December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein Executed

Follow-up to Saddam Hussein to be executed tomorrow? from The Story of Hamid-o

Wonderful. As predicted, it’s quite the media circus. We’ve got images on Fox, CNN etc. Frontpages plastered with images of Saddam with a noose around his head. There are step-by-step pictures and videos available of the placing of the noose, the body hanging limply and the corpse on the floor. Fantastic.

Meanwhile, I’m hearing of videos apparently showing various Shi’a executioners dancing around the room.

If he needed to be executed, then fine. But execution on Eid? How wonderful! It’s Like executing a Christian on Christmas day. You don’t bloody execute people on Eid, no matter how vile they may be. And it’s December 30th. How beautifully convenient! Well done Bush! Another mission accomplished!

It’s great to see the “Sovereign” Iraqi courts marching to America’s drumbeat. Naturally the Americans haven’t considered (or have they?) the impact of his show trial and execution on the Sunnis of Iraq. Let’s see how long it takes before Sovereign Iraq divides into three different nations.


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  1. I would say that Sovereign Iraq is already divided into three nations. The Americans, The Sunnis and the Shiites and that this execution is unlikely to make any real difference on the ground. I really don’t think the timing of this was down to the Americans in fact i suspect the Prime minister of Iraq was the one behind the swift justice witnessed early this morning. He was the one that stated very publicly that Saddam would be executed before the end of the year and he looked very proud as he signed the death warrant. At the end of the day Saddam deserved to die for crimes against humanity and i think it is better for the people of Iraq to start the new year knowing justice was done and finally the despot responsible for so much suffering is now dead and burning in hell

    30 Dec 2006, 23:38

  2. The Iraqi prime minister is just a puppet (like Saddam used to be, for those of us who care to peer into the gloomy past of his relationship with the West)

    I doubt many people are arguing about whether Saddam should have been executed / not – it’s about the timing. I believe there would be an outcry if a Christian ex leader was executed on Christmas day, though I could be mistaken.

    Of course the people of Iraq can sleep easy knowing that justice was done… All they have to worry about now is the lack of basic amenities in many regions and the country’s possible decline into civil war

    31 Dec 2006, 00:31

  3. I have been to alot of countries but i have not been to Iraq so i don’t know if the Iraq prime minister is just a puppet. People that say he is are often unable to quote a source except those given to them by google. Of course it is common knowledge that Saddam had a relationship with the west, so does every other country in the middle east there is nothing new about that. Was he a puppet during his time in power? I don’t think so, certainly if he was then who was the puppet master that ordered him to invade Kuwait?

    My understanding is that Saddam was executed at 03:00 Local time which was 3 hrs before Eid though i really don’t think it matters since in a couple of weeks nobody will even care or remember. Just another vicious dictator finally brought to justice.

    As for the Iraq people sleeping easy knowing justice was done i dare say they will sleep since according to the bbc the majority of them stayed up all night waiting to hear the execution had taken place and are probably knackered. Taking a shower or brushing their teeth in the morning is clearly another story and something i hope the Iraq government is working on making right!!

    31 Dec 2006, 01:58

  4. Lee you don’t have to be able to source George Bush saying “the Iraqi PM is our puppet” in order to interpret the events or facts as such. You didn’t have to cite Hirohito (or any other Japanese official) saying that Puyi was a puppet in order to interpret Puyi as the puppet ruler of 满族国 on behalf of the Japanese.

    Nor do you have to go to Iraq in order to have a grasp of what is happening politically in Iraq at the moment. It’s interesting that you say “but i have not been to Iraq so i don’t know if the Iraq prime minister is just a puppet” and yet have no problem saying “As for the Iraq people sleeping easy knowing justice was done i dare say they will sleep”.

    There were a few Iraqis who did not quite hate Saddam Hussein. And there were Iraqis who may have supported Saddam Hussein. Say what you will of his crimes, but it is quite likely that if Iraq was not invaded by the “Coalition of the Willing” and left in his hands, you’d have several hundred thousand Iraqis left alive today and Iraqis might at least have some form of security. So there are Iraqis who don’t see him as a criminal. There are Iraqis who see his death as a provocation. It could well have its impact.

    Meanwhile the video of his execution is freely available online and civilised Western Media are showing “before” and “after” photos.

    31 Dec 2006, 02:40

  5. Hamid, you said “you’d have several hundred thousand Iraqis left alive today and Iraqis might at least have some form of security” in such a way that you appear (to me) to be implying this is in some way preferable to the current situation. While the figure of several hundred thousand is somewhat higher than most sources seem to report, it ignores the fact that on average Saddam was responsible for about 225 deaths per day over his ~24 year presidency (assuming an estimate of 2,000,000).

    Quite whether the majority of Iraqis would prefer the so-called security of living in perpetual fear under a dictatorship to what is happening now I don’t know, but I would hope they wouldn’t. For the people responsible for the daily bombings/attacks they’ve likely only ever known Saddam as president thus making the ‘change’ to anything else somewhat of a culture shock. If you’ve only ever known one style of leadership I can imagine it’s rather difficult to accept that what he did was anything other than normal, but to try and make the argument that he wasn’t a criminal seems to defy all logic. In a country where murder was illegal I fail to see how anyone of sound mind could interpret his acts of genocide as anything other than criminal. (I’m aware you’re not trying to make this argument, but merely noting that there are those that do.) It does seem somewhat silly to reason using logic with people that in retaliation for an American/British occupation kill their own countrymen but the real reasons for the insurgency I’ve yet to fully understand. Our occupation is a classic case of Catch 22, we’re damned if we leave and we’re damned if we stay, both appear only to only result in more bloodshed.

    As for the video of his death being put up online and images being shown by “Western Media”, I don’t see the problem. The media feed the thirst of the people, if people didn’t want to see it they wouldn’t be showing it. It was clear from your inclusion of the word ‘civilised’ in the final line that you were taking some issue with it rather than merely stating a fact, I’d be interested to know why?

    31 Dec 2006, 09:06

  6. Civil war always seems like an inevitable step before democracy can take hold. It’s not a nice step, but it seems to be a necessary one.

    31 Dec 2006, 12:07

  7. You are right, I dislike the news around this as well, the photographs showing a broken Muslim man being executed on Eid. Although he did what he did, he was counting with the support of States at least before sep 11. The only thing I was hoping is that this at least brings some peace between this groups, sunis, shiitas in Irak. However, maybe this is just me being naive.

    31 Dec 2006, 12:52

  8. Adam M

    in such a way that you appear (to me) to be implying this is in some way preferable to the current situation.

    Yes. Saddam Hussein would have been in power. Civil Liberties would have been curtailed. Some would have been repressed. Some would have faced execution. Life would have been difficult for the average citizen because of the sanctions.

    Would that situation be better than the Americans having entered Iraq with not enough troops, creating a new Iraqi government, quickly orchestrating elections to score a few political points, failing to provide the Iraqis with proper security, electricity, running water and the like? Would it be better than having gangs of Shi’a or Sunni executing members of rival factions? Would it be better than the hundreds/thousands of kidnappings that often lead to brutal executions followed by corpse-dumping? Would it be better than laying the groundwork for what was, at least, a stable country which was completely harmless in both regional and international terms turning into a massive destabilising factor for the entire region?

    Yes. It would have been better. Far better.

    it ignores the fact that on average Saddam was responsible for about 225 deaths per day over his ~24 year presidency (assuming an estimate of 2,000,000).

    That’s somewhat disingenuous. There is naturally going to be a difference between civilians killed by the regime because of its oppression and soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq war. Including soldier deaths from the Iran-Iraq war and the Gulf War is somewhat disingenuous. So let’s say he’s killed a million civilians. Over 24 years. I’d like to see your sources, but let’s imagine that’s the case. That would mean about 40,000 people per year. The US’s intervention has managed to match and exceed that and without providing any stability. And do you imagine it’s going to get better when the US pulls out?

    Saddam Hussein. Clearly not a pleasant man. Has clearly committed crimes. Would the Iraqi situation have been better if the situation in Iraq was now as it was in 2000/2001? Yes. The biggest destabilising factor you’d see was the odd bombing campaign when a President needed to cover up a blowjob in the oval office. Now we’re seeing a massive death toll, a civil war that’s continuing to worsen with the possibility of causing a catastrophic regional conflict in the Gulf.

    In a country where murder was illegal I fail to see how anyone of sound mind could interpret his acts of genocide as anything other than criminal.

    Absolutely.

    It does seem somewhat silly to reason using logic with people that in retaliation for an American/British occupation kill their own countrymen but the real reasons for the insurgency I’ve yet to fully understand.

    When you break the status quo and factions are allowed to heavily arm themselves, the various factions want power. So there are various contributing factors and ideologies to/for the violence. Some want to remove the British and American occupiers. Some want to promote Sunni dominance. Some want to prevent the breakup of the nation. Some want to promote Shi’a dominance. Some want to create an independent Shi’a state. It seems that a lot of them are merely warlords aligned on a tribal basis. In fact, it seems comparable to the warlordism that riddled China after the fall of the Qing and the declaration of a Republic.

    31 Dec 2006, 14:50

  9. Adam M (contin.)

    Our occupation is a classic case of Catch 22, we’re damned if we leave and we’re damned if we stay, both appear only to only result in more bloodshed.

    I’d prefer for the Americans to stay. I’d prefer for them to have more troops in. I’d prefer for them to really crack down and sort out the situation. But that’s not going to happen. And it’s not as though this sort of violance and situation coudln’t have been forseen. If you can’t face the political consequences of seeing through an action, then don’t commit that action because you’ll end up creating a situation far worse than the one you ostensibly wanted to rid the world of.

    The media feed the thirst of the people, if people didn’t want to see it they wouldn’t be showing it. It was clear from your inclusion of the word ‘civilised’ in the final line that you were taking some issue with it rather than merely stating a fact, I’d be interested to know why?

    They don’t televise the execution of cons on Death Row (at least as far as I am aware). I don’t think it’s appropriate that they should do it for a former Head of State as vile as he may have been. What I certainly find distasteful is the very same papers and news organisations who will protest about seeing a video of an American hostage being executed and who will say that AlJazeera is “uncivilised” because of the airing of such media, are now engaged in some kind of masturbatory festival over images and videos of the final moments of Saddam Hussein.

    31 Dec 2006, 14:50

  10. Tom G

    Real video of the Saddam Hussein execution is posted at http://www.saddamned.com/

    31 Dec 2006, 14:51

  11. Yes, it’s been available for quite some time now through ogrish or via torrent usage. It’s quite disturbing that they don’t let him at least finish the Shahadah before dropping the trapdoor.

    31 Dec 2006, 15:11

  12. Christopher Rossdale

    While the figure of several hundred thousand is somewhat higher than most sources seem to report,

    What sources are you talking about here? Because the most serious, dedicated and renowned study (based upon the most serious, dedicated and renowned methods), the Lancet report, put the figure at 650,000 – around 1 in 40 Iraqis. Even with it’s accepted margin for error, the figure is well into the hundreds of thousands. The only sources to the contrary that I’ve found have been political statements and the like – nothing vaguely credible or substantial. Which are you referring to?

    31 Dec 2006, 19:15

  13. Chris, you only have to look briefly around some of the reports and articles written about the Lancet report to realise that it’s method of coming to the 650,000 figure would make statisticians everywhere cry. There’s enough details on places like The Washington Post about how they went about the study and while I’m no expert, extrapolating as they did from Baghdad over the entire country seems somewhat bizarre.

    Again, a quick google for phrases like “iraqis killed in war” will return much more likely figures ranging between 50,000-200,000 and even some of those were taking a particular month and multiplying by the number of months since the war began, again, rather an ‘interesting’ way of calculating a death toll given how the insurgency has had it’s quiet months and it’s bloody months.

    I’ll reply to Hamid later in the day once I’ve really woken up.

    01 Jan 2007, 07:54

  14. Adam this response to the Lancet report is often given by people who are more than happy to accept the same statistical methods for estimating deaths in, say Rwanda, or in Darfur or in practically any modern conflict except, of course, Iraq.

    The figure of 650,000 is in the middle of their high and low end estimates. They put the minimum figure at (someone correct me if I’m wrong, this is off the top of my head) around 300,000. Now again, whether it’s 600,000 or 300,000 or even 200,000 it is still a massive number of deaths as a direct result of the American invasion of Iraq. It is, of course, far too late to change any of that. But the current situation in Iraq is far worse than it was under Saddam.

    01 Jan 2007, 10:53

  15. My issue really is with people that keep making the point that “less people were dying before the invasion” and that somehow it proves something / adds to the argument against the invasion. It’s another thing that I’ve really failed to ask anyone when they say it, what exactly are you proving/illustrating by saying such a thing, how does it help? If you’re saying because more people are dying than before we shouldn’t have invaded I think you’re wrong. People make this observation so often and so loudly in the media that there must be some reason behind saying it…

    Invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam was never simply a case of playing “the numbers game” so that once the invasion was complete less people would be dying. If we had taken such an approach with the Second World War the allies should simply have surrendered to Germany in 1939 before about 62 million people died. Is anyone sorry that in the process of defeating the Axis Powers that millions had to be killed? Of course, but it doesn’t make the war any less necessary. Sometimes your principles demand that action be taken irrespective of whether there will be a great loss of life. Again, I doubt anyone disputes the idea that a democratic and peaceful Iraq is a bad thing when compared to the last 25 years, it’s just unfortunate that in making the transition people need to lose their lives. If the Civilization series of games has taught me anything it’s that revolution isn’t peaceful, it’s just a necesssary evil.

    01 Jan 2007, 14:19

  16. Adam

    If you’re saying because more people are dying than before we shouldn’t have invaded I think you’re wrong.

    Not just that substantially more are dying, but also that life is, in general, substantially worse in Iraq (and it wasn’t good to begin with) and it’s continuing to get worse and it’s looking like the problems in Iraq are going to spread. That’s more than enough to suggest that “We” shouldn’t have invaded Iraq.

    Invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam was never simply a case of playing “the numbers game”

    No. It was apparently a case of Iraq’s serious and real nuclear ambitions that made it vital to violate international law in order to invade Iraq. And then it wasn’t. It was on Humanitarian grounds. Saddam was, apparently, a vile tyrant and had invaded his neihgbours! So “we” were really invading Iraq to promote regional stability and save the people of Iraq.

    So if “we” went in to promote regional stability… “we” failed. And “we” didn’t just fail. “We” have gone and created major destability. If “we” went in to save the people of Iraq, then again it’s a failure. And here’s where the numbers are important. If Saddam was so evil for killing X per day as you were claiming, and “we” are now responsible for such a death rate, then yes it becomes important. “We have brought you freedom! More people are dying. And a hell of a lot more are going to die. And life’s getting substantially worse. But at least you have complete freedom of speech. Unless you’re a woman. Or you don’t want the militants to shoot you and your family in the back of the head and throw you into the Euphrates. So all in all, let’s not play the number game! It was clearly a good thing!”

    so that once the invasion was complete less people would be dying. If we had taken such an approach with the Second World War the allies should simply have surrendered to Germany in 1939 before about 62 million people died.

    Mmmmm I always love it when people bring World War II into things. How is surrendering to an aggressor nation comparable to not invading a defenceless nation?

    Is anyone sorry that in the process of defeating the Axis Powers that millions had to be killed? Of course, but it doesn’t make the war any less necessary.

    That was the Second World War. I’m waiting to see how it’s comparable.

    Sometimes your principles demand that action be taken irrespective of whether there will be a great loss of life.

    Oh yes. All about the principles. The principles that demand that an aggressive war must be undertaken in order to oust a brutal dictator… and then worsen the situation on the ground. At least Saddam isn’t in power! Yes because stability is always worse than anarchy eh.

    Again, I doubt anyone disputes the idea that a democratic and peaceful Iraq is a bad thing when compared to the last 25 years, it’s just unfortunate that in making the transition people need to lose their lives.

    How very unfortunate. But let’s just say that that never happens. Wouldn’t you therefore say that the 25 years of bloody-but-fairly-stable rule was better than decades of ruinous civil war and that maybe “it’s just unfortunate that in order to get that stability, innocent people need to lose their lives.” How very callous your principles are!

    01 Jan 2007, 14:48

  17. I would rather stand by my principles and screw up badly than do nothing. The war against Iraq was a massive screw-up, I don’t think anyone is going to argue against that. But to argue that we should have just done nothing instead is to my mind a complete moral failure. What we should have done is something different.

    01 Jan 2007, 15:57

  18. I would rather stand by my principles and screw up badly than do nothing.

    Oh by all means do something. Just make sure that something doesn’t include violating some of the most important aspects of international law to emerge from the Second World War. And make bloody well sure your “principles” (because as we all know the Iraq war was about the principles. Hey there Kim, hope you’re enjoying those bombs! *waves) don’t end up making a bad situation far, far, far worse.

    01 Jan 2007, 16:13

  19. Sure, and if you’d read what i’d actually said you could have just stuck with “I agree”.

    01 Jan 2007, 16:26

  20. I’d read what you said and if you’d elaborated on what you specifcally feel “should have been done differently” then maybe I could have just said “I agree”.

    01 Jan 2007, 16:55

  21. (I’m going to continue to use the word ‘we’ when describing who invaded Iraq, and by ‘we’ I mean American/British forces (the Coalition if you will), but I won’t put in quote marks every time I use it.)

    Not just that substantially more are dying, but also that life is, in general, substantially worse in Iraq (and it wasn’t good to begin with) and it’s continuing to get worse and it’s looking like the problems in Iraq are going to spread. That’s more than enough to suggest that “We” shouldn’t have invaded Iraq.

    Such is the benefit of hindsight… It’s obviously very easy to look at the current situation and come to the conclusion that we “shouldn’t” have invaded Iraq but that isn’t to say the situation has yet reached the point of no return. Whether withdrawl of troops will do anything to improve the situation over the next couple of years it remains to be seen and it will certainly have to be done in a staged manner so as not to leave the new government fending for itself. Although the current situation is of our doing I do wonder what state Iraq would be in now had any of the crushed attempted revolutions over the last 25 years succeeded in overthrowing Saddam without outside intervention. Would it have been a bloodless transition? Would the proceeding 3 years following a revolution been any better than the 3 we’ve had so far? I just think people are too quick to look at the current situation and then ask how it could get any worse. We’re still a way off all out civil war yet and of course it needs to be avoided but I think we’re still at a point where the potential benefits will outweigh the cons.

    So if “we” went in to promote regional stability… “we” failed. And “we” didn’t just fail. “We” have gone and created major destability. If “we” went in to save the people of Iraq, then again it’s a failure. And here’s where the numbers are important. If Saddam was so evil for killing X per day as you were claiming, and “we” are now responsible for such a death rate, then yes it becomes important. “We have brought you freedom! More people are dying. And a hell of a lot more are going to die. And life’s getting substantially worse. But at least you have complete freedom of speech. Unless you’re a woman. Or you don’t want the militants to shoot you and your family in the back of the head and throw you into the Euphrates. So all in all, let’s not play the number game! It was clearly a good thing!”

    Putting the nice dollop of sarcasm aside, you seem to be missing the point. An invasion in itself can’t bring free speech, women’s rights and security to a country, it can only provide the environment in which those are possible. Under Saddam the first two didn’t exist and the latter only existed if you were someone that endeared yourself to Saddam’s way of thinking. I think the Kurds would have something to say about the security that the Saddam era provided to them as would any of the million+ people that were killed as a result of either his rules or his wars. Infact it was of course up to the UN to provide the so-called “safe haven” in the north because Saddam clearly wasn’t in the mood for providing much security. Unfortunately (yes, that word again) the different denominations of Muslims appear to be taking this new found freedom for granted somewhat and are using it as an opportunity to try and make the new Iraq wholly biased in their favour. While this is an understandable reaction to suddenly having the freedom to do such a thing, it really isn’t the ‘fault’ of America/Britain. The challenge is going to be in getting a government setup that reflects (or appears to reflect) the needs/wants of as many Iraqis as possible and seeing if they really do want the benefits a democracy brings or if they want to spend the next decade or more squabbling amongst themselves long after we’re gone…

    01 Jan 2007, 18:50

  22. Oh yes. All about the principles. The principles that demand that an aggressive war must be undertaken in order to oust a brutal dictator… and then worsen the situation on the ground. At least Saddam isn’t in power! Yes because stability is always worse than anarchy eh.

    This is another thing that amuses me, that somehow because we are the invading force it is we who are the aggressors. Iraq has been a member of the United Nations for 60 years and it’s membership is dependant on it upholding a certain level of human rights. While it’s not legally binding by any means you only have to look at the list of resolutions passed relating to Iraq to realise that the international community “should” have followed through in deposing Saddam after the first Gulf War rather than chickening out for fear of what might replace him. We’ve failed for decades in our obligations as UN states to help rectify what is going on in places such as Iraq. The idea that invading Iraq has destabilsed the Middle East any more than Saddam “I invaded two of my neighbours and fired missiles into others” Hussein makes me smile too.

    How very unfortunate. But let’s just say that that never happens. Wouldn’t you therefore say that the 25 years of bloody-but-fairly-stable rule was better than decades of ruinous civil war and that maybe “it’s just unfortunate that in order to get that stability, innocent people need to lose their lives.” How very callous your principles are!

    You really seem incapable of seeing the bigger picture here, your evaluation of the entire Iraq crisis seems to be limited to about 3 years in the past and about a year into the future. It sounds cliché, but we’ve always been in this for the long haul. Did we go into the war expecting Iraq to resemble a model democracy by the end of 2003? No. Did we go into the war expecting the situation to be as bad as it is currently? No. It’s gone worse than we could have hoped but as they say, it’s now spilt milk, and there’s no use crying over it (to be blunt and in your eyes, probably callous). The important question now is not whether we should/shouldn’t have gone to war in the first place (to which I believe the answer is: we should) but what we do now. There are still those that see the mess and think everything will be solved if we just withdrew troops and came home, but that would be an even bigger mistake than going to war in the first place and it really doesn’t need explaining why. The idea that every situation is solved without innocent loss of life is unfortunately reserved for SuperFunHappyLand where everyone lives happily ever after. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made and I’m glad that there are some people that are willing to make them.

    01 Jan 2007, 18:56

  23. Adam

    Such is the benefit of hindsight… It’s obviously very easy to look at the current situation and come to the conclusion that we “shouldn’t” have invaded

    You mean it is easier. What was easy was, without even the need for hindsight, to be among those who predicted catastrophe almost exactly as it has happened in Iraq thus far. It is disingenuous to see what has happened as some unforseen circumstance whose causes are only clear to historians with the benefit of full hindsight.

    I just think people are too quick to look at the current situation and then ask how it could get any worse. We’re still a way off all out civil war

    Do you expect them to be drawing up troops in ranks, marching against one another with muskets in order to call it a civil war?

    An invasion in itself can’t bring free speech, women’s rights and security to a country, it can only provide the environment in which those are possible. Under Saddam the first two didn’t exist

    Free speech is one thing, but you will find that women had substantial rights in Iraq until the Americans decided to invade. Again.

    This is another thing that amuses me, that somehow because we are the invading force it is we who are the aggressors.

    Did Iraq invade the UK? Did Iraq invade the US? I’m unaware of any breach of US/UK sovereignty on the part of the Iraqis that would require a military response.


    While it’s not legally binding by any means you only have to look at the list of resolutions passed relating to Iraq to realise that the international community “should” have followed through in deposing Saddam after the first Gulf War rather than chickening out for fear of what might replace him.

    The task of the international community was to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The task of the international community was not to destroy Iraq as America insisted on doing. You’ll find that it wasn’t a case of “chickening out” but a very real fear, which has now been realised.

    The idea that invading Iraq has destabilsed the Middle East any more than Saddam “I invaded two of my neighbours and fired missiles into others” Hussein makes me smile too.

    Quite possibly because you’re not very familiar with the region. After the Gulf war Iraq wasn’t a threat to any of the nations. Now there are the burdens of tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees. Saudi Arabia is making veiled threats against Iran. The Shi’a portions of Iraq are coming more and more under Iranian influence.

    Did we go into the war expecting the situation to be as bad as it is currently? No. It’s gone worse than we could have hoped but as they say, it’s now spilt milk, and there’s no use crying over it (to be blunt and in your eyes, probably callous).

    600,000 people. Spilt milk. Got it. Saddam’s neck was broken by 148 bottles of spilt milk. This is not just spilt milk. We have serious violations and disregard of international law on the part of the US and its poodle which may well have severe ramifications in the future. Current US politicking is going to end up ruining Iraq further.

    The idea that every situation is solved without innocent loss of life is unfortunately reserved for SuperFunHappyLand where everyone lives happily ever after. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made and I’m glad that there are some people that are willing to make them.

    Surely the same argument could have been made in favour of Saddam Hussein? How many more hundreds of thousands will have to die, before you admit that you shouldn’t have invaded? Or will you be happy to say “We think the price is worth it”?

    If the Bush administration were able to make “Tough” decisions as well as good decisions you would find that they would have gone in with a plan and provided enough men as was recommended before the beginning of the war, and taken the tough political decision to keep providing the necessary number of men and to really provide security to Iraq.

    01 Jan 2007, 21:07

  24. Sam

    The National Security Archive at the George Washington University has some interesting records. This one, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/, about the relationship between the US government and Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s. Rumsfeld even met personally with Hussein and they had many points of agreement about Iran and common interests in the region.

    Conveniently, the 8 year Iran-Iraq War had crippled the Iraq economy to such an extent that there soon arose a conflict about oil resources and war debt with Kuwait. This lead to Iraq invading Kuwait just two years after the Iran-Iraq War ended.

    Interestingly, the US government was unable to get the support of its people for a ground war in Iraq, as described by ABC news (http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/wtc_poll010918.html), right away. I’m not sure if you guys heard of the incubator baby story that was apparently fabricated to serve as the “overwhelming humanitarian goal” to get the American people to support a counter-attack to free Kuwait.

    That seems like a pretty weak reason to invade a country you were just so recently in bed with doesn’t it? Especially if it’s not true. The US government had thought they would be able to control Hussein. Unfortunately, he not only lost his status as the useful idiot but also went beyond control into Kuwait.

    911 was followed by the hunt for bin Laden and al-Qaeda within the Taliban of Afghanistan, which incidentally was not based on any evidence (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46254-2004Jun16.html). Conveniently, this charade culminated in bin Laden never being found.

    The next step of the US administration was to assert links between Iraq’s Hussein and bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, of which there were also none (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5329350.stm).

    Then, of course after years of sanctions in punishment for going out of line, the US created yet more fear, this time of WMDs in the hands of Hussein, which led to the latest invasion of Iraq. These were never found either, and one switched to smiting a despot and freeing the oh so oppressed Iraqi people as good enough reasons to have invaded Iraq. If I may cite the ABC news source from before again:

    “ABCNEWS polls suggest several elements that build public support for military action. They include a sense of threat to this nation, a belief that the vital interests of the United States are involved, a clear policy with a specific purpose and an identifiable target, an overwhelming humanitarian goal, and international consensus.” It seems to me the US administration cleverly orchestrated propaganda to address each of those requirements.

    Finally, the facts that the court that tried, convicted and executed Hussein was manned by people trained by the US, was financed by the US and that Hussein had been held in a US prison right up to his execution, do certainly not hint that the US had some weirdly dogged interest to have Hussein killed. The conviction date on the very day before the mid-term elections was pure unopportunistic coincidence. The crime he was convicted of, the massacre ad Dujail in 1982, happened in the same year that Iraq was de-designated as supporter of international terrorism. The massacre obviously had no negative impact on the excellent relations between the US and Iraq in the 1980s.

    Why was he not tried by an international court like Slobodan Milosevic? Why was he not tried also for the possession of WMDs? It would have been a perfect setting to find out the truth about Saddam Hussein and all the people and governments he dealt with. And that is exactly what the US did not want.

    01 Jan 2007, 21:25

  25. Sam

    So while Iraqi civilian loss of life is terrible, it completely misses the real issue. If saving the civilians of Iraq was and is really in Americans interest, they would not be systematically transferring all US military leaders responsible for troops on the ground in Iraq that have even the slightest insight into the Iraqi culture and know how to train their troops to respectfully deal with Iraqi citizens and replacing them with incompetent Hillbillies. This is the gist according to one of my friends who read Fiasco by Thomas Ricks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/07/07/DI2006070701061.html) of why the Iraqis have put up so much resistance against the “help” the US has given them.

    http://www.911timeline.net/ has an intersting paragraph:

    “Understand United States History: From the USS Maine being destroyed in 1898 (Spanish American War), to the Lusitania being sunk in 1915 (WWI), to our provoking and allowing Pearl Harbor’s attack in 1941 (WWII) (the book “Deceit At Pearl Harbor” lays this out very well), to the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 (Viet Nam) and the 300 babies slaughtered in their incubators in 1991 by Iraq (Desert Storm). When you have finished the above, check out the newly discovered Operation Northwoods files that was signed off by all five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1962 (uncovered by James Bamford in his book “Body Of Secrets” about the National Security Agency).”

    01 Jan 2007, 21:26

  26. You mean it is easier. What was easy was, without even the need for hindsight, to be among those who predicted catastrophe almost exactly as it has happened in Iraq thus far. It is disingenuous to see what has happened as some unforseen circumstance whose causes are only clear to historians with the benefit of full hindsight.

    I’m still yet to be convinced that even if the outcome of the war were known beforehand whether it would have been the “right” thing to do in leaving Saddam where he was. You’ve repeatedly made the point that because things have gone downhill in the last 3 years that we shouldn’t have invaded and I’ve said that I really don’t think it’s justification enough for saying that the invasion was a mistake, so on this point at least I think we’re going to have to disagree.

    Do you expect them to be drawing up troops in ranks, marching against one another with muskets in order to call it a civil war?

    Not quite, but the death count hardly reflects all out civil war yet, and it doesn’t show any sign of spiralling out of control. Quite how many people in Iraq are willing to actually fight in a civil war I don’t know, it’s always struck me that most Iraqis are looking forward more to a return to normality and a stable government than killing each other, perhaps you’ll disagree. I’m not going to try and put a figure on how many people should die in a month to call it a civil war, but I think as long the US/UK have a strong military presence in Iraq it’s going to be very difficult for one to start.

    Free speech is one thing, but you will find that women had substantial rights in Iraq until the Americans decided to invade. Again.

    Again? I presume you’re referring first Gulf War in which coalition forces from 34 different countries liberated Kuwait and chased Iraqi forces back over the border… that “invasion”?

    Did Iraq invade the UK? Did Iraq invade the US? I’m unaware of any breach of US/UK sovereignty on the part of the Iraqis that would require a military response.

    The UK/US only acted after the United Nations finally proved it lacked any teeth and decided to give Saddam another final chance after which most countries agreed that military action would be warranted. Of course predictably certain nations that were financially benefiting from Saddam’s presidency made it clear they’d veto the resolution and UK/US decided they couldn’t really afford to wait. One of the reasons of course being that there was a genuine belief Saddam would use chemical weapons and the hot weather in the coming months would prevent all precautions being taken. Quite how long the weapons inspectors were supposed to keep looking before deciding they couldn’t find anything is anyone’s guess, how long do you look for something that you can’t find?

    The task of the international community was to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The task of the international community was not to destroy Iraq as America insisted on doing. You’ll find that it wasn’t a case of “chickening out” but a very real fear, which has now been realised.

    Again, I’m not quite sure what destruction you’re referring to (apart from to the soldiers/military hardware, but such is war…). Saddam was left in power, Kuwait was liberated but had a huge ecological disaster on it’s hands thanks to the retreating Iraqi troops, Saddam was very lucky to remain in power.

    Quite possibly because you’re not very familiar with the region. After the Gulf war Iraq wasn’t a threat to any of the nations. Now there are the burdens of tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees. Saudi Arabia is making veiled threats against Iran. The Shi’a portions of Iraq are coming more and more under Iranian influence.

    Why was Iraq no longer a threat, because Saddam turned over a new leaf or because the United Nations backed force destroyed a large part of his military?

    01 Jan 2007, 22:40

  27. 600,000 people. Spilt milk. Got it. Saddam’s neck was broken by 148 bottles of spilt milk. This is not just spilt milk. We have serious violations and disregard of international law on the part of the US and its poodle which may well have severe ramifications in the future. Current US politicking is going to end up ruining Iraq further.

    Talking of serious violations and disregard of international law, I hear there was a former, now deceased dictator that did that in Iraq for a while before he was deposed, his name escapes me though…

    Surely the same argument could have been made in favour of Saddam Hussein? How many more hundreds of thousands will have to die, before you admit that you shouldn’t have invaded? Or will you be happy to say “We think the price is worth it”?

    Once military action was complete and deaths are now the doing of the Iraqi people not of the US/UK forces. I have much stronger views on this than I’m probably willing to voice here, but it is somewhat frustrating that upon removing a vile dictator the population decides to start killing each other – to put it simply. I can just about understand Iraqi insurgents attacking US/UK forces because they don’t want them there, but to use this as an opportunity to car bomb women and children… I wonder whether the same would go on in a non-Islamic country… The Iraqi people have an unprecedented opportunity to build a prosperous and secure Iraq and at least a minority appear to be throwing that away.

    If the Bush administration were able to make “Tough” decisions as well as good decisions you would find that they would have gone in with a plan and provided enough men as was recommended before the beginning of the war, and taken the tough political decision to keep providing the necessary number of men and to really provide security to Iraq.

    Of course it’s dissenting voices like your own that mean that commiting any more troops to the war would be wholly unpopular. Pulling all the troops out results in anarchy, static troop levels isn’t enough to quell the violence, and increasing troop levels would be almost guaranteed political suicide. It gets more and more tempting every day to side with those calling for troop withdrawl just to let Iraq sort itself out, but then it would negate one of the reasons for invading in the first place – a democratic Iraq is safer for the rest of the Middle East and the world as a whole.

    01 Jan 2007, 22:42

  28. Anon

    I hear he was very well hung

    02 Jan 2007, 21:07

  29. Anon

    Saddam:There just about to execute me, could i speak to my lawyer?
    Receptionist: He’s on the phone, can you hang on for a minute?

    03 Jan 2007, 08:49

  30. I can just about understand Iraqi insurgents attacking US/UK forces because they don’t want them there, but to use this as an opportunity to car bomb women and children… I wonder whether the same would go on in a non-Islamic country…

    And what about Yugoslavia? Rwanda? Congo?
    The US smashed the Iraqi state (ie. the bodies of armed men) ignoring the strong centrifugal tendencies within the territory’s borders..

    03 Jan 2007, 13:07

  31. What I find funny is the group of Labour MPs that supported the “war” that were expressing their disgust at the hanging of this one guy. Execution of one man by the state is awful, one state invading another for business is nice and ok. And all people who can’t watch these things without calling it “disturbing” or similar, I mean grow up for fuck’s sake.
    Man, I love liberals. Such an inability to connect their mind with the real world.

    08 Jan 2007, 17:58


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