Saddam Hussein hanged; slaughter in Iraq goes on


Donald Rumsfeld meets his pal Saddam HusseinTonight, Saddam Hussein was killed by hanging in Baghdad, Iraq.

A media show was built around the killing by the US occupiers and their allies.

Not coincidentally, the execution was at about the same time as the 3,000th US soldier dying in Iraq, to take away people’s attention from that sad milestone.

Some points:

  • The death penalty is wrong in principle, so also in this case.
  • There was no fair trial to properly establish the crimes of Saddam Hussein and his associates in Iraq, in the United States, and elsewhere.

    For instance, Saddam’s 1980s crimes against Kurds in northern Iraq, partly committed with poison gas made in the USA of his then allies, were not investigated.

    He was now only sentenced for the 100+ deaths in Dujail; the results of a show trial, in many respects like his own trial.

  • All human rights organizations agree that the trial was a farce (See Comment #1 below this entry).

    The nazi criminals in 1945 in Nuremberg, whose crimes were far worse, got a fair trial.

    Unlike with Saddam’s trial, their lawyers were not murdered.

    Judges which governments may not have liked, were then not dismissed; etc.

    People like Rumsfeld, Bush, and Blair deserve a trial like in Nuremberg; not like in the Green Zone of Baghdad.

  • The war will go on.

    Like Saddam Hussein’s fall did not stop the torture in Abu Ghraib jail, quite to the contrary.

    Like Saddam Hussein’s arrest did not stop the war, quite to the contrary.

    As Saddam was hanged, US soldiers kept dying.

    As for “removing” Saddam Hussein by bloody war: why not in the same way as happened with Pinochet; the Greek colonels’ dictatorship; the Portuguese NATO fascists; Marcos in the Philippines; Mobutu in Congo; Suharto in Indonesia; apartheid in South Africa; Washington’s bloody stooges in Bolivia recently and Venezuela of the 1980s and early 1990s: by the people?

    Oh, duh, because people like Cheney and Rumsfeld supported these dictators for ages.

    Like they supported Saddam Hussein, already a CIA asset in the 1960s

    So, again, Saddam’s removal by the people, like what happened to the dictators of Indonesia, Greece, etc. would have been much better than this war with over 600,000 Iraqi dead and counting; thousands US dead and counting …

  • Today’s news:

    A 29-year-old ex-soldier who had served 12 months in Afghanistan, upset over orders to deploy to Iraq, was shot to death [by police] December 26 after a night-long standoff at a house in Maryland [USA].

    James E. Dean was notified earlier this month to report to Fort Benning, Georgia, on January 14, 2007, for service in Iraq.

    Robert Fisk on Saddam Hussein: here.

    An Iraqi Kurd, ex presiding judge in the Saddam case, on the execution: here.

    Crooks and Liars on the execution: here.

    Daily The Hindu on the execution: here.

    Richard Dawkins (see also here) on the execution: here.

    The Vatican opposes Saddam’s hanging: here.

    EU official: hanging ‘barbaric‘.

    Even Gerrit Zalm, Dutch Vice Prime Minister, of the VVD, arguably the most pro Bush party in Dutch politics, called the hanging ‘barbaric‘.

    More reactions: here.

    And here.

    Iraqi blogger Raed on the execution: here.

    And here.

    Iraqi girl blogger Riverbend on the state of Iraq now: here.

    Democracy Now! in the USA: discussion on the execution.

    One year after the hanging: here.

    Tariq Aziz, the former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, was found guilty last week and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on charges stemming from the 1992 execution of 42 businessmen accused of manipulating prices. It was yet another legal travesty in the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Court: here.

    18 thoughts on “Saddam Hussein hanged; slaughter in Iraq goes on

    1. “The test of a government’s commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders … History will judge the deeply flawed Dujail trial and this execution harshly.”
      Richard Dicker
      Director of Human Rights Watch

      “The rushed execution of Saddam Hussain is simply wrong. It signifies justice denied for countless victims who endured unspeakable suffering during his regime, and now have been denied their right to see justice served.”
      Larry Cox
      Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

      “[Brazil] does not believe carrying out this sentence will contribute to bringing peace to Iraq.”
      Brazil Foreign Ministry

      Source: http://www.gulf-news.com/region/Iraq/10093165.html

    2. *It’s a hornet’s nest. But I’m game. So why not jump in.*
      Posted by: “hapi22″ hapi22@earthlink.net robinsegg

      Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:56 am (PST)

      Whatever evil Saddam Hussein did, his trial and soon-to-occur execution
      were and are a farce, both of which have been timed for maximum domestic
      political effect here, not in Iraq.

      The trial verdict was timed for the November election and the hanging is
      timed so Bush can brag — yes, brag — about it at the State of the
      Union address.

      I am sure Bush imagines his ____ will grow an inch longer once he has
      seen to Saddam Hussein’s hanging. Boy, is he ever in for a surprise.

      BTW, have you ever noticed how much Bush has adopted the bow-legged walk
      of actual cowboys? That’s pretty hilarious since Bush is AFRAID to get
      up on, much less ride, a horse.

      Bush is a wuss, a wimp, and a scaredy cat.

      What a loser.

      I am sure Bush thinks that whoever masterminds the most deaths wins the
      macho award.

      That’s what irritates him so much about Saddam Hussein, who also killed
      a lot of people. Bush has to hurry to catch up.

      I agree with the sentiments expressed in this column.

      ———————————————————-

      *It’s a hornet’s nest. But I’m game. So why not jump in.*

      by Josh Marshall
      Talking Points memo
      Dec. 29, 2006

      “Bush administration officials” are telling CNN that Saddam Hussein will
      be hanged this weekend. Convention dictates that we precede any
      discussion of this execution with the obligatory nod to Saddam’s
      treachery, bloodthirsty rule and tyranny. But enough of the cowardly
      chatter. This thing is a sham, of a piece with the whole corrupt,
      disastrous sham that the war and occupation have been. Bush
      administration officials are the ones who leak the news about the time
      of the execution. One key reason we know Saddam’s about to be executed
      is that he’s about to be transferred from US to Iraqi custody, which
      tells you a lot. And, of course, the verdict in his trial gets timed to
      coincide with the US elections.

      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.

      Try to dress this up as an Iraqi trial and it doesn’t come close to
      cutting it — the Iraqis only take possession of him for the final act,
      sort of like the Church always left execution itself to the ‘secular
      arm’. Try pretending it’s a war crimes trial but it’s just more of the
      pretend mumbojumbo that makes this out to be World War IX or whatever
      number it is they’re up to now.

      The Iraq War has been many things, but for its prime promoters and
      cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its
      ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in
      moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren’t grand
      enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are
      great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting.

      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!’

      Marx might say that this was not tragedy but farce. But I think we need
      to get way beyond options one and two even to get close to this one –
      claptrap justice meted out to the former dictator in some puffed-up act
      of self-justification as the country itself collapses in the hands of
      the occupying army.

      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.

      What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30 or 50 years down the
      road? A signal of American power or weakness?

      Read this, with links, at:
      http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/011729.php

    3. Saddam Execution Set to Destabilise Iraq Further

      *Inter Press Service*
      Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

      *BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 (IPS) – Former dictator Saddam Hussein is due to be executed next month in a move that could bring more instability in an increasingly violent and chaotic occupation.*

      The execution is to follow a decision by a court of appeal Dec. 26 to uphold the death sentence for Saddam. Under present Iraqi law, execution must be carried out within 30 days of confirmation of the order.

      Chief judge Aref Shahin said following confirmation of the death sentence: “From tomorrow, any day could be the day of implementation.”

      Saddam is also in the midst of another trial over charges of genocide and other crimes during a 1987-1988 military crackdown on Kurds in northern Iraq. An estimated 180,000 Kurds died during the operation.

      That trial has been adjourned until Jan. 8. Saddam’s co-defendants in that case are likely to face trial if he is executed.

      Saddam was convicted last month for ordering the killing of 148 Shias in Dujail town in 1982 in revenge for an assassination attempt against him. He was sentenced to death by hanging.

      The completion of the nine-month trial that saw 39 court sessions, through which three defence lawyers and a witness were murdered, will most likely inflame Iraq’s political divide further.

      Hashim al-Ubaydi’s son was sentenced to death by a ‘revolution court’ of the Saddam regime. But he is not pleased to see that Saddam Hussein will be executed in the present circumstances.

      “I was an opponent of Saddam and his policies, but I support putting him through a real national court away from occupation influence. I cannot forgive or forget that my son was executed, but as an Iraqi nationalist I cannot accept to see the president of my country put to trial in such a ridiculous way by invaders and their tails.”

      Many Iraqi leaders say the timing of the trial and execution will enlarge the cracks between already divided Iraqis.

      The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), the leading Sunni group, whose members were listed on Saddam’s most wanted list prior to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation, has expressed deep concern about the consequences of an execution.

      AMS secretary-general Dr. Harith al-Dhari rejects suggestions that Saddam was a leader of Sunnis. He says 35 of the 55 most wanted persons by U.S. occupation authorities following the invasion were Shias.

      Confirmation of the verdict has given rise to celebrations as well.

      Some say the execution should be made a festive occasion. “Saddam must be executed at the first day of Eid (the Muslim Holiday),” a leader of the Shia Sadr Movement told reporters. “We demand live broadcast of the execution.”

      Others will not be celebrating even within Kurdistan. “I hate Saddam and always wished him the death he deserved for his attitude against my Kurdish nation,” Sardar Herki from Sulaymaniya in northern Iraq told IPS on phone. “I still wish him death — but together with his successors who killed half the population of Iraq and arrested the other half.”

      Compared with the present scenario, many Iraqis have begun to see the Saddam days as a “golden time”, a political science teacher told IPS. A report in the medical journal Lancet says more than 655,000 Iraqis have died unnaturally as a result of the occupation.

      “Iraqis would have not objected so much if the situation had been improved by Saddam’s executors,” the teacher said. “His time was certainly not a golden time, but Iraqis felt proud of his policies against Iranian and American arrogance and greed. He managed to feed his people and provide them with security and basic services despite all the wars they fought, and the UN sanctions against Iraq.”

      The defence team has objected to the verdict, and continues to campaign against it.

      “The whole court procedures were illegal right from the beginning,” Khalil al-Dulaimy, chief of Saddam’s defence team told reporters in Baghdad. “Mr. President Saddam Hussein is a prisoner of war and he should not be handed over to his opponents by international law, and the international community must press the U.S. authorities not to do so.”

      International human rights organisations are asking for suspension of the death sentence, while arguing that Saddam was denied a fair trial. Human Rights Watch has reported that the trail was marred by political interference.

      In a statement that seems to warn of impending violence and increasing political divide, the Ba’ath Party, formerly led by Saddam, has threatened it would target U.S. interests anywhere if he was executed.

      “Our party warns again of the consequences of executing Mr. President and his comrades,” said a statement that appeared on a website known to represent the party. “The Ba’ath and the resistance are determined to retaliate, with all means and everywhere, to harm America and its interests if it commits this crime.”
      _______________________________________________
      (c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

    4. http://www.swans.com/
      January 1, 2007 — In this issue:

      Note from the Editors: This past Saturday, we were treated to the
      lynching of Saddam Hussein; a 500-pound 24-carat gold coffin for James
      Brown; and the circling of the wagon by a white gerontocracy (that once
      supported Saddam, by the way) around ol’ Gerry Ford. The barbarity of Mr.
      Hussein with a noose around his neck on the front page of the New York
      Times and the Washington Post was well articulated by an appalled reader
      of the paper of record: “Why don’t we just bring back the guillotine
      while we’re at it, or better yet, borrow some jihadist’s sword and behead
      him that way?” Children will undoubtedly have enjoyed the circus of crime
      and punishment — and a video game is on the way, certainly to profits
      galore. Old white (and all powerful) men, gold-plated opulence, and sheer
      barbarity… Here’s to a New Year and a debased culture won over by
      McDonald’s and Wal*Mart.

    5. *A dictator created then destroyed by America*
      Posted by: “hapi22″ hapi22@earthlink.net robinsegg
      Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:48 am (PST)
      So far, 650,000 Iraqis have been killed in the war Bush brought to that
      country.

      I don’t think even the highest estimates of how many Iraqis Saddam
      Hussein killed have reached that total.

      First, we armed Saddam Hussein and then we hung him.

      The urge to hang him as quickly as possible was motivated by a need
      among the Bushites and Reaganites (Rumsfeld and Cheney among others) NOT
      to give Saddam Hussein an opportunity to tell the world how involved two
      American presidents, Reagan and the first Bush, were in helping to make
      Saddam Hussein the durable strong man he was.

      Corpses don’t tell tales.

      If Saddam Hussein “had” to die because he killed so many people, how
      come Bush and most of us are not the least bit interested in bringing to
      justice the tribal leaders in Africa who are doing so much slaughtering?

      Three thousand American soldiers have died in Iraq because Bush had a
      PERSONAL animosity against Saddam Hussein.

      And, of course, Bush never risked his own life to “get” Saddam Hussein,
      just the lives of others.

      Bush is a coward.

      And, the worst part of all of this? Saddam Hussein’s trial and execution
      will soon come to be viewed in the Arab world as one more crime against
      Arabs by Americans.

      Think of that: generations of young Arabs will want to extract revenge
      against America for what we have done to Iraq and to an Arab leader.

      That is how they will see it and remember it.

      But, first and foremost, the speed of SH’s execution was to SILENCE the
      man, so he could NOT reveal to the world the complicity of Reagan and
      the first Bush in Saddam Hussein’s murderous reign.

    6. Saddam’s connection to 911
      Posted by: “bigraccoon” bigraccoon@earthlink.net redwoodsaurus
      Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:01 pm (PST)

      Media Silent on Clark’s 9/11 Comments
      Gen. says White House pushed Saddam link without evidence

      6/20/03

      Sunday morning talk shows like ABC’s This Week or Fox News Sunday often make news for days afterward. Since prominent government officials dominate the guest lists of the programs, it is not unusual for the Monday editions of major newspapers to report on interviews done by the Sunday chat shows.

      But the June 15 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press was unusual for the buzz that it didn’t generate.

      Former General Wesley Clark told anchor Tim Russert that Bush administration officials had engaged in a campaign to implicate Saddam Hussein in the September 11 attacks– starting that very day. Clark said that he’d been called on September 11 and urged to link Baghdad to the terror attacks, but declined to do so because of a lack of evidence.

      Here is a transcript of the exchange:

      CLARK: “There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein.”

      RUSSERT: “By who? Who did that?”

      CLARK: “Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, ‘You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.’

      I said, ‘But–I’m willing to say it, but what’s your evidence?’ And I never got any evidence.”

      Clark’s assertion corroborates a little-noted CBS Evening News story that aired on September 4, 2002. As correspondent David Martin reported: “Barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, the secretary of defense was telling his aides to start thinking about striking Iraq, even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.”

      According to CBS, a Pentagon aide’s notes from that day quote Rumsfeld asking for the “best info fast” to “judge whether good enough to hit SH at the same time, not only UBL.” (The initials SH and UBL stand for Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.) The notes then quote Rumsfeld as demanding, ominously, that the administration’s response “go massive…sweep it all up, things related and not.”

      Despite its implications, Martin’s report was greeted largely with silence when it aired. Now, nine months later, media are covering damaging revelations about the Bush administration’s intelligence on Iraq, yet still seem strangely reluctant to pursue stories suggesting that the flawed intelligence– and therefore the war– may have been a result of deliberate deception, rather than incompetence.

      The public deserves a fuller accounting of this story. Ya think??

      http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1842

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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      3.
      Bush Silences a Dangerous Witness
      Posted by: “Corey” cpmondello@yahoo.com cpmondello
      Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:17 pm (PST)

      Bush Silences a Dangerous Witness

      Complete story; http://www.smirkingchimp.com/node/4325

      by Robert Parry

      Dec 31 2006

      Like a blue-blood version of a Mob family with global reach, the Bushes have eliminated one more key witness to the important historical events that led the U.S. military into a bloody stalemate in Iraq and pushed the Middle East to the brink of calamity.

      The hanging of Saddam Hussein was supposed to be – as the New York Times observed – the “triumphal bookend” to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. If all had gone as planned, Bush might have staged another celebration as he did after the end of “major combat,” posing under the “Mission Accomplished” banner on May 1, 2003.

      But now with nearly 3,000 American soldiers killed and the Iraqi death toll exceeding 600,000 by some estimates, Bush may be forced to savor the image of Hussein dangling at the end of a rope a little more privately.

      Still, Bush has done his family’s legacy a great service while also protecting secrets that could have embarrassed other senior U.S. government officials.

      He has silenced a unique witness to crucial chapters of the secret history that stretched from Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979 to the alleged American-Saudi “green light” for Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, through the eight years of the Iran-Iraq War during which high-ranking U.S. intermediaries, such as Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, allegedly helped broker supplies of war materiel for Hussein.

      Hussein now won’t be around to give troublesome testimony about how he obtained the chemical and biological agents that his scientists used to produce the unconventional weapons that were deployed against Iranian forces and Iraqi civilians. He can’t give his perspective on who got the money and who facilitated the deals.

      Nor will Hussein be available to give his account of the mixed messages delivered by George H.W. Bush’s ambassador April Glaspie before Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Was there another American “green light” or did Hussein just hear what he wanted to hear?

    7. *’Gruesome.’ ‘Barbaric.’ ‘Politicized.’ ‘Farcical.’*
      Posted by: “hapi22″ hapi22@earthlink.net robinsegg
      Mon Jan 1, 2007 10:12 am (PST)
      As John Burns wrote in The New York Times …

      None of the Iraqi officials were able to explain why Mr.
      Maliki had been unwilling to allow the execution to wait. Nor
      would any explain why those who conducted it had allowed it to
      deteriorate into a sectarian free-for-all that had the effect,
      on the video recordings, of making Mr. Hussein, a mass
      murderer, APPEAR DIGNIFIED and RESTRAINED, and his
      executioners, representing Shiites who were his principal
      victims, seem like BULLYING STREET THUGS.
      http://tinyurl.com/yhkmbt

      As Saddam Hussein prepared to die, he started praying only to be
      interrupted by shouts from the hooded executioners who were from a rival
      religious group. At that point, the executioners shouted “God damn you
      to hell,” and Saddam Hussein responded by saying, “God damn you to
      hell.”

      I am not so concerned about Saddam Hussein or how he died, but I am
      concerned that about US and how WE comport ourselves in this life.

      Surely the Nazis did as much or more evil than Saddam Hussein did, but
      we nevertheless managed to complete their trials and executions with the
      dispassionate competence we believe matters. The Nazis were all hung
      with quiet efficiency by the American military — no prayers were
      shouted at them and no “God damn you to hell”s were uttered. Mass
      murderers, in America, like Timothy McVeigh, are allowed to go to their
      deaths without the sort of unseemly stuff that went on at Hussein’s
      execution.

      This is about US and who WE are, and I would say that, under George W.
      Bush’s leadership (and make NO mistake: he was in total control of who
      executed SH, and when), America has once more soiled its own pants.

      Saddam Hussein was going to his death quietly and it is we who disgraced
      ourselves by letting Saddam Hussein’s political enemies try and then
      hang him. It was, in the end, nothing more than a sham trial and a
      revenge hanging — and it is OUR reputation in the world that got
      another bad mark.

      Bush can’t even do trials and executions with any professionalism or
      competence.

      And, make NO mistake, Saddam Hussein, who was tried for Crimes Against
      Humanity, and SHOULD have been tried in the International Court in The
      Hague, was NOT tried there because he would have revealed to the world
      the complicity of the Reagan and first Bush administrations in his
      ability to use gas and chemical warfare AND make his attempts — in the
      1980s — to build nuclear weapons. Reagan, the first Bush, and Cheney
      and Rumsfeld would have been exposed for the enablers they were, if
      Saddam Hussein had ever been tried in the cool legal efficiency of the
      international court.

      So, Saddam Hussein HAD to be tried by rival Shiites and Kurds and then
      hung by rival Shiites, all overseen by the second Bush, whose main goal
      now is to protect the evil secrets of the Reagan and first Bush
      presidencies.

      In the end, THAT was what this was all about.

      ———————————————————-

      *’Gruesome.’ ‘Barbaric.’ ‘Politicized.’ ‘Farcical.’*

      by John Nichols
      The Nation
      Dec. 31, 2007

      While much of U.S. media coverage of Saddam Hussein’s execution has
      strained to echo the Bush administration’s suggestion that “justice” was
      done, the international reaction to the hurried hanging of the former
      dictator has recognized what one of the world’s top experts on the
      Middle East refers to as the “gruesome, occasionally farcical” nature of
      the process that led to the execution.

      “It’s tawdry,” Rosemary Hollis, the director of research at Chatham
      House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London, said of
      the execution. “It’s not going to achieve anything because of the way
      the trial was conducted and the way the occupation was conducted. Life
      in Iraq has become so precarious that many people are saying it was
      safer under Saddam Hussein – it makes the whole thing look like a poke
      in the eye as opposed to closure or some kind of contribution to the
      future of Iraq. The purpose should have been to see justice done in a
      transparent manner… the trial was gruesome, occasionally farcical, and
      failed to fulfil its promise of giving satisfaction.”

      Chris Doyle, the London-based director of the Council for Arab-British
      Understanding, was equally dismissive, telling the Guardian newspaper
      that, “For Bush, Blair and their diminishing brotherhood of diehard
      supporters, Saddam’s demise is their sole concrete victory in Iraq in
      almost four years. This should have been the crowning glory of their
      efforts, but instead it may pose yet another risk to their demoralised
      troops. For Iraqis, some will see it as a symbol of the death of the
      ancien regime. For some Sunnis, Saddam’s death represents the final nail
      in the coffin of their fall from power. But Iraqis may also see this as
      the humiliation of Iraq as a whole, that their president, however
      odious, was toppled by outside powers, and is executed effectively at
      others’ instigation.”

      Doyle’s assessment was shared by Iraqi expatriate Kamil Mahdi, an
      academic who is now associated with the Institute of Arab and Islamic
      Studies at Britain’s Exeter University. “It will be taken as an American
      decision,” Mahdi said of the decision to execute Hussein and the way in
      which deposed leader was killed. “The worst thing is that it’s an issue
      which, in an ideal situation, should have unified Iraq but the Americans
      have succeeded in dividing the Iraqis.”

      Critics of the trial and execution of the former dictator did not defend
      his actions. Rather, they recognized the fundamental flaws in his trial
      by an inexperienced and clearly biased Iraqi judiciary. And they
      condemned the rush to hang Hussein by a country employing the
      widely-rejected sanction of capital punishment.

      “A capital punishment is always tragic news, a reason for sadness, even
      if it deals with a person who was guilty of grave crimes,” explained
      Father Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Vatican, who added that,
      “The killing of the guilty party is not the way to reconstruct justice
      and reconcile society. On the contrary, there is a risk that it will
      feed a spirit of vendetta and sow new violence.”

      British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, while officially welcoming
      moves to hold Hussein to account for killings and other crimes that tool
      place during his tenure as president of Iraq, issued a statement that
      said, “The British government does not support the use of the death
      penalty, in Iraq or anywhere else. We advocate an end to the death
      penalty worldwide, regardless of the individual or the crime.”

      Another longtime U.S. ally, Italy’s former prime minister Silvio
      Berlusconi, who in 2003 dispatched his country’s troops to support the
      U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, condemned the hanging of Hussein as “a step
      backward in Iraq’s difficult road toward full democracy. Describing the
      killing as a “political and historical” mistake, Berlusconi said, “The
      civilization in the name of which my country decided to send Italian
      soldiers into Iraq envisioned overcoming the death penalty, even for a
      bloody dictator like Saddam.”

      Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm criticized the hanging as
      “barbaric,” and similar criticism came from officials of Chile, Spain,
      Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland
      and the Ukraine.

      Speaking for Amnesty International, Malcolm Smart, director of the
      organization’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, echoed concerns
      expressed by Human Rights Watch and other watchdog groups.

      “We oppose the death penalty in all cases as a violation of the right to
      life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, but it is
      especially abhorrent when this most extreme penalty is imposed after an
      unfair trial,” said Smart. “It is even more worrying that in this case,
      the execution appeared a foregone conclusion, once the original verdict
      was pronounced, with the Appeals Court providing little more than a
      veneer of legitimacy for what was, in fact, a fundamentally flawed
      process.”

      While Iran, which fought a long war with Iraq in the 1980s, found itself
      in ironic agreement with the Bush administration’s enthusiasm for the
      execution, most Muslim countries were critical of the timing of the
      hanging.

      The killing of Hussein during the Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the
      Sacrifice, an annual period of religious reflection seem by Muslims
      globally as a time for showing forgiveness, drew rebukes even from U.S.
      allies. During Eid, Muslim countries rarely execute prisoners and
      frequently pardon them.

      “There is a feeling of surprise and disapproval that the verdict has
      been applied during the holy months and the first days of Eid al-Adha,”
      Saudia Arabia’s official news agency declared after the execution.
      “Leaders of Islamic countries should show respect for this blessed
      occasion… not demean it.”

      “It had been expected that the trial of a former president, who ruled
      for a considerable length of time, would last longer… demonstrate more
      precision, and not be politicized,” continued the blunt statement from
      the Saudis.

      Libya cancelled Eid al Adha celebrations and ordered that flags on
      government buildings be flown at half-mast.

      A statement from the Egyptian foreign ministry announced that, “Egypt
      regrets the fact that the Iraqi authorities carried out the execution of
      former Iraqi President Saddam Hussain, and that it took place on the
      first day of Eid Al Adha.”

      From Cairo, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alaa Al Hadidi complained that
      the execution’s timing “did not take into consideration the feelings of
      Muslims and the sanctity of this day which represents amnesty and
      forgiveness.”

      ———————————————————-

      John Nichols’ new book, THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders’ Cure
      for Royalism has been hailed by authors and historians Gore Vidal, Studs
      Terkel and Howard Zinn for its meticulous research into the intentions
      of the founders and embraced by activists for its groundbreaking
      arguments on behalf of presidential accountability.

      Read this at: http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?bid=15&pid=152796

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