Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 30, 2006


Saddam Hussein was hanged. There are no tears left for him.

Let's see if justice is available for others too. It's time for this headline:

Posted by b on December 30, 2006 at 5:41 UTC | Permalink


way it's looking right now, if that's gonna happen it'll have to be from lamp posts

Posted by: b real | Dec 30 2006 5:55 utc | 1

ah, ça ira, ça ira, ça ira!

Posted by: catlady | Dec 30 2006 6:13 utc | 2

An very interesting remark: Saddam Hussein: Timing of the Noose

As many of you may not know, Saturday morning is the beginning of the Muslim holy days called Eid-ul-Adha. This is the "big Eid" lasting 4 days; the slighter shorter "small Eid" takes place at the end of Ramadan (which this year, was at the end of October). Eid ul Adha has two major elements of signifcance within in Islam.
The second, and more significant in this case, aspect of Eid ul Adha is that it marks the muslim prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael at the command of God (You may know these characters better as Abraham and Isaac). This festival’s name is often translated as the Feast of Sacrifice.
Given the context of this holiday, Saddam Hussein’s statement that "I sacrifice myself. If God wills it, he will place me among the true men and martyrs" takes on a new level of meaning. Hussein is playing into the sensibility Iraqi muslims, as well as more secular Iraqis for whom such a prominent muslim concept will still resonate. He is equating himself to the muslim prophets (the "true men"), like Ibrahim, and at the same time evoking martyrdom.
Imagine for a moment that the situation were different, and the civil war in Iraq was raging in part around various ethnic sects of Christianity rather than Islam (...); imagine that the condemned former leader was set to be executed on or around Good Friday and Easter weekend. At the same time, that leader makes a statement about how he’ll be a sacrifice for his people.
I don’t know if his efforts will have the desired effect of unifying the Iraqi population even more against the occupation, but the timing of the execution combined with Hussein’s statements on the matter can be nothing but bad news.

Posted by: b | Dec 30 2006 6:31 utc | 3

Thanks for the memories...

Posted by: the Ghost of Saddam Hussein | Dec 30 2006 7:18 utc | 4

Ah, 19th century-style execution: a clear triumph for human rights and the rule of law. The trial was a circus from the beginig and should have never taken place.

Something else to think about--if the genocide trial had gone ahead, it's likely that some very uncomfortable allegations would have surfaced about American support for Saddam's regime in the 1980's. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Saddam was rushed to the gallows to keep his mouth shut.

Finally, death fetishism is disgusting. The death 'penalty' is disgusting. Killing by State. No matter how repellent and awful a man Hussein was (and, lest we forget, he was eagerly aided and abetted by the CIA, and almost certainly the very top echelons of the US government), killing him served no rational fucking purpose whatsoever.

"Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out." -- George W. Bush, March 2002

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 30 2006 7:37 utc | 5

Fisk: A dictator created then destroyed by America

Who encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, which was the greatest war crime he has committed for it led to the deaths of a million and a half souls? And who sold him the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds? We did. No wonder the Americans, who controlled Saddam's weird trial, forbad any mention of this, his most obscene atrocity, in the charges against him. Could he not have been handed over to the Iranians for sentencing for this massive war crime? Of course not. Because that would also expose our culpability.

And the mass killings we perpetrated in 2003 with our depleted uranium shells and our "bunker buster" bombs and our phosphorous, the murderous post-invasion sieges of Fallujah and Najaf, the hell-disaster of anarchy we unleashed on the Iraqi population in the aftermath of our "victory" - our "mission accomplished" - who will be found guilty of this? Such expiation as we might expect will come, no doubt, in the self-serving memoirs of Blair and Bush, written in comfortable and wealthy retirement.
It was my colleague, Tom Friedman - now a messianic columnist for The New York Times - who perfectly caught Saddam's character just before the 2003 invasion: Saddam was, he wrote, "part Don Corleone, part Donald Duck". And, in this unique definition, Friedman caught the horror of all dictators; their sadistic attraction and the grotesque, unbelievable nature of their barbarity.

But that is not how the Arab world will see him. At first, those who suffered from Saddam's cruelty will welcome his execution. Hundreds wanted to pull the hangman's lever. So will many other Kurds and Shia outside Iraq welcome his end. But they - and millions of other Muslims - will remember how he was informed of his death sentence at the dawn of the Eid al-Adha feast, which recalls the would-be sacrifice by Abraham, of his son, a commemoration which even the ghastly Saddam cynically used to celebrate by releasing prisoners from his jails. "Handed over to the Iraqi authorities," he may have been before his death. But his execution will go down - correctly - as an American affair and time will add its false but lasting gloss to all this - that the West destroyed an Arab leader who no longer obeyed his orders from Washington, that, for all his wrongdoing (and this will be the terrible get-out for Arab historians, this shaving away of his crimes) Saddam died a "martyr" to the will of the new "Crusaders".

Posted by: b | Dec 30 2006 10:21 utc | 6

Worth seeing

Posted by: Fran | Dec 30 2006 10:51 utc | 7

Thank you so much for :

It's good to see that there is some kind of resistance in USA ...any kind...

Posted by: vbo | Dec 30 2006 11:06 utc | 8

Kangaroo court. Iraqis temporarily in power now killed him ASP because they are afraid of their own shadow …Ceausescu comes to mind. But USA powerful kill those who are not of their liking one way or another…so nothing new there…I am not crying for Saddam ( or Milosevic cause they killed him too) I am crying for what I naively thought USA ( and western civilization for that matter) is/was…As for Iraqis in power, never expected anything good of them anyway…At least they will not wait too long for their own executioner…
This word is charade and it’s so painfully obvious…
Oh it’s so comfortable and pleasant to be stupid….

Posted by: vbo | Dec 30 2006 11:21 utc | 9

I meant :
This WORLD is charade and it’s so painfully obvious…

Posted by: vbo | Dec 30 2006 11:23 utc | 10

"Executions are intended to draw spectators. If they do not draw spectators, they do not answer their purpose." ~Samuel Johnson.

Thank Almighty Providence that our great, secular nation still mercifully destroys these heathens that would have us all stagnating in a non-progressive, theocratic Dark Age.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 30 2006 11:46 utc | 11

"justice" - was it ben franklin who said, "if we each got what we deserved, who would escape whipping"?

i have sometimes elaborated a fantasy of a mass execution of the cheney gang in the white house rose garden, by a firing squad of marines in dress uniforms, a precision flyover of fighter jets, a funeral march played by the army band - all at dawn, globally televised

- but only after a fair trial with all the niceties that the cheney gang has made a point of cancelling out, of course

but really, now that it seems probable that the cheney faction will be removed from power - i find that I agree with uncle $cam - much better that they remain in prison with the opportunity to reflect on their crimes, and if possible, repent of them

Posted by: mistah charley | Dec 30 2006 11:50 utc | 12

Gadhafi's Libya declares 3-day official mourning for Saddam

Posted by: Fran | Dec 30 2006 11:58 utc | 13

I think it is a clear indictment of the USA government that we would not let the World Court try the man; or at least a neutral third country. If ever a fair trial needed a change of venue, this was it. I wonder what information might have come out at trial if there had been a real trial rather than a USSR show trial as we saw.

I have always wondered how many of Saddam's actions were at the orders of our government behind the scenes. That does not excuse Saddam, but I would like to see his American accomplices be tried for the same offenses as Saddam.

Posted by: bucky | Dec 30 2006 12:05 utc | 14

@Fran (#13)

The official responses of 13 nations and two international human rights groups can be found at the bottom of this page.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 30 2006 12:29 utc | 15

This should be considered as a milestone in the US crazy run of an empire. Not because Saddam was Evil, but because the US now feels strong and all-powerful enough to go and kill heads of state at will. It's worth noting that the US left Hiro Hito in place despite Pearl harbor and tens of thousands of dead Americans - not to mention tens of millions of dead Asians.
As with the criminal excuse of a preventative war, this was a foolish act to do, for one crucial reason: it sets a precedent.
If at some point in the future, some major power or powerful alliance decides to wage war of aggression against the US, if in the future some superpower (probably occupying part of the US) decides to go and kill the last US president, the American citizens will just have to shut up, suffer and bow down, because they will have brought it upon their heads.
Right now, there is only one single way of washing away this sin, and this way is to physically cleanse the land from the fucking GOP warmongers and all their neo-con buddies. Shoot them all, legally, illegally, by revolution or through due legal process, at the end of the day it won't matter for the rest of the world. The only thing that matters for mankind is to know if the American people has the guts to kill Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Lieberman, Wolfowitz, Bremer and the rest of the gang - as well as the nuttiest military commanders.
Not doing it won't make USA a far worse country than the average nation and people, but it's only by watering the tree of liberty with the blood of homegrown tyrants that it will be able to claim to be a beacon and a light to the world. Until then, it'll just be another shithole amongst hunders of shitholes.

Of course, Saddam's death per se doesn't pain me, but the timing is a blatant provocation towards Muslims, and the way it's done is a complete joke in the best Stalinist fashion. Beside, with far more US than Iraqi soldiers in Iraq itself, one can easily argue that Iraq is still technically occupied, and therefore under US responsibility - killing the former head of state during occupation is the kind of things that is considered quite illegal, to say the less.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 30 2006 13:13 utc | 16

He was tried and hanged for the deaths of 148 people. What is the proper penalty for those who are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands?

Posted by: hopping madbunny | Dec 30 2006 13:34 utc | 17

i think your comment is worthy of an award CL

Posted by: annie | Dec 30 2006 13:37 utc | 18

shit, that's what i get for staying up all night to sleep on the plane.

cough, clueless joe, my last post was for you.

Posted by: annie | Dec 30 2006 13:39 utc | 19

The day the International Community did not condemn the US invasion; the day the International Community did not insist that International Law be applied to Iraq; the day the International Community let the Americans write a new Constitution; the day ...etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 30 2006 13:59 utc | 20

Seeing Bush, Cheney, et al go through the US legal system would be a good thing, and I sympathize a lot with Clueless Joe's Hirohito comparison. That comparison, in combination with the basic moral ugliness of wanting people dead absent self defense and the legal ugliness of involving your own head of state in that, leads me to wish I wasn't hearing certain things here. Can we agree that seeing the gang out of office and on trial would be proof of some moral (and pragmatic) progress for the US? Given that, the hanging that people are salivating over would be as much an ineffectual spasm of death-fetishism (from above), and likely elevator to martyr status (he does have plenty of followers still, many who see Jesus in him), as what happened last night.

Posted by: anon | Dec 30 2006 14:31 utc | 21

Helena Cobban has a thought-provoking post up about the execution, and it has also drawn some interesting comments that are worth reading. It's hard to do this post justice in an excerpt, but I guess the key point is this one:

In addition, it perpetuates the myth that if we can just kill enough of our enemies, then all our problems will be solved. No. Killing people whose acts we hate will never solve our problems. Finding ways to prevent them from carrying out such acts is the only thing that will; and there are many, many ways of achieving that. Very lengthy prison sentences is one way. Persuading these people to stop stop committing such acts and joining with us in building a better social order is even better...

I could not agree more. In my view, killing others rarely if ever solves social problems. Instead, it only inspires hatred and desire for revenge. Above all, the events of the past six years have profoundly disheartened me in that much of what humankind had seemed to be achieving in terms of rising above this barbaric way of achieving political ends has just massively and irreparably unravelled. The result is so predictable: We see more and more nations wanting to equip themselves with nuclear weapons since violence is just on the rampage everywhere. I think if we had some kind of scale to rate "civilized" existence vs "barbaric," and we did a study of the events of each year to see where the world shook out in terms of dealing with problems in a more "civilized" and less "barbaric" way, we would find that in each of the past six years, we have seen an unprecedented amount of increase in the barbaric methods (ie, using pure force to achieve desired ends) at the expense of the civilized ones (ie, preserving order and achieving political goals by virtue of the rule of law, dialogue and compromise, inclusivity rather than exclusivity, and striving to protect the needs and rights of all rather than the advantage of a few). My sense is that if we had such a scale and could do such a study, we would find that humankind has regressed several centuries in just the past six years -- a regression that I fear will not easily be undone.

Really, it all comes down to that one sentence again: "You are either with us or against us." Thinking about this yet again, it strikes me how narcissistic that worldview is. There is only US in that statement, there is no YOU or WE. When an individual, leader, group, society, or nation adopts this outlook, there is in fact no possibility for compromise, and pure violence is just a matter of time. There is no room in that statement for the possibility that the "other" might have a different set of needs, a different identity, and different way of looking at the world. I am not talking now obviously about the Saddam execution in particular or about the issue of the death penalty in general. Rather I am talking about the outlook taken by those in power as they strive to meet their own nation's needs. If they have such a black and white outlook as that expressed above (which was the attitude the Bush Administration expressed right after 9/11 and has adhered to ever since), if they cannot ever see the "other" has possibly having needs that might conflict with ours but nonetheless be legitimate and worthy of listening to and seeking redress for -- if we do not allow for that possibility that we are all in this together and that security for one means security for all -- well then, the law of the jungle is really truly the only possible eventual outcome.

I am not sure how I got here from where I started, but I will post this comment anyway since it seems worthy of sharing.

Posted by: Bea | Dec 30 2006 15:05 utc | 22

the outlook taken by those in power as they strive to meet their own nation's needs

You don't need to look further to understand why we're in deep trouble.
As long as people, first of all leaders, will consider their nation's interests as being the main interests, instead of the Earth's interests, mankind's interests, we're in a world of pain.
As an aside, each nation has a lot of scumbags and crooks, so better deal with our own local scum before annoying other countries - because otherwise, our nation's interests will in good part means our scumbags' interests.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 30 2006 15:19 utc | 23

Thanks Monolycus for the link - that was a fast set up of that wikipage.

And a good trip for those travelling to Hamburg. I wish I could have made it, but had to set other priorities. Well, next time maybe.

Posted by: Fran | Dec 30 2006 15:26 utc | 24

@Bea (#22)

Glad you did post it... and I welcome the ramble. I wrote a pretty lengthy ramble prior to my #11 (which was the punchline, but without the links and supporting arguments, it now just seems a non sequitur), but Typepad told me that they decided it was spam and wouldn't post it.

The gist of my supporting arguments were in line with your second paragraph (namely, "...we would find that humankind has regressed several centuries in just the past six years"). Killing our enemies... and the glee with which some folk on the righter end of the blogosphere are greeting this with.. is positively medieval. I suspect their Abu Ghraib war porn or humiliating pictures of Hussein in his underwear while in US custody were getting stale for them. Combine that with the arguments against stem cell research, the desire to teach creationism in public schools, or even their petulance against the science of geology (they apparently want Noah's Flood to be the party line from the ranger staff at the Grand Canyon)... and you are dealing with a fundamentalism every bit as atavistic as they claim would come from a new Islamic caliphate. I suspect the Christian version is more stagnant since it was the Islamic world with the more scientific bent during the Middle Ages.

The hypocrisy is just becoming more and more blatant all the time.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 30 2006 15:29 utc | 25

Shakespeare had Hamlet make the comment about everyone deserving to be whipped.

Posted by: American | Dec 30 2006 15:37 utc | 26

Bea (22), yes. Unfortunately.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 30 2006 16:10 utc | 27

the orgy of celebration by the americans & their minor partners - the shia & kurds who are pimping their pornographic display of dread - on the targeted assassination of saddam hussein - yet another 'milestone' in the sordid scenes of an empire falling apart but not knowing it

the empire imagines itself mighty but the scenes from this morning prove beyond any question how small it actually is

they accuse saddam of being a gangster but these men & their administration & all their puppets & valets are punks

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 30 2006 21:19 utc | 28

Great! Three years of war, hundreds of thousands dead, billions spent, and all we get is a stupid corpse.

Posted by: BroD | Dec 30 2006 21:38 utc | 29

There is a weird convergence of melancholoy with the hanging of Saddam Hussein -- that seems endemic to the american experience. There is this this homegrown predilecton to personify the "enemy" with a personage, and so with Saddam he was embellished and inflated into something enormous. In their adolecsent haste, Saddam became an otherworldly construction of half truths, lies, and innuendo characterized as an ominous "gathering" and "eminent" personalthreat, ment to strike fear into the heart of america.

And of course, it all worked like a charm, except.

That through the course of the next four years of consequence, the demonization of Saddam have been unmasked layer by layer, revealed in his final hours of of a behind the scenes, without fanfair, and hastily arranged hanging -- to have been largely reduced to a nothing event. A barely audible and tiny "snap" of Saddams neck into the dustbin of history.

But what in the aftermath is the afterbirth of his death, that will continue to reverberate throughout the world as a great fallacy of america -- the mythos of which will have been established in the facts of its actions, as opposed to its imaginations. The unmasking of Saddam has led to the unmasking of america.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 30 2006 22:47 utc | 30

when the americans murdered saddam hussein this morning - they were not murdering a tyrant - they were trying once again to rip out the heart of the arab people & an idea of the arab nation

when suharto - that murderous motherfucker - whose corrupt reign of power included the murder of millions of people the u s did not lift one finger to alleviate the suffering of the indonesian people - on the contrary it did everything to keep suharto alive to the last breath

that cruel clown pinochet along with videla, somoza, strossner & the other monster the u s created in latin america to stomp on the sentiment, any sentiment of self determination they did not care one breath for the suffering of the latin american people

in africa, where from mobutu to de klerk - they created monsters of a magnitude that it is hard to imagine - tho it is not that hard to imagine - brutes, thugs, monsters, common croooks who bought & sold their peoples lives as if they were nothing, who murdered whole swathes with the direct support of successive administrations of the u s

the diems, the thieus, the marcos's, the ky's - the whole south east asian continent riddled with the disease of murder directed from the state dept of the those united states

in europe one gangster after another - andreotti, berlusconi, kohl - petit valets who passed through successive parliaments of england who were already in the pocket of rupert murdoch

i do not feel sentimental for the man - tho i find his eyes extraordinary - even in facing death - but there in his face i saw a part of a nation trying to give birth - but not the kind of birth that that dinasour condoleeza rice imagined but quite another

in his eyes i see the arab nation giving birth - & the way that that nation can say no convincingly not only in iraq but in lebanon, the occupied territories, egypt & elsewhere is because of this man

were there crimes in that creation - yes there were - no nation exists in & of itself - but the crimes of a saddam hussein were as light as a feather as compared to mountains of human flesh the united states have created in our century - & in this there are only the paralllels of nazi germany & of the soviet union under josef stalin

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 31 2006 0:40 utc | 31

Great overview, rememberinggiap.

What was shown on the BBC news, and the story in the NY Times, indicate that Saddam was fearless to the end, with an immense amount of dignity.

There is a good story from the Indian point of view, in "Don't cry for him, Iraq" from India Times - some important points including what most readers know already:

And, in the early '80s, he made the huge tactical error of trusting the Americans on the issues of the Middle East. The US backed Hussein in his eight-year-long war against Islamist Iran. The American ambassador to Iraq gave him a clear go-ahead for invading Kuwait.

And when he did so, the Americans moved in on him to neutralise him. With the war with Iran over, Hussein was no longer useful to the US. The invasion of Kuwait was the beginning of the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: Owl | Dec 31 2006 2:48 utc | 32

none of which was mentioned on Global infotainment during the 'eulogy' it ran last night. they also said US aid ended when the US learned he gassed people (unmentioned with goods the US sold to him). is this so?

Happy New Year everybody.

Posted by: gmac | Dec 31 2006 11:43 utc | 33

i answered my own question rather easily. why expect any kind of honesty from a channel that regularly runs 'news' items about miracles

Posted by: gmac | Dec 31 2006 11:49 utc | 34

This is the best comment I have read on the execution.

Now about 35 years separate us from the Vietnam war which is more than Vietnam-WW2 time lag! Also, WW2 ended 60+ years ago which is slightly more than Vietnam-WW1 time lag. This simple comparison alone gives a simple explanation for the huge gap between the modern neoconservative and LBJ/Nixon/Ford mentality. Basically, what happens is that neoconservative foreign policy makers simulate the cold war rhetoric about global struggle without any particular understanding of what WW1, WW2 and the cold war were really about.

Recent execution of Saddam Hussein is one stunning example of this historical amnesia. Back in the post-WW2 period, it was perfectly clear that public execution of a major political rival by the right of the winner is easy. The really difficult part is dealing with the consequences. Sure, if another side is serious about its goals, they are not going to be intimidated by symbolic moves like this. Symmetric response by counter-executions is just one of many options, the problem is, there are lots of unpredictable asymmetric responses that can be expected when the conflict will inevitably escalate.

From this prospective, celebration of Hussein's execution as a "milestone on the road to the Iraqi democracy" could not look more sinister. Not only the neocons miss the actual historical prospective, they also completely ignore the simple fact that Hussein was a mortal enemy of the Khomeinists with whom, unlike with Israel, he fought for real, not symbolically - and with great physical damage. So, there is little doubt that they will take full advantage of his execution. It is hard to imagine that responsible post-WW2 decision-maker would fail to notice subtle side effects like this one, but make no mistake, for the neocons this logic is pure gibberish.

Sure, nobody in the ME takes Saddam's hanging as anything else than pure revenge, but this is still not the whole story. What is worse, religious radicals must take execution of Saddam as a militaristic ritual sacrifice of the sort we know from the Greek mythology. Only Hussein's close followers are going to mourn his death, but religious revolutionaries know better than anybody else how to respond to the symbolic moves of this kind - it is exactly their area of expertise. So, if Saddam's execution is a milestone of any kind, it is a milestone on the road to even more vicious religious warfare.

Public human sacrifices and their celebrations were not part of essentially secular Vietnam conflict, the neocons together with their Islamist rivals own a copyright for this unfortunate innovation. Now we all are going to learn the hard way the price of their experimentation in ideological engineering.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Dec 31 2006 11:53 utc | 35

'He is already history'In this remarkable dispatch, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, one of the few journalists who can still move freely about Baghdad, watches the execution with Sunni insurgents

'They killed him, is that possible?' Abu Hamza, a muscled Sunni insurgent in his early thirties asked in disbelief. 'I still can't believe it,' he continued, resting his head on his palm. The TV channel repeated the scenes many times, cut before the actual execution moment and followed by television scenes of jubilant Shia men and boys dancing, accompanied by patriotic songs. 'Those Shia, they killed him on the day of the Eid just to humiliate us,' said Abu Hamza.

Abu A'isha, a mid-level commander of an insurgency group in west Baghdad, short, stout, in his forties and dressed in a blue tracksuit, was more calm. 'It's better for the jihad,' he explained. 'Every time the mujahideen do an operation they say it's the people of Saddam. Where is Saddam now? Let's see if his death will affect the jihad. Of course it won't.' He added: 'The resistance is led by the Islamists, and we don't love Saddam. It's good that he is out of the picture. Now things will be clearer.

Posted by: b | Dec 31 2006 12:07 utc | 36

Very very interesting few posts up at missing links about the timing of the Saddam execution and its broader, ominous implications.

A Saudi view: Saddam execution signals Iranian hegemony in Iraq

These analysts, says the reporter think that "a new chapter in the sporatic Iran-Saudi battle has opened today (Saturday December 30) with the execution of Saddam in the early hours of the Eid al-Adha, in the face of Iraqi law that prohibits the carrying out of executions during the Eid, while the Shiite Eid al-Adha starts tomorrow (Sunday December 31), something that leads these analysts to see a "sectarian thread" in the timing of the execution." (Eid al-Adha begins on the tenth day of the lunar month of Dhul Hijja, and for some reason the official Sunni and Shiite determinations of this are a day apart this year).

2006: The year secular nationalism handed the anti-colonialism torch to jihadi Islam

If 1996 was the year of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the communist regimes that depended on it, 2006 deserves to go down in history as the year secular Arab nationalism finally passed away, after a lengthy struggle with illness, overcome by Islamist ideology which during the year cemented its control over the whole region, and was finally joined by the remnants of the Communist and the Arabist movements that had earlier been competing ideologies in this matter of opposing Western colonialism.

Both posts are important and insightful.

Posted by: Bea | Dec 31 2006 14:13 utc | 37

Juan Cole's take on the execution (in Salon) include this useful insight:

One thing is certain: The trial and execution of Saddam were about revenge, not justice. Instead of promoting national reconciliation, this act of revenge helped Saddam portray himself one last time as a symbol of Sunni Arab resistance, and became one more incitement to sectarian warfare.

And this:

The tribunal also had a unique sense of timing when choosing the day for Saddam's hanging. It was a slap in the face to Sunni Arabs. This weekend marks Eid al-Adha, the Holy Day of Sacrifice, on which Muslims commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for God. Shiites celebrate it Sunday. Sunnis celebrate it Saturday –- and Iraqi law forbids executing the condemned on a major holiday. Hanging Saddam on Saturday was perceived by Sunni Arabs as the act of a Shiite government that had accepted the Shiite ritual calendar.

The timing also allowed Saddam, in his farewell address to Iraq, to pose as a “sacrifice” for his nation, an explicit reference to Eid al-Adha. The tribunal had given the old secular nationalist the chance to use religious language to play on the sympathies of the whole Iraqi public.

The political ineptitude of the tribunal, from start to finish, was astonishing. The United States and its Iraqi allies basically gave Saddam a platform on which to make himself a martyr to Iraqi unity and independence -- even if by unity and independence Saddam was really appealing to Sunnis' nostalgia for their days of hegemony.

Posted by: Bea | Dec 31 2006 14:59 utc | 38


the documentary i saw was on al jazeera - i think it was excerpted on their 'witness' programme - but i imagine from tommorrow al jazeera is establing another channel called al jazeera documentary (combined with their international festival of documentary film there will be some treasures)

a minor dissapointment with their international - with their coverage of the murder of saddam hussein - so desiring to appear moderate that sometimes it differed little from other media

then i reflected, really - the morons & cretins who write, appear, direct or produce either the western press in all its diabolical configurations - they are just getting dumber & dumber & their writing in service of their masters has not even the quality of doggerel

& that is my promise to myself to stay as far away from their cretinous carving & their hollow howling & just read here & the links which are more than sufficient

Posted by: r'giap | Dec 31 2006 17:59 utc | 39

"Presidential prayer team": Give thanks that Saddam was executed!

Posted by: the Ghost of Saddam Hussein | Dec 31 2006 23:15 utc | 40

MoA is really a place of enlightment..!

I've been a regular reader and I'd like to thank you all for sharing your insights and wish you a gentle 2007 (at least, at personal level).

...oh, yeah: billmon, you rule!
:....thanxs a lot for being (t)here!

Posted by: rudolf | Jan 1 2007 2:28 utc | 41

I'm sorry if my comment was off-topic.
But all the 40 commentaries were worth worth reading.

Posted by: rudolf | Jan 1 2007 3:09 utc | 42

Now it turns out that just prior to his execution, some members of the crowd shouted pro-Muqtada Sadr slogans, telling SH to go to hell.

This is the Maliki government which Our Great Leader is about to send some 30K Americans to the Iraqi meat-grinder to, to..... um, I don't know. Apparently, Maliki can't even organize a hanging and giving it at least an appearance of legal justice. Instead, it looked like a Shi'ite necktie party. Well, I guess that means that we will have to send even more Americans and spend more treasury to teach the Iraqis about good old Texas-, er, I mean, American-style justice. Well, if American oil companies can get decent PSAs (profit-sharing agreements), at least our corporations will make some good money out of the deal.

Now that we are so low in number of conscripts, maybe the white supremacists in our armed forces can practice their lynching skills in Iraq. You know, they haven't had those kinds of parties in the US for a while...Well, at least they are good conservatives, and it will keep them away from farm animals for a while.

And all that while we are teaching Iran a lesson...

2007 is going to be a tough year...

Posted by: Chris Marlowe | Jan 1 2007 3:45 utc | 43

Pretty prescient party of posters we have here. I spotted this guy twice already myself (numbers 4 and 40, above).

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 1 2007 7:57 utc | 44

The ghost of Saddam will most surely take up residence within his nemesis, his longstanding relationship with the united states. I told a friend before the war started, that (thinking Saddam would be killed in the invasion) that Saddam's hand would rise from the grave and stab George Bush in the back, after they would have not found any WMD.
While things did'nt play out exactly in this way, in that the american public were not so willing to hold their president accountable, and that Saddam was captured and put on trial instead of being killed in the invasion.
Nonetheless, what has come to pass is in fact far worse for the U.S. than if my initial, simplistic, prediction had actually happened. Because what has happened, in the choreography of Saddam's deconstruction -- from the much ballyhooed capture, through the judicial marx bros. trial, to the tawdry execution itself -- is far more a revelation, and a deconstruction in itself, of the true intentions of the united states. Which as no suprise, has allowed its own high ideals of secular democracy, to be washed in the same mafia sectarian blood as Saddam himself indulged in, but failing, obviously, to find the fruits of nationalism -- that made Saddam famous, and the leader of Iraq. Its not that Saddam was more than he was, as he was indeed a despot, and in his last moments an acknowledged mafioso willing to live by the gun and willing to die by the gun, in the same circumstances as those that died at his own hand. In a decrepit anonymous crypt of a place by zealots hungry for his blood. Nothing less than a political Lynching orchestrated by the sanctimonious bringers of freedom and the rule of law. Early 20th century texas lynch mob justice at best.
And so the U.S. has nothing to offer above the lowest common demonenator routine gutter sectarian vision -- without the the benifit of nationalism -- a lesser Saddam in fact.
All of which liberates the ghost of Saddam, as martyred and shorn of his evil, which has taken roost on the perpetraitors.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 1 2007 11:23 utc | 45


A Lynching

Posted by: n/a | Jan 1 2007 11:37 utc | 46

This, kinda goes along with Chris Marlowe's above #43...

U.S., Iran praise execution of Saddam What strange bedfellows eh?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 1 2007 11:55 utc | 47

re the ghost's comment @ 40

is that some weird crap or what?

who comes up with this stuff?

can you imagine all those pious people gravely bowing their heads and thanking the Lord for hanging SH?

you can't make this shit up

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 1 2007 13:17 utc | 48

NYT: Rush to Hanging Questioned

And two trenchant commentaries that on this piece:

Chris Floyd CYA for the USA: The Coverup of Complicity Continues

But in this particular case, they did have control of events – because they had literal, physical control of Saddam's body. (A control they continued to exercise after the execution, by the way, transporting the corpse to its resting place by an American helicopter. It seems the "sovereignty" of the Iraqi government in this case lasted only for the brief time it took for the hanging.) Saddam could not have been hanged by the Maliki government if the Americans had not physically turned him over to the executioners, who did their work under American auspices, on an American base. If U.S. officials – those with any real power, that is – had had genuine concerns about the timing of the execution, they could have simply refused to turn Saddam over until, say, after Eid or at some other point. What could Maliki have done about it? Nothing.

The fact is, the leaders of the Bush Administration wanted Saddam dead, sooner rather than later. So they let Maliki kill him. They are doubtless glad to let Maliki take the heat for the botchery – thus the insultingly crude stories about Bush and his gang wringing their hands and whimpering, goodness gracious me, we didn't want it to happen this way, but what we could do? That big bad Maliki threw his weight around, and we had to give in.

Glenn Greenwald Iraqis Learn the Art of "Legal Workarounds"

We can't even get a hanging right. With all of the world watching, we yet again were the primary authors of a violent, uncivilized, and primitive act which -- no matter how justified in some ultimate moral sense -- was carried out in the most thuggish, wretched, inept, and (we now learn) patently illegal manner.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 1 2007 14:29 utc | 49

Robert Parry:
Bush Silences a Dangerous Witness

But a more powerful motive was always Hussein’s potential threat to the Bush Family legacy if he ever had a forum where he could offer detailed testimony about the historic events of the past several decades.

Since stepping into the White House on Jan. 20, 2001, George W. Bush has made it a top priority to conceal the history of his father’s 12 years as Vice President and President and to wrap his own presidency in a thick cloak of secrecy.

One of Bush’s first acts as President was to sign an executive order that blocked the scheduled release of historic records from his father’s years. After the 9/11 attacks, Bush expanded his secrecy mandate to grant his family the power to withhold those documents from the American public in perpetuity, passing down the authority to keep the secrets to future Bush generations.

So, even after George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are dead, those noted historians Jenna and Barbara Bush will control key government documents covering a 20-year swath of U.S. history.

Already, every document at the George H.W. Bush presidential library must not only be cleared for release by specialists at the National Archives and – if classified – by the affected agencies, but also by the personal representatives of both the senior and junior George Bush....

Still, even with Hussein’s execution, there are actions that the American people can take to finally recover the lost history of the 1980s....

But the singular figure who could have put the era in its fullest perspective – and provided the most damning evidence about the Bush Family’s role – has been silenced for good, dropped through a trap door of a gallows and made to twitch at the end of a noose fashioned from hemp.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 1 2007 14:39 utc | 50

@dan of steele RE # 48

you can't make this shit up...

Oh yeah? You don't know the half of it, you most certainly can make this shit up, because that is exactly what they do, behold:

Chris Hedges: America’s Holy Warriors

The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement. This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy.

During the past two years I traveled across the country to research and write the book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” I repeatedly listened to radical preachers attack as corrupt and godless most American institutions, from federal agencies that provide housing and social welfare to public schools and the media. But there were two institutions that never came under attack—the military and law enforcement. While these preachers had no interest in communicating with local leaders of other faiths, or those in the community who did not subscribe to their call for a radical Christian state, they assiduously courted and flattered the military and police. They held special services and appreciation days for all four branches of the armed services and for various law enforcement agencies. They encouraged their young men and women to enlist or to join the police or state troopers. They sought out sympathetic military and police officials to attend church events where these officials were lauded and feted for their Christian probity and patriotism. They painted the war in Iraq not as an occupation but as an apocalyptic battle by Christians against Islam, a religion they regularly branded as “satanic.” All this befits a movement whose final aesthetic is violence. It also befits a movement that, in the end, would need the military and police forces to seize power in American society.

One of the arguments used to assuage our fears that the mass movement being built by the Christian right is fascist at its core is that it has not yet created a Praetorian Guard, referring to the paramilitary force that defied legal constraints, made violence part of the political discourse and eventually plunged ancient Rome into tyranny and despotism. A paramilitary force that operates outside the law, one that sows fear among potential opponents and is capable of physically silencing those branded by their leaders as traitors, is a vital instrument in the hands of despotic movements. Communist and fascist movements during the last century each built paramilitary forces that operated beyond the reach of the law.

And yet we may be further down this road than we care to admit. Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm that has built a formidable mercenary force in Iraq, champions his company as a patriotic extension of the U.S. military. His employees, in an act as cynical as it is deceitful, take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution. These mercenary units in Iraq, including Blackwater, contain some 20,000 fighters. They unleash indiscriminate and wanton violence against unarmed Iraqis, have no accountability and are beyond the reach of legitimate authority. The appearance of these paramilitary fighters, heavily armed and wearing their trademark black uniforms, patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave us a grim taste of the future. It was a stark reminder that the tyranny we impose on others we will one day impose on ourselves.

Oh, this rabbit hole is very deep, read on...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 1 2007 15:11 utc | 51


It may not be as dire as it sounds though it is already bad. The prayer breakfasts have been going on for some time and are not necessarily fundie in nature. There are some very vocal opponents to this policy as witnessed by Jewish chaplains getting airtime to present their grievances. what you may not know is that there is a significant Mormon presence in the Air Force (that I know of anyway, can't speak to the presence of same in other services)

but, all things considered, is this really something new or even something to fret about? we humans have an interesting habit of idolizing our masters and the enforcers of the masters too.

I would think the lack of accountability of Blackwell and all the others is a much larger problem and solvable.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 1 2007 16:20 utc | 52

Back on topic...

Execution Video Meant to Cause Shia-Sunni Conflict

The so called “leaking” of the videotape of hanging of Saddam and the dialogue that was exchanged between Saddam’s executioners, handpicked by Americans, was a deliberate act meant to create a backlash amongst Muslims and a Shia-Sunni conflict in the Muslim world.

Also see, How one mobile phone made Saddam's hanging a very public execution

I think this was intentional. Watching the cell phone movie of the lynching, it is clear the person holding the cell camera was making no effort to hide it. Yet no guards came over to ask them to put the camera away. I think the leak of the video was done by the direction of either the US or Iraqi government to get the imagery out there but without appearing to officially condone the release themselves.

Finally, the Baltimore Chronicle finds a voice...?

Americans Want a Rapid Exit from Iraq but Elected Leaders Aren’t Even Considering It

Ending the occupation will reduce violence, immediately save more than $100 billion and respect the wishes of the American people. Why is Washington, DC ignoring the obvious?

It's a bit to late for that isn't it? I mean the M$M sqeaking out a tiny question, WHEN WE KNOW THE GODDAMNED ANSWER.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 1 2007 16:20 utc | 53

Child dies while imitating Saddam's hanging

Multan, Pakistan - A young boy who tried to copy hanging scenes from the execution video of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein died in central Pakistan, police said on Monday.

Mubashar Ali, 9, hanged himself, while re-enacting Hussein's hanging with the help of elder sister, 10, after tying a rope to a ceiling fan and his neck in his home in Rahim Yar Khan district Sunday, a local police official said.

The father of the deceased boy said that his children had been watching the video of Saddam Hussein's execution on television and attempted to imitate the hanging as other family members thought they were playing in another room.

"My wife and sister rushed to rescue Mubashar when children cried for help from the adjoining room, but he died due to hanging," Alamgir Paracha, father of Mubashar, told reporters.

Police said that the death was accidental, but a case of parental negligence has been opened

"It was an accident which happened due to carelessness of parents," district police chief Sultan Ahmad told reporters.

Images of the fallen Iraqi dictator with a noose around his neck, surrounded by executioners in balaclavas, were repeatedly telecast by Pakistani television channels at the weekend.

Commentators and the media across Europe had expressed shock and unease Sunday at graphic television pictures showing the last moments of Hussein just before his execution. - Sapa-AFP

@dan of steele

I beg to differ, I think it is much more dire than it sounds, the Blackwater, Poindexter Darpa Gutmenschen types are all following the same script at home and abroad their neo malthusian theory has been on the attack, -stealthily I might add- with the aged old 'divide and conquer' for nearly a decade if not longer, from supporting the 'promise keepers' to the Opus Dei, and the National Association of Evangelicals, from evolution no longer being eligible for federal funding in our public schools to George Bush banning funding for human embryonic stem cell research, to institutions such as the National Park Service now claiming that Noah's Flood is responsible for the Grand Canyon, on and on... The structural trauma of historical emplotment and narrative fetishism of these 'ideological warriors' using tribal memes of religion serves to objectify the past and the future right here right now. And they use religion to do it. It's been a very useful tool. If you wanted to subjugate America short of

...of a foreign army invading it with overwhelming force [boots on the ground] or nukeing it into submission, How would you do it? I submit that our greatest threat is from within-not from without. Madison stated as much in the Federalist papers.

Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception
Many neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz are disciples of a philosopher who believed that the elite should use deception, religious fervor and perpetual war to control the ignorant masses.

Re-meme-ber folks, Fascists Don't Resign; They Must Be Removed.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 1 2007 17:38 utc | 54

Raed Jarrar,
Iraqi blogger, on the execution of Saddam Hussein:

The execution scene shows some militiamen in civilian outfits covering their faces, either with black face masks or by T.V. digital blurring, holding and moving Saddam who refused, while handcuffed and shackled, to cover his face. The execution scene did not at all resemble a State execution; rather, it looked like a chaotic sectarian act of revenge interrupted by shrieking militiamen who received him from the U.S. forces less than 30 minutes before killing him.

Saddam was given the chance to look like the calm and brave leader who didn’t fear death, and who claimed to love and defend Iraq and the Islamic nation until the last second. At the same time, his executers, hiding their faces, demonstrated themselves as vengeful thugs supported by the occupation and representing only their political party and sects.

It takes a lot of stupidity to lose moral authority to a former dictator with a noose around his neck. It takes a lot of stupidity to turn Saddam's execution to an event dividing Iraqis furthermore instead of uniting them. It takes a lot to turn Saddam from a former dictator to a symbol of resistance and pride. I can go as far as comparing this to how much stupidity and hard work John Kerry put into losing the elections to an inept president like Bush.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 1 2007 18:36 utc | 55

Summary of Iraqi bloggers' perspectives on the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Very interesting.

h/t Helena Cobban

Posted by: Bea | Jan 1 2007 18:39 utc | 56

let me be quite clear. charging saddam hussein for war crimes - under the circumstances - is either quite insane or a form of a crude & cruel joke

the monsters who have soiled the lives & dreams of people throughout the world either died in their bed or in miami - which might be the same thing

& while saddam hussein's gouvernance might have been cruel there are governors & senators in those untied states with blood on their hands every bit as dirty

the circumstances of his murder is that a sovereign country has been invaded & occupied. like vichy before it - the puppet govt that resides in the green zone or in the cellars where mass murders are taking place - have no moral authority to judge anyone - let alone saddam hussein

& while i understand that iraqi bloggers seem glad to see the man go - there is no hint that the manner of his going was as obscene & as immoral as the initial invasion

it seems quite clear what the 'arab street' reads in this crude act of murder - a calculated insult at not only the arab people & nation but also their faith

let us be even cruder - the western media paraded this murder as - animals killing animals - & that is exactly why those west do not care for the daily holocaust that is the life & death of the palestinian people, why they do not care whether this or that arab in lebanon dies a death under the bombs - made in the u s a

that is why the west counts - every one of their deaths - but an arab's life means nothing at all - even if he is a leader of thir people

let's loook closer, every arab leader this century who has had his people in their hearts is according to the west : a fascist, a nazi, a tyrant, a despot, a madman etc etc ad infinitum

when the valets of the empire & their thugs speak of morality, of authority - it is all that i can do to not spew it right back at them

Posted by: r'giap | Jan 1 2007 19:01 utc | 57

an arab's life means nothing at all - even if he is a leader of thir people

It saddens me terribly to say that I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. We see evidence of this every day.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 1 2007 19:05 utc | 58

The Chris Floyd account, CYA for the USA: The Coverup of Complicity Continues, on the hanging is good. The NYT piece he links to has some spin, but also some nuggets. Read it ...

Posted by: fauxreal 2007 | Jan 2 2007 1:35 utc | 59

upps - the above was was me, b, not fauxreal 2007. I guess she was on this machine before I post the above ...

Posted by: b | Jan 2 2007 1:49 utc | 60

Riverbend posted on a lynching...

I could not watch it myself, and I did not know about the reporting on his last words. But apparently CNN reported his last words as "Muqtada Al-Sadr". Riverbend debunks this and manages to convey the slovenly horror the whole spectacle portends.

Posted by: citizen | Jan 2 2007 7:14 utc | 61

@ r' giap - eloquence and clarity like sparks of sharp crystal.

I've only a couple mundane links to add at the periphery.>"Sgt. York" posted at Pat Lang's site:

S.H. was captured by the US Military and was in US Military custody. He should have been given POW status according to the GC. . . . The US had the option to try him for crimes against the US (not sure what those are) or to turn him over to the Hague for crimes against humanity.>Wayne Madsden on US govt interest in silencing S.H.

Saddam Hussein's willingness to provide the Western media with documents and other evidence of the connivance of George H. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Frank Carlucci, and other Reagan-Bush administration principals was made apparent to this editor in the months preceding the March 2003 American attack on Iraq. A senior Iraqi official contacted a British colleague of this editor and passed on a personal offer. . . Saddam, aware that George W. Bush was going to attack Iraq, ordered his intelligence service to gather up all incriminating evidence that would show the world that Iraq's past "weapons of mass destruction" were provided by the Reagan and Bush I administrations.

There was one slight hitch. Having such incriminating evidence would have likely made any "enterprising" Western journalist an inviting target for a number of bad actors the moment that journalist crossed into Jordanian territory from Iraq.

Whatever the nature of Saddam's knowledge of US covert actions, likely broader than WMD alone, it was certainly more than the US govt wanted spilling out in an open courtroom. A variation on the Noriega model?

Posted by: small coke | Jan 2 2007 13:10 utc | 62

ynet">,7340,L-3349346,00.html">ynet reports that saddam's lawyer Bushra al-Khalil will request that his body be exhumed on the grounds that it was abused by the executioners. they will also use the controversies surrounding the execution to delay the execution of his half brother and the head of iraq's revolutionary court,demanding that Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar not be handed to the Iraqi authorities until an investigation into Saddam's execution is completed.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 7 2007 21:11 utc | 63

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