The Execution of Saddam Hussein

Posted on December 3rd, 2006 in Politics by EngineerBoy

With startling speed, Saddam Hussein was executed last night. Mynagirl and I were enjoying a quiet evening at home with CNN Headline News playing as background noise when the news reports started. First it was that Hussein would be executed before the end of the year. Then it was that he would be executed some time this weekend. Then it was that he would be executed some time Friday evening. Then it was that he would be executed at dawn in Baghdad (10pm Eastern time).

Then he was dead, at 10:05pm Eastern. Just like that. I mean, yes, his trial had been ongoing, and the war seems endless, and I think we all knew he was going to end up dead. But to an American used to our justice system’s endless death sentence appeals process this felt closer to a lynching than an execution. Not that I think he was a railroaded innocent, or anything, it’s just that it seemed to happen without warning or preamble.

Which may have been the point. In a country so beset with violence it may be that such swift execution of his…execution…was necessary from a security perspective. If the date had been set days/weeks/months in advance then the date would have become a big, juicy target for symbolic actions. Doing the entire thing over the course of a few hours meant that anyone wanting to strike a symbolic blow in concert with the execution would have had to have a plan already in place and ready to go at a moments notice – and it looks like nobody did.

It would be foolish not to expect some aftershocks to this, however, and I will not be surprised when dramatic actions are taken in response. However, I have a perhaps naive feeling that the responses won’t be too grandiose, as I don’t believe that Hussein has much direct support for himself as a person, only as a power-base. So while Sunnis will lament the loss of their ascendancy and will dislike their new position as a persecuted minority, I don’t think that they’ll actually miss Hussein himself, only the protections he offered (and maintained with ruthless violence and oppression).

The saddest part of this entire story, to me, is that although he was a maniacal bastard, Saddam Hussein had tried to set Iraq up as the only secular country in the entire region. Iraq was not ruled by the Islamic Sharia laws, but by a western-style set of courts and laws. Women and Christians had positions of power within the government and the business world. Hussein hoped to spread secular rule across the Arab world, with Iraq leading the way, naturally.

Stop for a moment and consider that fact. Saddam Hussein took Iraq and molded it into a country that was tolerant of religious differences (except when those differences opposed the rule of Hussein), championed the rights of women, rejected fanatical Islam and the Sharia law that rules the rest of the Islamic world, and instituted a reasonable facsimile of a fair and just court system. One only has to consider how quickly Iraq devolved into sectarian violence after his fall to understand the monumental nature of his achievements. However, while his ends may have had some noble facets, his means were definitely unacceptable to the civilized world. Using nerve gas against his own people, fomenting a brutal war with Iran, invading Kuwait.

That was perhaps his fatal mistake. The US tolerates evil dictators all around the world all the time. However, when Iraq invaded Kuwait that immediately doubled the world oil supply under Hussein’s control from 10% to 20%. This worried the US and the UK. It also worried Saudi Arabia. Kuwait had been no friend of the US up to this point, and was in fact aligned with Russia. However, the US and Russia worked together in the UN to give Iraq a deadline for leaving Kuwait. Hussein responded in an amazingly intelligent way – he said he would withdraw from Kuwait if Israel would return the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to Palestinian rule. This of course set up a situation where those supporting the US also appeared to be supporting Israel, creating even more confusion over his invasion of Kuwait. In the end the US and allies ignored any connection to the Palestinian issue and moved in to chase Iraq out of Kuwait.

That’s really when the wheels started to come off for Saddam Hussein. Opposition increased in his own country, and the US amazingly aided him by suspending no-fly zones to allow him to suppress uprisings in the north. Then in 1993 the Iraq Intelligence Service attempted to assassinate President George H. W. Bush during a visit to Kuwait. This was the beginning of the end for Saddam’s regime. The US and UN continued to find Iraq in violation of edicts prohibiting the development of WMDs. Saddam began portraying himself as a devout Muslim in an effort to court the proponents of the growing radical Islamic movement, and he also re-instituted some of the Sharia laws.

President Clinton maintained the economic sanctions and imposition of military restraints on Iraq, and continued to work with the UN to inspect Iraq facilities to ensure that WMDs were not being developed. Hussein, of course, bristled under this micromanagement of *his* country and so was resistant and uncooperative with inspections and reporting.

The ultimate irony is that if Hussein had simply let the inspections happen, he’d probably still be in power today, as we have since discovered that he was definitely not developing weapons of mass destruction. It appears that his resistance to inspections was more about megalomania and paranoia than about protecting secret programs. However, by not allowing the UN to write him a clean bill of health, Hussein left the door open for the…creative development?…of “intelligence” showing that he was developing WMDs and was also in cahoots with Al Qaeda (which we also now know was completely untrue).

Now, stop and think about that again for a moment. Somebody somewhere in the US government purposely falsified intelligence showing development of WMDs and cahooting with Al Qaeda. The upper echelons of the executive branch accepted this so-called “intelligence” even in the face of clear and compelling evidence showing the exact opposite. Not only did the White House ignore such evidence, it vilified those who dared to raise a voice in opposition to the war, and squashed any initiatives that attempted to gather information for alternative realities.

When you put the facts together it is difficult to come up with an explanation more plausible than the one where the White House orchestrated the entire thing, or at least used extreme selectivity in evaluating intelligence to lead the US into an inevitable war. We, the people, were thirsting for vengeance at the time, and our seemingly good work in Afghanistan whetted our appetites for a little more democracy-spreading. And regardless of any trumped-up evidence, there is no way to stand and defend Saddam Hussein as an innocent. But, why him, and why then? In cases such as this it’s always easiest for me to follow the money, as you’ll see below.

Accomplishments in Iraq:

  • A ruthless dictator has been deposed.
  • Iraq has devolved into sectarian violence.
  • Iraqi citizens are dying at a rate that is greater, by orders of magnitude, than the rate they died under Saddam’s regime.
  • Three thousand plus US soldiers have been killed.
  • Radical, Islamic fundamentalism is spreading like wildfire in the region.
  • Israel is rattling their nuclear sabers, even though they won’t say they have them.
  • Iran is very close to acquiring nuclear sabers.
  • An ineffective, US-slavish, puppet “government” has been installed.
  • The revenue for Iraq’s oil is going to…who, exactly?

So, only one good thing in that list (deposition of tyrant). And the last entry, well, that’s the $64,000(,000,000) question now, isn’t it? Who, exactly, is controlling Iraq’s oil? I have zero facts about that, but I will take a good guess that somebody like Halliburton is raking in huge “management fees” for administering Iraq’s oil reserves. Iraq has a GDP of around $94 billion, 95% of which comes from oil. So let’s call it $90 billion per year.

If you figure, conservatively, that the US will be involved in “managing” the Iraqi oil reserves for, let’s say, 10 years, that’s about $1 trillion factoring in normal inflation rates. Also figure that we’ll continue to lose, what?…somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 troops per year on average over that time? So that gives us the following equation:

$1,000,000,000,000 / 8,000 lost troops = $125,000,000 per dead soldier

Now, there are factors here other than oil. So let’s take away 10% of that for the general good of deposing a dictator. And, let’s let W have 5% for the revenge factor of deposing the maniac what almost kilt his daddy. That leaves $106,250,000 per dead soldier in the pursuit of oil. Now, do the soldiers families get any of that? I mean, even a broker gets a 10% commission for finding a deal – shouldn’t these soldiers families get at least that? That would be $10,625,000 per family, by my calculations.

Keep in mind that as unrest grows in the Middle East, and fanatical Islamism spreads, and the worlds supply of oil is threatened, the price of oil will continue to rise. Hmm. So a cynical man might say that the President’s buddies in the oil patch are not only profiting from the Iraqi invasion, but will also profit handsomely from continued unrest in the area? And the US government executive actions have served almost exactly and precisely to foment continued unrest in the area? That’s just curious now, isn’t it?

Also, if the US government is so worried about the welfare of the world, why aren’t we in the Sudan helping to quell the genocide in Darfur? Accepted statistics state 400,000 dead so far. Oh, wait, they only produce $5 billion per year from oil – guess that’s not enough to cost-justify an invasion?

I will finish this rant by stating that while I am reasonably intelligent and definitely opinionated, I am ignorant of the specifics of what drove us to invade Iraq and of what’s going on with Iraq’s oil. Please don’t tell me to “research it”, because the only thing that research will reveal is what story is being told by those in control. It won’t tell me what’s transpiring in back rooms and undisclosed locations. It won’t tell me whether or not we invaded Iraq to depose a dictator, to “liberate” their oil reserves to US control, to take revenge for an attempted assassination, and/or for other reasons altogether. That is information that I will never know, unless it comes out in W’s posthumous writings, or some investigative journalist grows a pair and actually digs up the facts.

And so I am left to piece together the “truth” from what little slivers of facts are actually available. And the puzzle pieces fit together to form a very ugly picture, indeed.

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