Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Who deserved to be hanged? Saddam or …?

The execution of Iraq's former president Saddam Hussein has wracked with controversy worldwide. The execution has provoked intense questions about whether his trial was fair and about what the fallout will be. One thing is certain: The trial and execution of Saddam were about revenge, not justice. Instead of promoting national reconciliation, this act of revenge helped Saddam portray himself one last time as a symbol of Sunni Arab resistance, and became one more incitement to sectarian warfare.

Saddam Hussein was tried under the shadow of a foreign military occupation, by a government full of his personal enemies. The first judge, an ethnic Kurd, resigned because of government interference in the trial; the judge who took his place was also Kurdish and had grievances against the accused. Three of Saddam's defense lawyers were shot down in cold blood. The surviving members of his defense team went on strike to protest the lack of protection afforded them. The court then appointed new lawyers who had no expertise in international law. Most of the witnesses against Saddam gave hearsay evidence. The trial ground slowly but certainly toward the inevitable death verdict.

No doubt it all was about Iraq, and the nightmare that millions of Iraqis went through during Saddam's brutal two-decade reign. Saddam created and ruled over a system that destroyed the lives of countless Shia and Kurd Iraqis, and many Sunnis too. Saddam's trial could reverse this and begin a process whereby the Iraqi people will begin to respect the rule of law. But didn’t the US raids on Iraq in the post gulf-war era even more horrendous. Thousands of innocents have died in the US led attacks!

It is unfortunate the path we took to kill him lead him to martyrdom, but that is another point.

My question is:

Does anyone wonder why Bush feels more inclined to pursue justice for Iraqis than he does for Americans?

His mouth pieces have been out all week speaking about how pointless it is to pursue Osama bin Laden, and how his capture and execution wouldn't fix anything. I guess if Bush sincerely wanted Osama dead (like his urge for Saddam), he could have been hanged right next to Saddam’s gallows!!!

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