Friday, January 05, 2007

Another Rat Overboard

When you've lost Krauthammer...
Of the 6 billion people on this Earth, not one killed more people than Saddam Hussein. And not just killed but tortured and mutilated -- doing so often with his own hands and for pleasure. It is quite a distinction to be the preeminent monster on the planet. If the death penalty was ever deserved, no one was more richly deserving than Saddam Hussein.

For the Iraqi government to have botched both his trial and execution, therefore, and turned monster into victim, is not just a tragedy but a crime -- against the new Iraq that Americans are dying for and against justice itself. [This is totally not hyperbolic at all, nope.]

(...)

The execution [was] a rushed, botched, unholy mess that exposed the hopelessly sectarian nature of the Maliki government.

Consider the timing. It was carried out on a religious holiday. We would not ordinarily care about this[!], except for the fact that it was in contravention of Iraqi law. It was done on the first day of Eid al-Adha as celebrated by Sunnis. The Shiite Eid began the next day, which tells you in whose name the execution was performed.

It was also carried out extra-constitutionally. The constitution requires a death sentence to have the signature of the president and two vice presidents, each representing one of the three major ethnic groups in the country (Sunni, Shiite and Kurd). That provision is meant to prevent sectarian killings. The president did not sign. Nouri al-Maliki contrived some work-around. [Probably a signing statement.]

(...)

Maliki's rush to execute short-circuited the judicial process that was at the time considering Hussein's crimes against the Kurds. He was hanged for the killing of 148 men and boys in the Shiite village of Dujail. This was a perfectly good starting point -- a specific incident as a prelude to an inquiry into the larger canvas of his crimes. The trial for his genocidal campaign against the Kurds was just beginning.

That larger canvas will never be painted. The starting point became the endpoint. The only charge for which Hussein was executed was that 1982 killing of Shiites....

...Saddam Hussein will now never be tried for the Kurdish genocide, the decimation of the Marsh Arabs, the multiple war crimes and all the rest.

Finally, there was the motley crew -- handpicked by the government -- that constituted the hanging party. They turned what was an act of national justice into a scene of sectarian vengeance. The world has now seen the smuggled video of the shouting and taunting that turned Saddam Hussein into the most dignified figure in the room -- another remarkable achievement in burnishing the image of the most evil man of his time.

Worse was the content of the taunts: "Moqtada, Moqtada," the name of the radical and murderous Shiite extremist whose goons were obviously in the chamber. The world saw Hussein falling through the trapdoor, executed not in the name of a new and democratic Iraq but in the name of Moqtada al-Sadr, whose death squads have learned much from Hussein.

The whole sorry affair illustrates not just incompetence but also the ingrained intolerance and sectarianism of the Maliki government. It stands for Shiite unity and Shiite dominance above all else.

We should not be surging American troops in defense of such a government. This governing coalition -- Maliki's Dawa, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Sadr's Mahdi Army -- seems intent on crushing the Sunnis at all costs. Maliki should be made to know that if he insists on having this sectarian war, he can well have it without us.
Seriously, for Chuck Krauthammer not to be happy about Saddam's execution... it's like they fucked up Christmas.

And he's not down with Operation Surge And Awe either. Forget more troops - what Dubya really needs is more Kool-Aid.

2 comments:

sunrunner said...

While the taunting and hollering was bad enough, the most *sacriligeous* aspect of what this lynching party did was to pull the hanging lever before Saddam had a chance to finish reciting Shahada (statement of faith), which all Muslims are supposed to recite at the moment of death. And the thing which made him, in the minds of many, a martyr...

Eli said...

Ah, I remember that and thinking that that was pretty... off. Since when is the condemned not allowed to finish his say?

I think the whole thing was more about being a big fuck-you to the Sunnis than anything else, though. Like the fact that it was the first day of the Sunni Eid, but not the Shi'ite one, with the implication that only the Shi'ite Eid counts.