Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Worse than Criminal- Stupid

Napoleon's talk of liberation of other countries soon turned into chaos and oppression as well. It was the hasty execution of another high-ranking threat to an aggressive regime that led Talleyrand, the French statesman, to say "That was worse than a crime; it was a mistake." In 1804, Napoleon had sent a snatch squad across the border and "rendered" the Duke of Enghien, one of the last of the Bourbons who was then executed after a hastily convened kangaroo military tribunal.

The echoes are deafening with the sordid execution of Saddam Hussein, of whom it must be said, nothing became him like his going.

Early media accounts carried the interpretation of one Iraqi official who claimed that he saw fear in the eyes of the victim. In contrast, on the grainy cell phone video and the officially released version, Saddam Hussein maintained his dignity when all around showed none.

With the help of a ghoulish participant voyeur with a cell-phone camera, those whom the US has put in power have made a martyr of a mass murderer. Congratulations are due. To hang someone, in such a sordid ambience, on the eve of the great Feast of Sacrifice, with a Koran in his hand, the Islamic declaration of faith on his lips, while the undisciplined bunch of thugs crowding the execution chamber heckled and chanted sectarian Shi'a slogans…. Really, short of inviting the Israelis to pull the lever, there is little more they could have done to vindicate the tyrant.

After four years of occupation, the US has succeeded in handing over the reins of power to a government that is so infiltrated with sectarian militia that it could not restrain them, nor even stop one of them poking his cell-phone under the trap door to catch the last unruly moments. Thanks to the technophile ghoul we can now hear why the official video was released without a soundtrack.

They even made Silvio Berlusconi seem saintly. Doubtless sensitized by the treatment of his political forebear Benito Mussolini at the hands of a lynch mob, he decried the execution as a betrayal of the civilization that Italian troops had been invited to take to Iraq. He was, in his own rightist way, entirely right. Compare that with the silence of known death penalty opponent Tony Blair, or the Pontius Pilate behaviour of British Foreign Secretary Margaret Becket, who said it was up to the Iraqis, perhaps forgetting Blair's retrospective attempts to justify the invasion of Iraq by saying it was to put a stop to the barbarism of the Saddam regime.

It is now claimed that the US tried to stop the execution being held so precipitately… but George W Bush is every bit as guilty as if he had personally tightened the noose. I have yet to hear a single convincing explanation for the invasion of Iraq, and the trial did not enlighten us at all. But throughout, there has been some deeply personal motivation on the part of George W. Bush against Saddam. "He tried to kill my father," Bush claimed in 2003 and without getting too Freudian, one can see that the wastrel draft-dodging frat boy did sincerely want to vindicate himself against his father's genuine war record.

But officially, Saddam was hanged for a mass execution in 1982. That was a very expedient charge. As I have said before, it was picked very carefully, and it was not just Republican prejudice against multinational tribunals that led them to conduct an in-house trial.

In an international tribunal he could have called on witnesses to testify how much support he had had from the US. He killed far more people after1982, and the US went on to support him diplomatically, financially and militarily for the duration of the long bloody war of attrition with Iran. It covered for him while he gassed the Kurds, and killed untold thousands of his opponents.

The US cynically incited the Kurds and Shi'a to rise after the first Gulf War, and then equally cynically abandoned them to their fate at the hands of the regime.

But think of the things that Saddam Hussein was not hanged for. He did not in any way assist or condone the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center, but dearly hath he paid for the Bush propaganda machine's association of him with it. And he paid for it on the week when US military dead reached 3,000, over-reaching the dead of 9-11. Not to mention anything up to half a million Iraqis dead, and as many more who have fled their country in fear of the consequences of American liberation. That is a very heavy price to pay for not having anything to do with Al-Qaeda or the World Trade Center. And one hopes that other panderers to Washington around the world draw the lesson of how deeply and murderously ungrateful the new Empire is to client states.

Not to mention how stupid, in converting a genuinely evil and murderous dictator into a martyr. In a crucially placed area, they have created Hobbesian anarchy and call it victory.

1 comment:

Atomboy said...

The problem with looking for logic and reason with regard to the actions of America and how it deals with foreign powers is that there really is none. America knows that it can do as it wishes and so, like an unruly child - it does.

Its ineptitude may be boundless and it may make a fool of itself internationally as well as making the local situation infinitely worse, but ultimately America knows it will never be anywhere for the long haul. It will clear out, leaving a mess for others to clear up and then go and find somewhere else to poke its finger in and cause turmoil until it again gets bored.

You quote some useful history as if that would ever change things. As Kurt Vonnegut said: most Americans could not find their own country on a globe. George Bush's greatest ally, Tony Blair, wants Britain's history to start at the Year Zero of his accession to power. I doubt whether either of these charlatans knows that the country where they waged war had a biblical civilization. George will have forgotten Tony as soon as he leaves power, as will the rest of the world. Bush himself will soon be purged from people's minds and the misery and mayhem in Iraq will continue long after they are gone, where real people with real lives will be left to suffer.

All the time we elect stupid, childish inconsequentials whose only desire is to be loved because they are actually scared little thumbsuckers, this is what we can expect.

Happy New Year!