Monday, January 01, 2007

Saddam's Execution: Damage Control

It's important to remember while reading this New York Times article about Saddam's execution that the US military had possession of him prior to the hanging and could have held off turning him over to the Iraqi government until it was certain the sentence would be carried out according to the rule of law. It didn't and no amount of trying to convince the world now that the Bush administration had really 'questioned' the rush to kill Hussein in any way that actually meant anything is simply an attempt to propagandize its way out of what was clearly a mockery of justice.

Had the leaked cellphone video of the hanging not been distributed far and wide, the press wouldn't even be running the story of all of this supposed anguish now. There were no public expressions of official US government concern just prior to the hanging and once it was done, Bush proudly stated that it had been carried out following a 'fair trial' which had brought 'justice' to his victims. If what is contained in that New York Times article is a true account of what happened in the quick run up to the execution, it is clear that right up until the last minute, nothing resembling 'justice' actually occured.

Iraqi and American officials who have discussed the intrigue and confusion that preceded the decision late on Friday to rush Mr. Hussein to the gallows have said that it was the Americans who questioned the political wisdom — and justice — of expediting the execution, in ways that required Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to override constitutional and religious precepts that might have assured Mr. Hussein a more dignified passage to his end.

Are we to assume that there was no one in the Iraqi government who was concerned about these hugely important issues? That only those Americans present postured themselves on some pulpit of moral superiority in order to scold al-Maliki and caution him? That only the Americans were really concerned about the rule of law? That al-Maliki was acting like a tyrant who had to be tamed? Or was the Bush administration simply concerned about the political fallout it would receive as a result of this fiasco?

Have we not seen this game play out over and over during decades of American interference in and support for puppets they've installed who end up not obeying their American masters? And where, exactly, has this attitude gotten them in the past? Let's not forget who created Saddam in the first place.

American officials in Iraq have been reluctant to say much publicly about the pell-mell nature of the hanging, apparently fearful of provoking recriminations in Washington, where the Bush administration adopted a hands-off posture, saying the timing of the execution was Iraq’s to decide.

While privately incensed at the dead-of-night rush to the gallows, the Americans here have been caught in the double bind that has ensnared them over much else about the Maliki government — frustrated at what they call the government’s failure to recognize its destructive behavior, but reluctant to speak out, or sometimes to act, for fear of undermining Mr. Maliki and worsening the situation.

How can the situation possibly get much worse?

Will another US administration once again stand by while someone it has installed violates its country's laws and constitution with impunity while trying to convince the rest of the world that there is some hope for a fully functioning democracy in Iraq? Will the Bush administration truly get away with placing all of the blame for the way this execution was carried out on the Iraqi government officials when it could easily have kept him in custody until such time as all of the legalities were in order?

Have US governments learned nothing?

And just how naive do they think the rest of us really are? That question was answered when they illegally invaded Iraq in the first place. Yet, even though they have been held to the mat for all of their lies, they still seem to think that we can all be manipulated by their claims of innocence and 'distance' from the realities on the ground that they have wraught.

'Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.'

Iraq to probe filming of Saddam hanging
Sunni party office hit in U.S. raid in Iraq
Crowds protest Saddam hanging in Iraq

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