I was walking through a WHSmith’s in Scotland on Dec 30 when I saw the front page headline of one of the tabloids there: “Saddam Hangs Today”.
I was mildly annoyed that my New Years thoughts were being interrupted by this spectacle. I was all for the execution of such an abominably evil human, and I could understand the desire of the Iraqi government to get it done with before the end of the year, but I was just irritated that the dawning of a new year would have to be sullied by what boils down to more Iraqi violence.
Then I got back to civilization and Internet and read accounts of the terrible job that the Iraqi government did of managing the execution, and then saw the row about the camera-phone video of the whole thing.
I watched the official version on YouTube and while I was somber about the fact that I was witnessing the ending of a human life (something which should never be cheered or disrespected), I was shocked and appalled at what a debacle it became.
First of all, the executioners are in plain clothes and wearing masks. Plain clothes!? Who the hell decided that? It looks exactly like it shouldn’t. It looks like a lynch mob.
But then, just to make things worse, the executioners themselves begin yelling at and insulting Hussein. Suddenly, what should have been the righteous delivery of justice for atrocious crimes becomes a crime in itself. The executioners yelling at and insulting the condemned!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!
Sad. Very sad.
It just reveals the ugly naked truth that there was nothing impartial about either the trial of Saddam or the carrying out of its final verdict. Anyone who looks at that video sees only retribution and personal vendetta. It should have been a professional act of a government at least pretending to be impartial, but it was plain for anyone to see, Shiite or Sunni, that the Iraqi government is nothing but a gang of religously motivated thugs.
Any politician should know, especially when doing something despicable, it’s the veneer of civility that allows the public to stomach what you are doing. Even that idiot George W. knew that. Sadly, the Iraqis, who have far more to lose, are not even that smart.
New Year’s predicitons for Iraq: continued sectarian violence escalating to complete civil war when the bulk of American forces are pulled out in Q4. Investors can expect heavy losses and to see a lot of red. The only black will be the uniforms of the militias who will continue to spread and take over the country town by town, Taliban style.
But hey, the good news is we’ll have a great view of the chaos from our new $500 million embassy.