Except for his abbreviated prayers, cut short when he dropped through the small trapdoor on the floor of the gallows, Saddam Hussein’s last words–a retort to a taunt–were spot on: The hell that is Iraq.
Hundreds of thousands of innocents have been killed in the bloodbath that has washed over Iraq since the American-led invasion in March of 2003. Thousands of willing war fighters have also died while cleansing the desert sands of insurgents, terrorists, women, and children. The figurative purgatory that was Iraq when Saddam ruled with an iron fist has become, under the thumb of George W. Bush, a literal hell on earth.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was correct when he spoke at the United Nations on 20 September 2006. “The Devil came here yesterday,” Chavez said, referring to George W. Bush. “And it smells of sulfur still today.” Bush is the Devil who stank up the UN General Assembly, and he is the Devil who has created the smell of hell in Iraq. An evil mission was accomplished, but it hasn’t been victory for the United States, or freedom and democracy for Iraq.
From the very beginning of the attack on Iraq, the Devil’s work was being accomplished. During their initial advance on Baghdad , “[t]he Marines opened fire. All hell broke loose. They were firing all over the place.Marines are conditioned to reach their target at any cost, by staying alive and facing any type of enemy. They abusively make use of disproportionate firepower. These hardened troops, followed by tons of equipment, supported by extraordinary artillery power, protected by fighter jets and cutting-edge helicopters, were shooting on local inhabitants who understood absolutely nothing of what was going on.”(1)
Civilians were in the bull’s-eye, and they died all over the place in March 2003. Six months (and thousands of deaths) later, the Devil’s agenda was on target. “As the death toll of Iraqis and Allied soldiers continues, the question is: how can the occupiers and occupied work to close those gates to hell and prevent the sundering of Iraq into warring regions or areas at war with themselves?”(2)
By January of 2004, the destruction of human beings–and their diminishing modern society–weren’t the only tragedies suffered by the Iraqi nation. “In the scheme of things, concerns about artifacts and shrines may seem marginal. But religion and history are intricately woven into military action in the Middle East. Amid the plumes and uniforms and the calm paraphernalia of a tyrant-states going to hell in a bucket, there is a widening sense of history lost.”(3)
The loss of Iraq’s history was an important story but, months later, in April 2004, “[t]he recent news [was] dominated by all hell breaking loose in Iraq, including the US’s Jineen-style invasion of Fallujah, attacks on CPA troops in a number of Shia strongholds, the kidnapping of civilian workers of various nationalities, and the suicide bombings in Basra.”(4) The looting of shrines was supplanted by the shooting of people.
The Devils playground, as noted in Bush’s Bible, is a roiling, broiling oven filled with evil people and non-believers. “Nothing, I repeat nothing, the United States thinks it is protecting itself from is worth this descent into hell.Only recently, after a year of denials about using napalm at Fallujah, despite the words of witnesses and the charred bodies of victims, we learn that white phosphorus was used. Indeed, Marines are trained to use white phosphorus to drive people out to places where they can shoot them, only the people are supposed to be soldiers, not civilians. Now, I am not sure people whose flesh is roasted to bubbling globs care whether the Marines used napalm or white phosphorus doing it.”(5) Man’s concoctions, provided by the United States, turned up the heat on Iraqis in 2005.
Early in 2006, the “descent into hell, our Apocalypse Now’ moment, has begun. First there was Gitmo, then the global rendition program, then Abu Ghraib, then the pulverizing of Fallujah, and now trigger-happy raids that are filling multitudes of sandy graves with men, women and children. Has Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out’ become the mission in Babylon?”(6)
On the last day of 2006, God–with help from masked Shiite hangmen and the Devil Bush–sorted out the former leader of Iraq, and Saddam Hussein has finally escaped the hell that is Iraq.
JAMES T. PHILLIPS is a freelance reporter who has covered wars in Iraq, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo. He can be contacted at email@example.com)
* “Abandon All Hope, You Who Enter Here.” Dante, The Inferno.
(1) Laurent Van der Stockt.
(2) Tim Llewellyn.
(3) Daniel Estulin.
(4) Greg Weiher.
(5) John Chuckman.
(6) Tony Swindell.