FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Executing Saddam, Protecting the Rackets

by MANUEL GARCIA, Jr.

What does the execution of Saddam Hussein mean to the public?

What has the execution of captured national leaders meant in the past?

Vercingetorix was the leader of the Celtic revolt against Roman rule in Gaul. He was taken captive by Julius Caesar after the Gallic defeat in the Battle of Alesia (in eastern France) in 52 BC, and spent the next six years in chains and publicly displayed as a war trophy. In 46 BC, he was taken from his cell and marched through the streets of Rome during a procession honoring Caesar, and then publicly executed by strangulation. Gaius Julius Caesar himself would only live another two years, for he was executed by a group of assassins with daggers in 44 BC.

The overt U.S. military involvement in World War 2 lasted 3 years and 8 months, from early December 1941 to early August 1945. The war crimes tribunals of German (at Nuremberg) and Japanese (at Tokyo and Manila) political and military leaders occurred during 1945 to 1949. The major German war criminals were executed on
October 16, 1946 — 10 hangings within 3.5 hours. Seven major Japanese war criminals were executed by hanging on December 13, 1948.

What can we say to characterize the executions cited? Consider these 4 possibilities:
1. In some cases, a degree of justice and some recognition of historical “lessons” came about as a result of the trials and punishment of war criminals.
2. Such executions are triumphal rituals by a victorious power elite lording it over the defeated.
3. These executions are political theater for the masses, to distract them from their many sacrifices — especially through wars — to the power elite.
4. They are used by the power elite to remove discarded members of their own class who are now political liabilities.
The current Iraq War broke out in March 2003 and has lasted 3 years and 8 months (like WW2). Victory in the form of a compliant Iraqi population and easy extraction of Iraqi natural resources — oil — has been elusive, so we have been presented with gestures of power: a string of “hits” on named “terrorists” leading up to the biggest show of this type, the execution of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam’s execution was a triumphal ritual by US power against an occupied — though still unconquered — Iraqi people, it was the political decapitation of the former Iraqi elite, a demonstration intended to show Iraqi subjugation to Western power. But, the abysmal failure by the US managers of the Iraq War has undercut any propaganda value Saddam’s execution might have had with the Iraqi public.

Beyond its use as political theater for the masses, Saddam’s execution was a spasm of pleasurable barbarism within the international club of the leadership class, a triumphal ritual by a victorious elite against a defeated adversary of its own class. It was an orgasm of power that aspired to be both primal and stylized like the delivery of the coup de grace — whether by a cat biting through the neck of its prey, or a lieutenant firing his pistol into the temple of one dispatched by a firing squad — but came off graceless and chaotic like the frenzy of a lynching.

Here, in the homeland of the would-be victors, Saddam’s execution is used as another distraction for the public and the troops from their many sacrifices in paying for and manning this war by their elite.

And finally, Saddam’s execution is a bit of necessary housekeeping by the managers of the war. It is the elimination of the possibility of damaging exposures by a former confederate. Rumsfeld is not the only political operator who is relieved of any hazard of disclosures by Saddam..

Saddam’s case makes it obvious what would be required to bring our un-indicted war criminals to justice. If Martians with vastly superior technology and military power invaded the Earth, as in H. G. Well’s novel “The War of the Worlds,” and they set about reorganizing the United States because they knew themselves to be better able to allocate our natural resources and arrange our system of governance, what would be our proper response? Imagine they arrived in Flying Saucers indestructible even by our nuclear weapons, and they were armed with directed heat ray weapons of unearthly power. Imagine they saturated our radios and TVs with the message “We have come to liberate Earth from all warfare, to end all hunger, poverty and want, and to ensure humans live in harmony with Earth’s natural conditions in a sustainable manner indefinitely.” Then, imagine they put on war crimes trials of our political elite. What would our moral and patriotic duty be?: to set off hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when Flying Saucer patrols passed through our neighborhoods?; to fling rotting carcasses and produce at Alien Troopers, hoping to infect them with deadly-to-Martians Earth germs?; to withstand the reprisals inflicted by searing heat rays vaporizing all in their path and yet continue resistance?; or would our duty be to make peace, to realize that warfare, mass killings and resistance were useless, that we should surrender to a greater power and accept our designated roles (and perhaps live in our designated reservations); and that we should implement the will of our new rulers including the prosecution and execution of our former Earthmen overlords? Who defines “duty,” “honor” and “country?”

Saddam’s execution was no victory for people outside the Washington D.C. imperial elite. There is no doubt that Saddam was guilty of great crimes, and any truly independent tribunal would have found him undeserving of retaining his liberty. A victory for the world public would have been a judgment requiring Saddam to reveal all the details of his career, during the course of a lifetime imprisonment. Historians and prosecutors in many countries would work from this record to winnow the truth from the lies, and to then enable the many agencies making up our international system of justice to pursue other perpetrators implicated in the tale.

The quick execution of Saddam Hussein is not simply “victor’s justice,” it is a demotion in a Mafia-style re-organization, the elimination of capo fallen from grace, to protect the power elite from any exposures that would threaten its control.

MANUEL GARCIA, Jr. is a physicist who studies fluid flow, electricity and energy. He can be reached at: mango@idiom.com

 

 

Manuel Garcia, Jr, once a physicist, is now a lazy househusband who writes out his analyses of physical or societal problems or interactions. He can be reached at mangogarcia@att.net

Weekend Edition
May 06, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Dave Wagner
When Liberals Run Out of Patience: the Impolite Exile of Seymour Hersh
John Stauber
Strange Bedfellows: the Bizarre Coalition of Kochs, Neocons and Democrats Allied Against Trump and His #FUvoters
Joshua Frank
Afghanistan: Bombing the Land of the Snow Leopard
Bill Martin
Fear of Trump: Annals of Parliamentary Cretinism
Carol Miller
Pretending the Democratic Party Platform Matters
Paul Street
Hey, Bernie, Leave Them Kids Alone
Tamara Pearson
Mexico Already Has a Giant Wall, and a Mining Company Helped to Build It
Dave Lindorff
Bringing the Sanders ‘Revolution’ to Philly’s Streets
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism
Carmelo Ruiz
The New Wave of Repression in Puerto Rico
Jack Denton
Prison Labor Strike in Alabama: “We Will No Longer Contribute to Our Own Oppression”
Jeffrey St. Clair
David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books, the CounterPunch Connection
David Rosen
Poverty in America: the Deepening Crisis
Pepe Escobar
NATO on Trade, in Europe and Asia, is Doomed
Pete Dolack
Another Goodbye to Democracy if Transatlantic Partnership is Passed
Carla Blank
Prince: Pain and Dance
Josh Hoxie
American Tax Havens: Elites Don’t Have to go to Panama to Hide Their Money–They’ve Got Delaware
Gabriel Rockhill
Media Blackout on Nuit Debout
Barry Lando
Welcome to the Machine World: the Perfect Technological Storm
Hilary Goodfriend
The Wall Street Journal is Playing Dirty in El Salvador, Again
Frank Stricker
Ready for the Coming Assault on Social Security? Five Things Paul Ryan and Friends Don’t Want You to Think About
Robert Gordon
Beyond the Wall: an In-Depth Look at U.S. Immigration Policy
Roger Annis
City at the Heart of the Alberta Tar Sands Burning to the Ground
Simon Jones
RISE: New Politics for a Tired Scotland
Rob Hager
After Indiana: Sanders Wins another Purple State, But Remains Lost in a Haze of Bad Strategy and Rigged Delegate Math
Howard Lisnoff
Father Daniel Berrigan, Anti-war Hero With a Huge Blindspot
Adam Bartley
Australia-China Relations and the Politics of Canberra’s Submarine Deal
Nyla Ali Khan
The Complexity of the Kashmir Issue: “Conflict Can and Should be Handled Constructively
Ramzy Baroud
The Spirit of Nelson Mandela in Palestine: Is His Real Legacy Being Upheld?
Mel Gurtov
North Korea’s New Weapons: Full Speed Ahead?
Alli McCracken - Raed Jarrar
#IsraelSaudi: A Match Made in Hell
George Wuerthner
Working Wilderness and Other Code Words
Robert Koehler
Cowardice and Exoneration in Kunduz
Ron Jacobs
Psychedelic Rangers Extraordinaire
Missy Comley Beattie
It’s a Shit Show!
Kevin Martin
President Obama Should Meet A-Bomb Survivors
David Macaray
Our Best Weapon Is Being Systematically Eliminated
Colin Todhunter
Future Options: From Militarism and Monsanto to Gandhi and Bhaskar Save
Binoy Kampmark
The Trump Train Chugs Along
Thomas Knapp
The End of the Bill of Rights is at Our Fingertips
Cesar Chelala
A Lesson of Auschwitz
John Laforge
Dan Berrigan, 1921 – 2016: “We Haven’t Lost, Because We Haven’t Given Up.”
Norman Trabulsy Jr
John Denver and My 40th High School Reunion
Charles R. Larson
Being Gay in China, Circa 1987
David Yearsley
Skepticism, Irony, and Doubt: Williams on Bach
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail