“Turning in the Wind..”

250pxgoya_war3 I have been asked to open a thread on the hanging of Saddam Hussein.  I don’t feel like it right now, but have  at it.  pl

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35 Responses to “Turning in the Wind..”

  1. Smarty Jonestown says:

    I’m generally opposed to capital punishment, but that doesn’t figure into my assessment that this is just wrong. The trial was a joke, the political implications of an execution carried out by this faux government are frightening, and, most of all, what does this solve? Who gains? After the Kurds and the Shiites get over the euphoria of vengeance carried out, what do we have?
    I guess we’re just going to have to live with things deteriorating over there until 2008. And I’m afraid that’s when we’ll get McCain, who will really eff things up, or Hillary, who will really eff things up.
    Our geographic isolation has never been so reassuring. Ugh.

  2. Tregen says:

    It is hard for me to see a strategic or tactical benefit to the US for the execution. The trial was flawed and the Court’s authority essentially granted by the US.

  3. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Another really bad idea from the Cheney Regime. They just have to keep stirring up the pot, don’t they?

  4. Yaman says:

    Saddam Hussein will die having been found guilty of only 148 of the hundreds of thousands of murders for which he is responsible. What a just resolution.

  5. lina says:

    hangings, beheadings, torture, infidels, christians, mesopotamia …….. Did someone turn the clock back? Did I wake up in one of those parallel universe/time warp stories?
    I love medieval history, but not as current events.

  6. lina says:

    actually, Josh Marshall sums it up well:
    “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.”

  7. Jerry Thompson says:

    OK, I’ll take the bait. Nobody really knows how much of a fuss there’ll be as a consequence of hanging Saddam. For sure, there’ll be some of our soldiers and some innocent Iraqis slain and maimed, every one of which is worth more than Saddam. The way this is being done seems sure to maximize collateral damage (killing him on the morning of the Sunni Eid, by a Shi’a dominated government, for killing 140 Shi’a). The symbolism seems to me to be all Shi’a vengeance — likely to maximize the Sunni defensive response (not predicting any specific level but meaning that it will be more than it otherwise needed to be), and provide no help to reconciling the communities or reducing the impetus driving the civil war. Bottomline — accomplishes nothing positive and maximizes the negative effects. Would be better to wait until after the Eid or (better) wait until he’s been convicted of crimes against Kurds and Sunnis as well as Shi’a.

  8. dell says:

    Why would anyone want to open such a thread?
    To mark yet another turning point? To mark the point from which peace and serenity will break out?

  9. J says:

    here’s an article for your readers from one who suffered 1st hand at the feet of saddam. even with his personal losses (his son)by the hands of saddam, he felt that quote – “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”. – end quote.
    saddam’s execution will only put on the fast track those widening cracks of further divisions. it’s like you said a few moons back that iraq was self-partioning itself. and saddam’s execution on hastens and strenghtens such destabilization of iraq and the mideast in general.

  10. robt willmann says:

    I also don’t feel much like commenting on the hanging of Saddam Hussein, which is happening while his second “trial” is pending. With his execution, Alice in Wonderland has come home to roost in trial number two about allegedly gassing Kurds: “sentence first, verdict afterwards.”
    After spending around half of my life around the courthouse, I think that the old saying about any legal system is true: we can expect to be treated no better than the worst among us.
    Saddam’s so-called trial was worse than a farce. It was kind of like a reverse Nuremberg, where the chief prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson of the U.S. Supreme Court, said that the Germans were on trial not because they lost the war, but because they started it. Justice Jackson said, “. . . our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.”
    Why is Saddam being executed on the cusp of the New Year, as the White House prepares to announce another Iraq program (already decided), to include an increase in troops and probable escalation?
    One reason is a certainty.
    Dead men tell no tales.

  11. Cloned Poster says:

    I hope PL will allow me to post this:
    How the war mongers must grieve at the execution of a 40 year old CIA asset.
    World upside down indeed.

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Saddam Hussein ruined 3 countries – Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait. He caused the deaths of thousands. He was a war criminal and ultimately a thug. And he received a well-deserved punishment for his crimes and his failures as a political and military leader.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    robt willmann:
    You have a point.
    US ought to have sent him to Iran to stand trial for war crimes, for corruption on Earth, and for crimes against Islam.

  14. plp says:

    The stakes are so much higher now for some other leaders in the ME. They have everything to lose now, including their lives.

  15. Propagandist says:

    Not worth the cost.

  16. Mike says:

    Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore, never send to ask for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee. (Donne)
    If there is a God and a hereafter, Saddam will surely suffer the eternal flames. If he had not been executed, he may have repented and merited God’s mercy. Sending him early to the inferno would in that case be a confounding of God’s plans.
    If on the other hand there is no hereafter, whoever believes Saddam deserved punishment must surely realise that a life sentence in a stinking Iraqi or American gaol involves far more suffering than five minutes twitching at the end of a rope.
    Of course, Saddam’s execution will do nothing to help the healing of Iraq, and may exacerbate an already desperate situation.

  17. Arun says:

    The money quote:
    “A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted.
    2006 has been, decidedly, the worst year yet. No- really. The magnitude of this war and occupation is only now hitting the country full force. It’s like having a big piece of hard, dry earth you are determined to break apart. You drive in the first stake in the form of an infrastructure damaged with missiles and the newest in arms technology, the first cracks begin to form. Several smaller stakes come in the form of politicians like Chalabi, Al Hakim, Talbani, Pachachi, Allawi and Maliki. The cracks slowly begin to multiply and stretch across the once solid piece of earth, reaching out towards its edges like so many skeletal hands. And you apply pressure. You surround it from all sides and push and pull. Slowly, but surely, it begins coming apart- a chip here, a chunk there.
    That is Iraq right now. The Americans have done a fine job of working to break it apart. This last year has nearly everyone convinced that that was the plan right from the start. There were too many blunders for them to actually have been, simply, blunders. The ‘mistakes’ were too catastrophic. The people the Bush administration chose to support and promote were openly and publicly terrible- from the conman and embezzler Chalabi, to the terrorist Jaffari, to the militia man Maliki. The decisions, like disbanding the Iraqi army, abolishing the original constitution, and allowing militias to take over Iraqi security were too damaging to be anything but intentional.
    The question now is, but why?”

  18. john stack says:

    The US handing Saddam Hussein over to the Shiites
    to kill at the season of Puntious Pilate ???
    The British were the first (and worst)to gas Kurds in 1926. Who will hang for it.
    Will US Equivelent to Saddam Hang for murder of innocent Iraquis.
    The Brits in Ireland found the hard way that making Martyrs cements a hatred that will not die

  19. W. Patrick Lang says:

    If you really think that Saddam was a CIA asset, you could not be more wrong.
    Do you really believe that? pl

  20. W. Patrick Lang says:

    “The decisions, like disbanding the Iraqi army, abolishing the original constitution, and allowing militias to take over Iraqi security were too damaging to be anything but intentional.”
    Utter crap. Let’s see, the logic is, what? That the US is so powerful and wise that if it does really, really stupid things then those stupid things must have been deliberate…
    If you are from the 3rd World, I hope that you see what a deep seated sense of inferiority that opinion reveals. pl

  21. meletius says:

    Juan Cole has post up today (12/30) concerning Saddam’s alleged involvement with the CIA. Seems limited to his early Baathist “career” in the 50s and 60s.

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It was Hussein, the Ba’ath, and fellow Sunni Arabs that broke Iraq.

  23. jonst says:

    Was SH an asset? I would not rule it out. However, I have not seen enough evidence to know for with relative degree of certainty. However, there are others who think he is/was. see here http://www.juancole.com/ under post titled “Top Ten Ways the US Enabled Saddam Hussein”. For the life of me, given history, I don’t see it is so outlandish that he was, at one time, of ‘value’ to the US.
    Arun, as to “why now?” Here is one person’s answer…to the extent you, or anyone else, is interested. See same link above with under post titled ” Saddam’s Execution and the Campaign Against Iran” by L. Alexandrovna. Finally

  24. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Juan Cole is saying that SH was involved in history, not that he was a “controlled asset” of the CIA or any other Western intelligence service.
    Now, think about his behavior since his capture. Was that the behavior of a man who at any time could have announced his supposed past history with the United states in court? Was it? Did it look to you as though he was shy about telling the world what he thought? pl

  25. ckrantz says:

    This was revenge not justice. He should have been handed over to the Hague court for a trial and everyone who enabled the regime pursued.

  26. Michael D. Adams says:

    Burned the last of our boats. Meanwhile the man who had the goods on the Bush crime family can no longer sing.
    You’d think the guy who blew “Iran-Contra”, out of the U.S media waters while nearly sinking the USS Stark would be owed a favor or two and at least get the firing squad.

  27. jonst says:

    No, you misunderstand me. Perhaps the fault was mine and I was not as clear as I might have been. I did not write that J Cole thought he was an asset. I wrote that “others” did. And demonstrated that by linking to JCole’s sight.
    I do not know what SH said after his capture. I only know snippets of it. The snippets they have permitted to be released to the US public. I repeat, I am not sold on the fact that he was an asset. Perhaps a long, long, time ago, maybe. But I have my doubts. However, if it is speculative logic I am to be guided by, I could just as soon make an argument that he felt it was it in his interest to keep his asset status quiet. Both as a supposed ace in the hole…and to avoid having his would be status as a martyr sullied by confession. Look, the guy is alleged to believe, even at the last minute when all in America knew Bush was going to invade, that Bush was bluffing. Perhaps he thought…..until it was far too late, that they, the US, were bluffing about turning him over for execution.
    One final time, I don’t necessarily buy all this. Nor, do I rule it out as so outlandish as to be beyond contemplation. That is all I am holding.

  28. Robert in SB says:

    I emailed Pat yesterday and asked him about opening a thread on Hussein’s hanging. I was interested in some of the better minds that post here to contribute. They have.

  29. Mo says:

    Did he deserve what he got? Absolutely.
    The verdict and punishment of his trial were beyond doubt. I seriously doubt he was dispatched so hurridley in order to silence him. As stated, there was nothing stopping him from announcing any damning evidence before now.
    If anyone wanted this done quickly, it was most likely the Shia in govt. The insurgency has long passed needing Saddam to function so I doubt his death will affect them one way or another. In fact, I would say the only people in any more threat as a result of the execution are coalition troops.

  30. Jim Schmidt says:

    Saddam’s death is “a punctuation mark” in a long saga of violence and abuse in a region long ignored until oil, the world wars, the cold war and our conflict with Iran put it at the center of world attention. My regret at the hanging is the lost opportunity to explore, in a controlled neutral setting, under the rule of law, the details of the crimes committed, and the complicity of the players involved. I believe the World Court could have, in their ponderous manner, provided such a forum. Now, the opportunity is lost. Saddam’s trial, by appearance, was primarily political and (possibly) executed as an attempt to jump start the Iraqi reconciliation. But, the partisan gloating and chanting now suggests otherwise. Worse, the manner of dispatch is reminiscent of frontier justice and we certainly could use less of that. In a dark moment, I could imagine the head of SH staked on a pike and lashed to a bridge crossing the Potomac. As a practical manner, will this make anything better, or is that missing the point?

  31. David E. Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I thought some of the readers of your blog might want to read Robert Fisk on this subject.
    Here is the link:

  32. Eaken says:

    Pat: He was a good CIA asset – he kept quiet until the end! Of course I am kidding.
    He had a certain relationship with the USA for sure but I don’t believe he was a CIA asset either. He was just dumb enough to be duped. He should have been hung for being an incompetent leader if nothing else.
    Only negative from this is that I think other ME leaders will reevaluate their relationship with the US with respect to what could ultimately be the end result. Perhaps they will decide to better leaders/rulers to their people. Perhaps I am dreaming which is more likely the case.

  33. Cloned Poster says:

    PL. I’ll rephrase that.. a betrayed CIA asset.

  34. John says:

    In executing Saddam, I think how Elizabeth 1st thought long and hard about executing Mary Queen of Scots. The fear of opening the door on regicide made her very leery.
    We seem to happily skip through the door without a thought of the law of unintended consequences.
    It just makes me think what a clueless bunch we have at the tiller.

  35. Different Clue says:

    Perhaps some of the confusion comes from being unclear on what “asset” means and on what an “asset”
    is. As a total layman, I am
    unclear myself. I imagine an “asset” of the Whatever Intelligence Agency to be someone who works for the WIA, receiving requests or instructions for specific kinds of information or for carrying out certain actions. And the WIA and the “asset” both formally know and understand the relationship, but no third party of any kind is supposed to have any knowledge or even idea of this ongoing working relationship. In other words, an “asset” would be a
    broader form of a “secret agent”. If that’s wrong, hopefully someone will briefly explain what an “asset” is.
    If I have it right, then Hussein looks more like a dupe than an asset, biting Baker’s baited hook the way he did. Or perhaps Baker was sending a subtle message: rectify the border, but ONLY the border?
    And Hussein lost his temper with that kind of clever chessmanship and decided he wouldn’t just rectify the border, he’d rectify it all?

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