Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

December 30, 2006

Saddam is Dead

Above is footage of Saddam being sentenced to death by hanging last November 5 as reported by the BBC. As I write this, CNN International is repeatedly showing actual footage of Saddam in a long black jacket seconds before his execution, from the point where he was walked to the gallows and the noose put around his neck. The actual hanging wasn't shown but it was still a horrible thing to see. A photo of his dead body followed, wrapped in a white sheet with only his face exposed.

The sentence has been carried out shortly after 6:00 a.m. Baghdad time. Reports from the A.P., BBC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Reuters.

Bush called the execution a "milestone" but acknowledged it won't end the violence in Iraq. Reaction from world governments here.

Reactions in the blogosphere, with the best one I've read from Josh Marshall:

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur -- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us. [...]

These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it -- defined by it -- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off -- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!' [...]

Marty Peretz, with some sort of projection, calls any attempt to rain on this parade "prissy and finicky." Myself, I just find it embarrassing. This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.
From Brad Friedman:

"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," one of Hussein's attorneys points out, according to AP, apparently without even a hint of irony.

The oxymoron aside, for our part, we don't have much to say about all of this, other than how brutally disgusting it is, how Osama still runs free, how well more than the number of American's killed on 9/11 have now been killed in Bush's appalling revenge plot on behalf of his father, and how neither Americans in general, nor certainly the troops on the ground, are any safer due to Bush's appalling failure as a U.S. "President". [...]

For George W. Bush, however, who lives in the safe confines of his well protected mobile bunker, his presiding over this barbaric ending to the life of a barbaric man, is ultimately just another shameful chapter in an already tragic-beyond-description tale.

Congratulations and Happy New Year, Mr. Bush. You got your man.
From Michael J.W. Stickings:

I am disgusted. I am ashamed. I am appalled. I am saddened.

We, too, are barbarians.[...]

This is a horrendous development.

Iraq may officially be carrying out Saddam's execution, but do not be fooled. The U.S. is responsible for this. The U.S. is allowing this to happen. To the extent that Iraq is involved, it is vengeance, not justice. And vengeance of this kind, even vengeance directed at a former tyrant, will not help a country torn apart by bitter and bloody sectarianism.

More blood is not the answer. Another killing is not just.

An NYT opinion piece by Kurdish neurosurgeon turned resistance fighter Najmaldin Karim calls "justice, but no reckoning" the execution of Hussein for the Dujail massacre before the second trial for the Kurdish massacre at Anfal was concluded.

That is a major question: why the rush to execute Saddam before he was tried for the Anfal campaign? Matthew Yglesias astutely points out that saving Donald Rumsfeld face -- and may I add saving the Reagan legacy from further stigma -- may be the reason, for the ugly fact is the U.S. government had a hand in creating the monster that was Saddam.

Finally, a grim assessment from Juan Cole at Salon:

In his death, as in his life, Saddam Hussein is managing to divide Iraqis and condemn them to further violence and brutality. But the Americans and the Shiite- and Kurd-dominated government bear some blame for the way they botched his trial and gave him this last opportunity to play the spoiler. [...]

But perhaps the death of Saddam, who once haunted the nightmares of a nation, will soon come to seem insignificant. In Iraq, guerrilla and criminal violence executes as many as 500 persons a day. Saddam's hanging is just one more occasion for a blood feud in a country that now has thousands of them.

posted at 2:42 AM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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