Monday, January 01, 2007

Division Over Saddam's Execution

Many conservative bloggers have pilloried Howling Latina for allowing her deep-seated abhorrence to capital punishment get in the way of their cheering and jeering at Saddam Hussein's demise.

Although for HL the swiftness in carrying out the sentence that denied justice to the Iraqi Kurds is a side issue since state-sanctioned murder is the key for her, Iraqi Kurds have to feel more than a little betrayed by the Iraqi puppet government. No historic record for posterity to record and judge.

Recently, Juan Cole of wrote an excellent article identifying the stakeholders of the sordid Iraqi past with exceptional analysis and context.

[H]e was accused of the execution of scores of Shiites in Dujail in 1982. This Shiite town had been a hotbed of activism by the Shiite fundamentalist Dawa (Islamic Call) Party, which was founded in the late 1950s and modeled on the Communist Party. In the wake of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini's 1979 Islamic Revolution in neighboring Iran, Saddam conceived a profound fear of Dawa and similar parties, banning them and making membership a capital crime. Young Dawa leaders such as al-Maliki fled to Tehran, Iran, or Damascus, Syria.

When Saddam visited Dujail, Dawa agents attempted to assassinate him. In turn, he wrought a terrible revenge on the town's young men. Current Prime Minister al-Maliki is the leader of the Dawa Party and served for years in exile in its Damascus

So as one can clearly see, the butcher of Baghdad didn't suddenly wake up one morning and decide he wanted to wipe out an entire town or a whole ethnic group because they didn't deserve to live, or he didn't like them; no concentration camps or experimental labs with Shiite or Kurd twins.

Indeed, for more context on the subject, here are a few paragraphs from a Nov. 30, 1982 Washington Post article on the subject:

The secular government of Iraq is imposing strict security measures on the Shiite religious majority to guard against an Islamic revolution while at the same time sprucing up mosques in a bid to win Shiite loyalty.

The secret police continues to arrest and execute members of the Shiite Dawa Party on charges of planning urban guerrilla attacks, according to Iraqi government officials. Dawa seeks to promote a religious upheaval similar to the one in neighboring Iran, but the number of its bombings has dropped sharply since a major clampdown that included mass deportations of Shiites in 1979 and 1980.

Iranian radio broadcasts regularly urge Iraqi Shiites to rebel, and Iran's Army is seeking to invade Iraq and bring it the revolution by force in the two nations' 26-month-old war. Such a change would seriously threaten the stability of Saudi Arabia and other pro-Western Persian Gulf Arab oil states, but Western and Asian diplomats report that the Iraqi government appears to be strong enough to contain any unrest unless Iran wins militarily.

The Iraqi government, dominated by members of the Sunni rather than the Shiite branch of Islam, also is trying to buy the Shiites' support by renovating their shrines and providing them with improved social services.

New Italian marble tiles, funded by the government and President Saddam Hussein personally, brighten the courtyard around the gold-domed mosque here housing the tomb of the prophet Mohammed's cousin and son-in-law, Ali. Shiites in particular revere the shrine, because they believe that religious authority has passed down a line of succession going back to Ali and his son Hussein. Iran's Shiite leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, prayed at the mosque daily during 14 years that he spent in exile here. Iraq accused Iran of bearing much responsibility for the spate of terrorism, and the series of attacks fueled tensions that helped lead to the

Diplomats say the secret police have succeeded in infiltrating the party and arresting many militants. Baghdad residents say there has not been a major terrorist attack since August, when a car loaded with explosives drove into the lobby of the Planning Ministry and blew up, killing or wounding dozens.

The crackdown three years ago included deportation of tens of thousands of persons
of Persian, Shiite origin. Conservative estimates say that 40,000 people have been forced to leave the country in the past five years, while some responsible sources say that the number is well over 100,000."[...]The government has been careful to include the Shiites in its ambitious development plans. The provincial governor in Najaf boasted of a $200 million cement project and several 400-bed hospitals built recently. New water, sewage and electricity facilities have been constructed in the poor Shiite district in the capital of Baghdad that previously was called Al Thawra but now has been renamed Saddam City in honor of the president.

Cole is right when he says that Saddam's execution "look[s] to Sunni Arabs more like a sectarian reprisal than a dispassionate trial for crimes against humanity. " And in talking to more than a few expats in Egypt, it looks that way to Westerners as well.

That's right, lifelong Republicans from deep red states are ready to vote for Hillary Clinton, yes, Hillary, because of the mess Bush has made in the Middle East, which Saddam's execution is simply the latest manifestation.

Remember, around the time Saddam killed his fellow countrymen for which he was tried and found guilty for crimes against humanity, Rumsfeld was visiting "Baghdad as a friend of the Reagan administration to shake the hand of Saddam Hussein and offer America's help against the ayatollahs during the Iran Iraq War."

Wonder ye my conservative bloggers why the howling outrage from this death penalty opponent at the hypocrisy of the Bush administration about crimes against humanity after a previous wink and a nod from our own U.S. government?!?

The dark truth of our involvement in arming Hussein is not even about Democrats or Republicans. During the Cold War years, every president shared the same foreign policy imperative of siding with the enemies of our then number one enemy: the Soviet Union.

Both political parties were wrong. Two, or three, or four wrongs never make a right; and as a nation, we now pay the tragic price for our previous folly.

ALL the US players, be they DEMOCRAT or REPUBLICAN, need to be called out whenever they exploit another conntries people for the "corporatacaracy."

It makes enemies for the U.S., it does not benefit the American people, and it takes out the heads of state that the people choose and imposes dictatorships....The American people don't "advocate this....if they only knew "half" of what is done in their names...

We need to leave other countries alone and support the 'native" people in each conntry (not just their exiles...) and allow the folk who live "in" a nation decide what is best for them.

It's pathetic that conservatives cheer the inevitable execution of Saddam as the only excuse left to somehow "justify" this war. Saddam's killing has changed nothing on the ground in that country, except perhaps made it worse. I don't believe for a moment, and neither do most Americans now, that the deaths of 3,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis was worth it just to get Saddam to hang. Let the ever dwindling number of war supporters cheer if they will. But Saddam's death changed nothing. The death penalty never does.
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