Of course the big question is, "What to do now?"
Bringing back memories of Nicolae Ceausescu's sudden execution as the coup-de-grace of the Warsaw Pact's implosion, Saddam was turned over to Iraqi "authorities" after a US judge denied a stay of execution appeal, and was summarily strung up high without much further ado.
The Bush Administration is undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief right now, but not for the reasons most might expect. Saddam is dead, and ostensibly someone else did the dirty deed.
Wash your hands Mr. Pilate.
Like most successful Mafias, the extended criminal network surrounding the Bush Administration does its job best when people don't talk much. Especially people who, "know too much." Everyone's seen the Godfather movies where people get "rubbed out" before they can "talk."
Rings so "familiar" right now.
Saddam was ostensibly executed for the crime of ordering a reprisal against Shiites, resulting in the deaths of 148 people. He was also awaiting trial for the Nerve Gassing of a Kurdish village. The Bush administration really didn't want that trial to happen. What hasn't been widely discussed in the mass media, but is available all over the internet, is information that none other than Donald Rumsfeld SUPPLIED the deadly gas to Saddam, and arranged for payoffs and special favors for him so long as he DID gas the Kurds, so the CIA, etc. could see how the stuff really worked in combat.
Not only that, but now they had him marked as a super-bad brutal bastard, evil prince of darkness, swarthy mustachioed caricature of Public Enemy Number One, ready for deployment when necessary.
And soon to deploy him they were...
In 1989, Michael Gorbachev declined to support the suppression of demonstrators in East Germany by refusing to send Russian forces to help quell growing unrest. The head of the East German Secret Police then refused the President's order to shoot people demonstrating to open the Brandenburg Gate.
Then suddenly (on my 25th birthday no less) the Gates swung open wide and the Cold War was officially over as the newly freed multitudes roamed the Berlin streets, looking for a good discotheque.
It was "The End of History."
The "Peace Dividend" would wash over us all like a warm, gentle, breeze.
A few people had other plans in mind...
During the Iran-Iraq War, the Kuwaitis had occupied some extremely oil-rich land that Iraq claimed vigorously was its own.
Soon the Kuwaitis started aggressively expanding on their practice of "slant drilling" even further into Iraq oilfields from platforms based on Kuwaiti soil.
Saddam emphatically protested this to the Kuwaitis, OPEC, and the US State Department, but to no avail.
April Glaspie, US Ambassador to Iraq, visited Saddam in August of 1989 and said that the US considered the border dispute an "internal matter" between the two countries, one in which the US would not intervene or choose a side.
Ha Ha... Fooled Ya!!!
Hussein took the bait and invaded Kuwait, and to have heard George Bush 41's outcry, you'd have thought he'd converted the entire population under age 12 into party-sized sausage links.
The massive propaganda machine sprung into action and before you could say "Open Sesame" we'd mustered half a million troops and a coalition of the fellow faux-indignant and the term "Peace Dividend" was officially dropped from polite conversation.
We HAD to invade, right? They were "killing babies", weren't they?
Well... maybe not.
Don't forget, fellow Americans, that you live in a country where Public Relations, Advertising, and Spin is the one thing that we do, and will probably always do, so far much better than the rest of the world that it's not even funny. That gun is actually pointed though, most of the time, at you. You're sold a fraudulent bill of goods so often that it's truly almost impossible to make clear sense of anything.
But try we must, so onward through this meandering eulogy (or should I say, obituary) we slog...
Compared to most rulers in the Middle East, Saddam Hussein was kind of a liberal.
Don't misunderstand what I mean. It's pretty clear that he was a paid CIA asset, much like Noriega of Panama, and a bloodthirsty and ruthless sonovabitch of the first order for pretty much all of his adult life. This clearly makes him someone you don't want sitting on your local school board. I also most assuredly wouldn't have wanted to be an administration-ripping sarcastic political journalist in Baghdad circa 1987 (or 1998), because I'm rather attached to my fingernails, and I only like my private parts touched with love, not electrodes.
But women in Baghdad could wear skirts. And pants. And walk around without headscarves. Women assumed prominent roles throughout layers of society that were unthinkable in most "conservative" Muslim countries. They also made up a significant percentage of university students on all levels and had successful careers in almost every profession.
Sunnis and Shiites and Christians and even Jews lived in relative peace and harmony, more or less worshipped as they chose, and largely minded their own business. Saddam was an avowed Secularist and Modernist, a relative rarity in the region. Oil revenues bought him a lot of friends and the Baath party was a very effective control mechanism that didn't resort to actual torture to enforce its will nearly as often as the popular imagination would have it. Certainly not the fifty plus bodies riddled with power drill holes that turn up on the streets each morning in today's sado-state.
Cross Saddam, and you were screwed. Otherwise, it wasn't so bad for a third-world Arab country, at least for most people.
I live in a relativist world, it's true. But I can hardly imagine that most Iraqis prefer the unholy carnage, social disintegration, environmental devastation and infrastructural paralysis that is today's grand orgy of violence in their country to the relative peace and tranquility of the Hussein Administration.
It's twisted when you think of it. We've gone in and FUBAR'ed the place so bad that Saddam Freakin' Hussein looks like a Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning. Between false flag covert ops and kick-in-the-door raids and the strafing and bombing of civilian targets and the raiding of hospitals we've completely destroyed any possible credibility we might have had in prosecuting Saddam for the many crimes of unspeakable cruelty he undoubtedly committed.
But I can count.
The Lancet estimated earlier this year that as many as six hundred and fifty thousand "surplus deaths" were caused by the effects of the war since the US invasion. This causal relationship is reinforced by the fact that the overwhelming majority of these surplus deaths were caused by gunshot wounds or other effects of combat or munitions. Even if the report is hugely overblown by a factor of five hundred percent, that still means that US actions in Iraq have directly caused the deaths of a hundred and thirty THOUSAND people, minimum.
People who didn't have to die so soon. People who wanted to live in their homes, raise their children, and pursue their dreams, no matter how hard that must have been in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
They didn't pick him. It was the CIA that picked Saddam to run Iraq for them. They're the ones who gave him the extra help he needed to hold that famous convocation of the Baath Party where he read off a list of names and those who were named were lead outside to holding cells. The party members who remained were told that the ones who had been escorted out were traitors, and the people remaining were the ones he knew were loyal to him. Then he said that those who were certified for the Saddam inner circle would get a chance to show their loyalty the next morning when they made up the firing squad for the guys now waiting outside the hall in cells.
Trust me, the CIA loved this guy. The more ruthless and brutal, the better. Especially in a country where the ground below contained the sweetest and easiest-to-get-at black gold on the planet.
So they waited, and helped, and worked with him, and made sure he had plenty of weapons, especially when he'd swap them for some Soviet models he'd managed to buy from the Russians. Saddam was their boy, and he served many useful functions for American empire, not all of them witting.
But sometimes you just outlive your usefulness. Saddam's role as cooperative thug morphed beautifully into his slayer-of-the-peace-dividend costume and then ultimately into schemer-to-nuke-us-all (or at least Israel). This ultimately was held up as the raison-de-etre for the current disaster we're quick-sanding down to the absolute nub.
Now what do we do?
Saddam Hussein is dead, along with another sixty six other Iraqis, six American GIs, and a Brit from the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. And that's just today.
What do we do tomorrow?
I've got a suggestion...
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