This is a dark day for Americans and Iraqis alike.
Killing Saddam Hussein isn’t justice; its vengeance. Only Bush believes the two are the same.
How are we supposed to feel now that we know that Saddam will be hanged for his crimes?
Elated? Energized? Jubilant?
Will it wash away the oceans of blood that Bush generated with his misguided and tragic war?
The administration clings to the foolish notion that killing Saddam will somehow justify their unprovoked invasion and slaughter of 650,000 Iraqis.
I expect that many people feel the same sense of disgust and emptiness that I do. The joy of executing Saddam is limited to a small cadre of men who revel in the suffering and subjugation of others. They are human in name only.
Nothing Saddam did in his life will make him seem larger in the eyes of his people than his death. Still, the administration doesn’t care if they turn Saddam into a martyr as long as they get a bump in the polls before Tuesday’s midterm elections. It’s pathetic. Fortunately, the American people are not nearly as bloodthirsty as their leaders. All they want is an end to war and the safe return of the troops.
Sentencing a man to hang merely to improve one’s prospects at the ballot-box is about as desperate as it gets. It may be the most cynical political-ploy we’ve seen in the last 6 years. It’s a thoroughly vile act unworthy of anyone holding high-office.
The whole circus atmosphere of the Saddam trial has further eroded confidence in American justice and evenhandedness. The outcome was known from the very beginning. Everyone knew that he would be condemned to death.
So, why all the hoopla? Why not just shoot him outright?
Did Bush want to give Saddam the opportunity to grab the moral high-ground and look like a statesman? Now the deposed dictator seems like the unwitting victim of “victor’s justice”. How smart was that?
After the verdict was announced, Saddam issued brief a statement to his people which made him appear reflective and patriotic. He said:
“Pardon and do not take revenge on the invading nations and their peopleand unify in the face of sectarian strife.”
Saddam’s message of forgiveness and reconciliation won’t be warmly received in Washington where they were hoping that he would fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness. That was another miscalculation. Saddam may be a brutal tyrant but he was never a coward. His courtroom performance will only strengthen the resolve of the resistance and make life that much more difficult for occupation forces.
The whole charade has been costly blunder for the Bush team; nothing was gained.
Saddam’s death will have the same effect as the appalling photos of the hooded prisoner at Abu Ghraib which offended the sensibilities of decent people everywhere. It will just generate more hatred and violence.
This isn’t justice. It’s another example of a nation’s dark shame.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org