So Saddam Hussein has finally been hanged. Few people will mourn the passing of such a brutal dictator but the manner of his removal may have serious repercussions. Saddam was executed for killing Iraqi people (only 148 of them as the authorities were in so much of a hurry to kill Saddam that they didn’t finish trying him for other, greater crimes), something that Bush and Blair have been doing non-stop for the last three years without being held to account so far. Bush says his trial was fair, a trial which was so flawed it took three different judges; the first quit in disgust at government interference, the second one was fired for being an ex-Baathist and the third one was from the town of Halabja seemed to think that there was no need for a trial, only a hanging. Saddam’s “fair trial” severely limited the number of defence witnesses and allowed no scrutiny of America and Britain’s role in making him the monster he was. Blair could not bring himself to make any comment on the execution and so left our Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett to try and balance the hypocrisy of Blair’s supposed objection to the death penalty with his active role in bringing it on the Iraqi President (she’s glad Saddam has been “held to account” which is kind of odd coming from New Labour).
The Americans went out of their way to try and create the illusion that the trial (which they paid for) and required death sentence was entirely an Iraqi affair. I wonder how many will believe such bullshit. Saddam was in American custody up until the moment he mounted the scaffold and it was a court in Washington that finally sealed his fate this morning. By hurriedly dispatching Saddam in this sordid way on a day sacred to Muslims, whatever slim chance there was for some sort of dialogue between Sunnis and Shias has probably gone for good. Of course it can be argued that being taken out and hanged after a show trial in a kangaroo court was better than Saddam deserved and similar to the treatment he meted out when he was in power, but I thought our standards were supposed to be higher than that and that the invasion was meant to put a stop to such abuses of power. So this is the new beginning for Iraq is it?
It’s not a very promising new beginning. Instead of a proper fair trial in an international court we have this travesty of justice and a sentence that is little more than victors justice and revenge. Even Bush realised that the violence will continue without Saddam and sure enough so it has. Now 90 percent of Iraqis say they are worse off than they were under Saddam. December has been the deadliest month in two years for both the occupiers and the occupied. With or without Saddam the different conflicts in Iraq were always going to get worse. This hanging will just exacerbate the problem. Coalition troops will be in even more danger and if they are unlucky enough to be captured by Sunni insurgents…
Here a few links well worth visiting to put this news into perpective. First an Iraqi view from the always excellent Riverbend. And also a look at the history of Saddam’s long partnership with the USA… Thanks for the memories. Blairwatch is worth visiting and there is a poignant observation from a Big Stick And A Small Carrot. Obsolete has a couple of posts with some good analysis too.