A question about Saddam Hussein's death sentence
The display of Iran's military capabilities is intended to deter US war plans

Jerry Mazza
Online Journal
Monday, November 6, 2006

Since former Iraq president Saddam Hussein has been found guilty by a special tribunal of crimes against humanity, and is to be punished by hanging for the torture and execution of more than 100 people from a small town north of Baghdad 24 years ago, then what is the sentence that George Bush and Dick Cheney should receive for initiating a unilateral war against Iraq, based on information that was proven totally false and resulted in the following?

A study at Johns Hopkins University has determined that some 650,000 Iraqi citizens and members of the insurgency have been killed. Additionally, nearly 3,000 American soldiers have been killed for a war that should never have happened. Again I ask what should George Bush and Dick Cheney receive from an American or international court of justice for these resultant crimes?

What’s more, selecting this crime of Hussein raises more questions. Hussein was convicted of the executions of 148 men and boys from the town of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad. This was following a failed attempt at assassination against Saddam there in 1982. Hussein’s presidential convoy was riding through the town when it was shot at. In response, Iraqi officials then ordered hundreds of people rounded up. The town’s buildings were leveled and its orchards destroyed.

Additionally ten of the people executed were boys ranging in age from 11 to 17 at the time. They were held in jail untill age 18 and then hanged. None of this is pretty and most of it seems somewhat over the top. Yet Hussein himself asked, “Where is the crime?”

For instance if this had been an assassination attempt on George Bush riding somewhere, either at home or abroad, I wonder truly what the reaction would have been. We have heard him express his wrath against Hussein over the purported attempt on “his daddy’s (George HW Bush's) life,” in 1993.

Taking a closer look at that event, Seymour Hersh tells us in “A Case Not Closed,” in the November 1, 1993 New Yorker . . .

“A senior White House official recently told me that one of the seemingly most persuasive elements of the report had been overstated and was essentially incorrect. And none of the Clinton Administration officials I interviewed over a ten-week period this summer claimed that there was any empirical evidence -- a “smoking gun” -- directly linking Saddam or any of his senior advisers to the alleged assassination attempt. . . ."

Nevertheless, Hersh’s opening paragraph tells us, “On Saturday, June 26, 1993, twenty-three Tomahawk guided missiles, each loaded with a thousand pounds of high explosives, were fired from American Navy warships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea at the headquarters complex of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service, in downtown Baghdad. . . .

"Three of the million-dollar missiles missed their target and landed on nearby homes, killing eight civilians, including Layla al-Attar, one of Iraq’s most gifted artists. The death toll was considered acceptable by the White House; after all, scores of civilians had been killed in the Reagan Administration’s F-111 bombing attack on Muammar Qaddafi’s house-and-office complex in Tripoli Libya, in 1986. . . ."

So in essence it was a US over-the-top reaction to a basically unfounded claim. Yet, Bush II was still using this flawed excuse for vengeance (among others) as a reason to engage in an illegal war with Iraq in 2002-03. Bush’s main reasons were Saddam’s purported possession of nuclear weapons and his immediate intention to use them, all proven lies.

What’s more, we are now at a point in US history where anyone suspected of aiding or abetting “terrorism” can be summarily picked up, tortured, and disappeared in a “terrorist” prison for life. All of an individual’s assets can be frozen and a right to a trial or habeas corpus denied. Any suspected accessories to the fact can be hauled away as well for an indefinite period of time. So much for a reaction to a real or purported presidential assassination attempt: the possibilities are endless.

A last question arises as well. Wouldn’t one of Hussein’s more formidable and horrific crimes have been appropriate for the death sentence? Like the one in a second case Hussein is on trial for, in which he is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. This is for the killings of as many as 100,000 Kurds, many allegedly with poison gas, in the so-called Anfal campaign in 1987 and 1988. In fact, if the appeals panel rules against Hussein’s appeal for the significantly lesser Dujail crime and upholds his death sentence, Hussein could be executed before the conclusion of the second trial, which, if proved, more truly dramatizes the brutality and scope of Hussein’s offenses.

Why we would rush to hang him on the considerably lesser offense, and even make him a kind of martyr to his followers? Could it be that we need a pre-election day “hanging announcement” to bump up the ratings of a failing George Bush, his Republicans and their unsuccessful illegal Iraq war?

Unfortunately, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have yet to be indicted for genocide, murder or treason, let alone for their massive corruption and misuse of taxpayer money in Iraq. The real question is how long will we have to wait for these hard- earned Bush/Cheney trials?

 


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