Brave New Year

December 31, 2006

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Saddam Hussein execution this weekend and have a few observations about it. First, I do not agree with the death penalty under any circumstances, even for dictators. Especially when it is so plain that the defendant was tried by a victors’ kangaroo court with no right to cross examination or true appeal.

The US media repeatedly trumpeted the “fact” that Saddam was executed by Iraqis outside the Green Zone, with NO AMERICANS PRESENT. It only took one day for me to find an article stating that the execution took place on an American military base (!), in a building which houses the site of the former regime’s military intelligence organization. Which begs the question, “How can no Americans be present when the whole thing is being conducted inside the wire of one of the occupiers’ bases??” What, were they outside the door?

The US media showed a lot of video of Iraqis celebrating the death of the dictator, but I learned today that there was a surprising LACK of celebration in the streets. In fact, according to some observers, the execution of Saddam on the holiest day of the Muslim year, the Eid al Adha, is likely to make him a martyr in the eyes of Sunnis, and possibly a prophet. The execution, carried out by the United States and the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, is very likely to further inflame ethnic tensions and sectarian violence and increase Sunni attacks on their American occupiers, all so George W. Bush can get his rocks off. Read what a well-known female Baghdad blogger nicknamed Riverbend has to say about all of this.

I recall Bush talking tough about the murderers who kill their victims on camera and then post the videos online as a further act of terror. Now Bush himself is posting his own snuff films on the “Internets”. WARNING: This cellphone video of Saddam’s execution is real and WILL be disturbing to most viewers!!

Lastly, I note that the last day of 2006 also saw the 3000th officially acknowledged dead American servicemember in the Iraq occupation. How much larger is this number going to be by the last day of 2007? And after that?

[Postscript: When I first posted this article, I used a photo that I created from one frame of the “unofficial” video of Saddam’s hanging, the cellphone video that leaked onto the Worldwide Web within minutes of the execution. I decided to take the picture down because I think it might be a little too much for the casual visitor to this site to see a man swinging from the end of a hangman’s noose. I have posted the image here if you still want to look.]

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