooded (he refused, and he was shouted at by his 'executioners' and -

to his credit, more or less his last words were "Is this how Arabs act?" I

guess so--a few called for silence and dignity, the rest shouted abuse - a lynch

mob, and when they had killed him, danced on his corpse like savages. If this

is the "civilization we are are bringing to the Arab World, I don't think even

Texas executions would tolerate this kind of indignity, all duly recorded on

video. 3000 American G.I.s died for a 'country' that does this kind of barbaric

shit? 12,000 Maimed? For the Shi'ite fanatic Islamic Republic of Iraq? What

trash. Bush should be impeached. And we all should watch the tape, and feel

just a little ill.

I detest him - praising "Palestine" to the end, but I don't degrade, dehumanize

and then kill unarmed prisoners no matter what they SAY. In fact, defiant to

the end, he was almost -heroic. I hated the guy. I hated his regime. But I

wouldn't have treated Eichmann this way, which, by the way, he wasn't. Jews are

*not* savages, which maybe is the point.


bits & pieces on the Deed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Thousands of Indians, most of them Muslims, took to the

streets in sporadic protests across the country against the execution of Saddam

Hussein on Saturday, accusing U.S. President George W. Bush of murdering him.

The protests came as New Delhi, which had friendly relations with Saddam's Iraq,

said it was disappointed he was executed and hoped this would not hurt the

process of reconciliation and restoration of peace in that country....

VOICE OF AMERICA - Meanwhile, protests against Saddam's execution have broken

out in several countries around the world - including Iraq, Pakistan and India.

An Iraqi flashes the victory-sign as he rides through the Shiite-majority

Baghdad suburb Sadr City during celebrations of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's

An Iraqi flashes the victory-sign as he rides through the Shi'ite-majority

Baghdad suburb Sadr City during celebrations of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's

Street celebrations, however, were reported in Baghdad's Shi'ite Sadr City slum

and other predominantly Shi'ite areas.

Kuwait hailed the execution as fair and just. Iran called it a "victory for the

Iraqi people."

The Hamas-led Palestinian government denounced Saddam's hanging, and Libya

declared three days of official mourning.

Finally, London-based Amnesty International called the trial "flawed," and said

the execution only aggravates the cruel and degrading nature of the death


THE GUARDIAN - For the outside world, the most powerful image of Saddam's last

day on earth was the official footage of him being led to the gallows, where a

masked guard placed a rope around his neck - images that within hours had

reached millions on the Internet and fanned protests from overseas politicians

and human rights activists.

Yet for most Iraqis, the more compelling image was a grainier, shakier one

apparently taken by a mobile phone. Broadcast on local television, it showed a

white-shrouded body, neck twisted to one side.

NY TIMES - December 31, 2006 (The semi-mythic "Arab Street")
For Arab Critics, Hussein’s Execution Symbolizes the Victory of Vengeance Over


BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 30 — As daylight broke over the Arab world and news of

Saddam Hussein’s hanging spread over the airwaves and the Internet, the

execution proved just as profound for what it did not change as for what it did.

Hezbollah’s supporters in Beirut woke up on Saturday morning ready for another

day of protests aimed at bringing down the United States-backed government of

Fouad Siniora. Even in Iran, where the Foreign Ministry called the execution a

“jubilation for the thousands who lost family members in the Iran-Iraq war of

the 1980s, officials pledged to continue pursuing their nuclear ambitions and

denounced the United Nations Security Council’s efforts to curb them, Iran’s

official news agency, IRNA, reported.

Throughout the Arab world, opposition movements are still on the run, many pro-

democracy activists are either imprisoned or have simply given up, and the very

targets of the American campaign to transform the Middle East, like Hezbollah,

Iran and Syria, are more emboldened than ever.

Almost four years after United States troops entered Iraq with a broader foreign

policy goal of ushering in a “new Middle East, one built on democracy and rule

of law, the execution of Mr. Hussein on one of the holiest days in Islam marked

the unceremonious demise of that strategy, many Arab analysts said.

“If you compare the results to the objectives the U.S. claimed to realize,

whether it was democracy or control of the region, their policies have evidently

failed, said Nawaf Kabbara, professor of political science at Balamand

University in Beirut. “They were not able to spread democracy, control anything

or make any serious breakthrough. It is a failure on all levels.

For those Arabs who celebrated America’s embrace of the rule of law, the quick

execution, coming before the conclusion of other trials against Mr. Hussein for

crimes against humanity, left a bitter taste of stolen justice. Even Mr.

Hussein’s staunchest enemies expressed a sense of bitterness at the end.

“It is evident that they were not after justice, said Hilal Khashan, a

political science professor at the American University of Beirut. “It was a

political decision, because as soon as they got a sentence on him they executed

him. What mattered was his death rather than finding justice.

For those distrustful or disdainful of American intentions, the notion that the

execution fell on Id al-Adha, one of the most sacred holidays of the year,

seemed to symbolize the triumph of vengeance over justice.

“It looks like they just wanted to take revenge in a vulgar way; that was their

gift to the Shia for the feast, said Khalid al-Dakhil, assistant professor of

political sociology at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, referring

to Shiites, who were oppressed under Mr. Hussein and now control Iraq.

“Bush and al-Maliki thought they could benefit from this, but this is going to

backfire, he added, referring to President Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal

al-Maliki of Iraq. “Saddam’s execution is going to feed sectarianism and

contribute to more bloodshed.

Id al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice, is ultimately a commemoration of the

Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God; instead he

slaughtered a goat, and Muslims today slaughter goats, sheep and even camels to

re-enact the event. As the blood of slaughtered sheep stained the streets of

many Arab cities on Saturday, however, many found it hard to ignore the analogy

of Mr. Hussein himself as a sacrificial lamb.

“Executing the martyr Saddam Hussein on the first day of Adha in one of the

holiest months of the year is meant to defy the feeling of Muslims, to invoke

sectarian strife and to confirm that Bush’s policy as vindictive and aggressive,

said a statement by the union of the Islamist-dominated professional

associations union in Amman, Jordan.

“The phony slogans about freedom and democracy are fake, the statement

continued. “The professional associations mourn the death of the hero, the

martyr Saddam Hussein, and stress that the day of liberating Iraq is near.

Even those who believed Mr. Hussein was guilty expressed doubts about his trial,

and about whether Iraq’s rebuilt justice system was really the kind of civil

institution that could support a true democracy.

“Saddam Hussein was guilty a thousand times over, but still the Americans and

the Iraqi government managed to run a shabby trial, said Jihad al-Khazen, a

columnist and former editor of the pan-Arab newspapers Al Hayat and Asharq al

Awsat. “If they organized a fair trial with international observers that could

have served as a model for other countries. Instead they messed it up, and I

think Saddam in the eyes of many people will now be seen as another martyr.

Many in the region seemed to view the execution as a harbinger of further

sectarian conflict. This was the first time in modern history that a Sunni

dictator had been executed by a Shiite, some analysts noted, a symbolic step

that was widely expected to incur Sunni retribution throughout the region.

American embassies throughout the region warned citizens on Saturday to avoid

protests and be prepared for unrest.

Reporting was contributed by Rasheed Abou al-Samh from Jidda, Saudi Arabia; Suha

Maayeh from Amman, Jordan; Mona el-Naggar from Cairo; and Nada Bakri from


The whole thing disgusts me. But, for now, I'll give Newsweek's astute Fareed

Zakaria, familiar to our TV viewers, the last words:

Zakaria: America’s Mistakes on Saddam’s Trial
By Fareed Zakaria

Jan. 8, 2007 issue - The saga of Saddam's end—his capture, trial and execution—

is a sad metaphor for America's occupation of Iraq. What might have gone right

went so wrong. It is worth remembering that Saddam Hussein was not your run-of-

the-mill dictator. He created one of the most brutal, corrupt and violent

regimes in modern history, something akin to Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China

or Kim Jong Il's North Korea. Whatever the strategic wisdom for the United

States, deposing him began as something unquestionably good for Iraq.

But soon the Bush administration dismissed the idea of trying Saddam under

international law, or in a court with any broader legitimacy. This is the

administration, after all, that could see little advantage to a United Nations

mandate for its own invasion and occupation. It put Saddam's fate in the hands

of the new Iraqi government, dominated by Shiite and Kurdish politicians who had

been victims of his reign. As a result, Saddam's trial, which should have been

the judgment of civilized society against a tyrant, is now seen by Iraq's Sunnis

and much of the Arab world as a farce, reflecting only the victors' vengeance.

This was not inevitable. Most Iraqis were happy to see Saddam out of power. In

the months after the American invasion, support for the Coalition Provisional

Authority topped 70 percent. This was so even among Iraq's Sunni Arabs. In the

first months of the insurgency, only 14 percent of them approved of attacks on

U.S. troops. (That number today is 70 percent.) The rebellious area in those

early months was not (Sunni) Fallujah but (Shiite) Najaf.

But during those crucial first months, Washington disbanded the Iraqi Army,

fired 50,000 bureaucrats and shut down the government-owned enterprises that

employed most Iraqis. In effect, the United States dismantled the Iraqi state,

leaving a deep security vacuum, administrative chaos and soaring unemployment.

That state was dominated by Iraq's Sunni elites, who read this not as just a

regime change but a revolution in which they had become the new underclass. For

them, the new Iraq looked like a new dictatorship.

Why Washington made such profound moves with such little forethought remains one

of the many puzzles of the Bush administration's foreign policy. Some of the

decision making was motivated by ideology: Baathism equaled fascism, so every

school teacher who joined the Baath Party to get a job was seen as a closet

Nazi; state-owned enterprises were bad, the new Iraq needed a flat tax, etc.

Some of it was influenced by Shiite exiles who wanted to take total control of

the new Iraq. Some of it simply reflected the bizarre combination of ignorance

and naivete that has marked the policies of Bush's "tough guys."

The administration has never fully understood the sectarian nature of its

policies, which were less "nation building" than they were "nation busting" in

their effects. It kept insisting that it was building a national army and police

force when it was blatantly obvious (even to columnists) that the forces were

overwhelmingly Shiite and Kurdish, mostly drawn from militias with stronger

loyalties to political parties than to the state. The answer to these

fundamentally political objections was technocratic: more training. But a

stronger Shiite Army made—makes—the Sunni populace more insecure and willing to

support the insurgency.

Iraq's Sunnis are not the good guys in this story. They have mostly behaved like

self-defeating thugs. The minority of Sunnis who support Al Qaeda have been

truly barbarous. The point, however, is not their vices but our stupidity. We

summarily deposed not just Saddam Hussein but a centuries-old ruling elite and

then were stunned that they reacted poorly. In contrast, on coming into power in

South Africa, Nelson Mandela did not fire a single white bureaucrat or soldier—

and not because he thought that they had been kind to his people. He correctly

saw the strategy as the way to prevent an Afrikaner rebellion.

It has now become fashionable among Washington neoconservatives to blame the

Iraqis for everything that has happened to their country. "We have given the

Iraqis a republic and they do not appear able to keep it," laments Charles

Krauthammer. Others invoke anthropologists to explain the terrible dysfunctions

of Iraqi culture. There may be some truth to all these claims—Iraq is a tough

place—but the Bush administration is not quite so blameless. It thoughtlessly

engineered a political and social revolution as intense as the French or Iranian

one and then seemed surprised that Iraq could not digest it happily, peaceably

and quickly. We did not give them a republic. We gave them a civil war.



He was a tyrant, but THIS is lynch-mob 'justice'. Out now.

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