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This dictator is dead!

Like the blue plumaged bird of the famed sketch, Saddam is kaput. Dead. Gone where the goblins go. Not breathing. Deceased. Finis. Done in. No longer dictatiting.

I only wish I had heard the news before i returned from the after hours club celebarations. I would have drunk an extra pint to celebrate the first day of his non-existence and the glory of a Saddam-free New Year!

I guess I will have to toast his departure tonight instead. I will raise high a Guinness to celebrate the first night of an infinite number he will spend toasting in a slightly different way.

89 comments to This dictator is dead!

  • M4-10

    Sic semper tyrannus.

    I toasted his demise at 6am Iraqi time with other mates at work with Anthon Berg chocolate liquers. The toast was “Death to Tyrants”. Quite a day.

  • Bill Dooley

    Ding Dong! The Witch is dead.

  • Winger

    Justice has been done but can’t we let him go with the dignity that he denied others? He was an evil, vicious man who willing corrupted others. Let that die with him. The real question is: who’s next.

  • Mary Ayn Rand

    So, he’s dead.

    Does that mean that suddenly everyone in Iraq gets a pony?

    Does it change a sodding thing in Iraq?

    Does it mean that we won?

    Does it mean anything other than some right bleeding bastard got what was coming to him?

    So, go ahead. Celebrate.

    Tomorrow, Iraq will still be the same quagmire. Tomorrow, more US servicemembers will be killed, more innocent Iraqi civilians will be killed by Americans, British, Shi’a and Sunnis. A LOT more innocent than not.

    Iraq still won’t have clean water, working sewers, reliable electricity or a working government.

    SO they hanged Saddam. What does it mean?

    “Don’t mean sheeeee-it!” to quote Mr. Natural.

    Happy New Year.

  • HRW(Link) and AI(Link) both condemned the execution. (As well as Mary Ayn Rand above.) Now don’t you feel terrible?

  • Perry E. Metzger

    Although I think the war was an extreme mistake, Saddam Hussein was an exceptionally brutal dictator, and the one good result of the whole fiasco was the fact that he is no longer in a position to kill and torture. If the death penalty is ever reasonable, certainly a man who orders the murders of hundreds of thousands would be high on the list of those who would deserve it.

    It is altogether too rare for dictators to meet justice — much more often, they are never tried or punished for their crimes. At least, in the midst of this horrible mess we created, Saddam Hussein ended his life in a prison facing justice, not in a villa wondering what sort of wine to have with dinner.

  • fiona

    On balance, GW Bush has murdered far more people than Saddam ever did. When do we get to see Bush hang?

  • On balance, GW Bush has murdered far more people than Saddam ever did. When do we get to see Bush hang?

    Huh?

  • I think the execution of Saddam was a necessary evil.

    Still, the State killing its citizens – especially via the civil justice system – leaves me unsettled, even when it’s killing a murderous bastard like Saddam Hussein.

  • Eric Sivula Jr.

    Don’t mind fiona, she is from Bizarro world where Bush has ruled a third world hellhole for 30 years, letting his boys rape thousands, and gassing folks who are more civilized than him, and the moon is a blob of green cheese.

    Her outlook has precious little to do with reality.

  • Eric Sivula Jr.

    No malice intended here.

    So James, would you prefer that he had been hanged by the families of his victims, ala Mussolini? Better that he be killed by individuals than by the state?

  • thor fishkind

    Top of the morn and Saddam’s feet are swinging in the wind! What a great day it is. Maybe tomorrow it’ll be Castro’s turn.

  • Julian Taylor

    When you consider all the Iraqis, Iranians, Kurds and various other peoples that evil bastard murdered, in ever increasingly foul ways, then you might spare a moment or two of remembrance for his victims, rather than for Saddam Hussein.

    After being given the opportunity to beg forgiveness or to confess his crimes in the presence of the judges, he was led to a cell which was bare except for floor cushions, where he prayed, read the Koran and drank water as he prepared himself for the end.

    … which was considerably more than Hussein ever gave his murdered victims who either died in screaming agony or were often buried alive. Personally I feel that his execution should have been made public, in order that Iraqis could clearly see and believe that a man who made their lives a living hell for so many years was finally dead.

    I might hazard that many should consider this prior to selecting ‘barking moonbat’ mode on their keyboards.

  • kc

    Fiona,

    Who did Bush murder?

  • Eric: neither. I’m afraid I agree with The Economist(Link):

    capital punishment [is] wrong in itself, however wicked the guilty party

  • I hate the way the link button adds “link” in parentheses, as if we didn’t already realise it was a link. Someone who needs a written indication of where a link is must be so net-unsavvy that they wouldn’t know what a link is, anyway. Sheesh.

  • Eric Sivula Jr

    Fair enough, James. Opposing capital punishment does not warrant an apology, even if others, like me, hold a differing view. Or were you apologizing for agreeing with the Economist? ;)

    I was just curious because I had noticed you comment on Saddam becoming an ex-Ba’athist here and Tim Blair’s, and was curious on your reasoning.

    Anyway, have a good New Years.

  • guy herbert

    Quite apart from the problem with capital punishment, where I agree with James, there are two other problems with this rejoicing.

    1. The mode of trial if anything serves to reinforce notions of law that are common in the Middle East and inimical to a genuine rule of law, viz – that trial and punishment exist to confirm who has the power, that defending is dishonourable and unsafe, and the result is not in doubt. (That’s also why those who would go further down Julian’s road and support public execution, humiliation or very brutal methods of killing as justified by the crime are wrong: it confirms the culture of torture and vendetta.)

    2. Killing a dictator after he’s been deposed doesn’t really solve anything. This is not MAR’s point (though I think it is valid), but a broader one: there’ll be another one along in a minute. Most dictators are killed by their successors, with some pretense of trial. It is the dictatorial political culture that needs to be killed, and that’s a lot more difficult. It seems to be thriving everywhere. (Often dressed up in illiberal democracy.)

  • Jacob

    “Does it mean anything other than some right bleeding bastard got what was coming to him?”

    No. It does not mean “anything other”. But a “bastard getting what was coming to him” is reason enough to rejoice.

    “Killing a dictator after he’s been deposed doesn’t really solve anything. “

    Still, it’s worth doing, and the more, the better.

    “It is the dictatorial political culture that needs to be killed.. “
    Yes, but it’s a tall order. It does not mean we must abstain from doing what we can … killing one tyrant at a time

    “there’ll be another one along in a minute…”
    Maybe. So we’ll have to try to kill the other one too.

  • Who, me?

    Saddam’s execution, like all govt actions, is just to validate the people who call for it. I don’t particularly oppose the death penalty in principle, although this differs from a normal one in that thousands of innocent people had to be killed in the invasion/occupation to make it possible; we seldom blow away the next door neighbor of a common murderer.

    So where’s Perry, friend of the common Iraqi, to tell us the war is a success even if Iraq turns into a giant Bosnia (i.e. his use of Yugoslavia as an example of ‘success’) and that he was willing to risk leaving a monster like Saddam in power by wanting the govt to ‘sell’ the war w/ things other than false WMD claims and lies about rose petals being thrown at ‘our’ feet?

    Any doubt the govt expressed concerning what a WMD threat Saddam was or how difficult the occupation would be would have derailed the pre-invasion propoganda and left Saddam in power, and Perry would have been responsible. That’s the logical conclusion of Perry’s attempts to distance himself from the lies that brought us to this point.

  • guy herbert

    Yes, but it’s a tall order.

    Which I did point out myself.

    It does not mean we must abstain from doing what we can … killing one tyrant at a time

    It does if “killing one tyrant at a time” is counterproductive in the particular case. Or even if it is merely useless (as I suspect it most often is).

  • IMHO, the biggest mistake Bush and co. have made was justifying the war almost exclusively on the basis of the WMD threat, regardless of whether that threat was real or merely perceived. The second biggest mistake may have been the apparent expectation of the outcome of this war being modeled on the outcome of WWII in Germany and Japan, where the defeated nations, having had their tyrants removed from power (and some executed by hanging), did not proceed to slaughtering each other in a civil war. Does all this mean that this war was not justified on other grounds?

  • b

    Im just frustrated that no images or video of him actually hanging and flopping arent on the net yet.. someone is being lazy!

  • Iraq still won’t have clean water, working sewers, reliable electricity or a working government.

    Typical fascist apologia. Iraq had a “working government” under your chum Saddam and I have no doubt he made the trains run on time too.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Iraq didn’t have clean water, working sewers, or reliable electricity under Saddam, either. Oh, yes, you got it if you lived in Baghdad or near one of Saddam’s palaces (can you imagine the fate of the poor engineer held responsible for plunging Saddam into the dark?) but if you were a mere Shia or Kurd, you got rolling blackouts and dirty water. Not a point the press often stress, for some strange reason.

    Whether you got “working government” depends on what you think the purpose and function of government is. (Does anyone here have any opinions on what that might be? ;-)) I think the argument that “a little tyranny is a small price to pay for security” is a remarkable one, appearing in a place like this. Besides the question of whether it really was ‘secure’ for people opposed to the regime, it depends on the time-scale over which you consider it.

    All governments, all people even, should be held to the same moral standards. If you allow it for Saddam or Uday, then you must allow it for Bush or Rumsfeld. If you forbid it for Bush or Blair, then you must forbid it for Saddam or Ahmadinejad. Anything else smacks of “you can’t expect any better of Middle Easterners”-style of racism, or at least cultural arrogance. Did Saddam lie about WMD? Does Bush rape women or imprison and torture small children? First set out what your standards of behaviour are, and when particular actions in response are justified, and only then consider the example set by particular nations. For if you pay more attention to Iraq than Tibet, say, people might be able to accuse you of being on the side of the tyrants, and your moralising protests no more than enemy propaganda. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

  • One less statist in the world. Doesn’t solve anything since he’s deposed, but certainly not something I’m going to be busting a gut over to oppose.

  • Julian Taylor

    That’s also why those who would go further down Julian’s road and support public execution, humiliation or very brutal methods of killing as justified by the crime are wrong: it confirms the culture of torture and vendetta.

    Yes it is quite wrong, but in this case I feel that one of the things that the Iraqi people have still not yet seen is what we nowadays term as ‘closure’, and thus the confirmation that the Saddam Hussein period of infamy is now at an end. His public execution, however repellent it would have been to us, might have served to reassure those victims that the wicked witch was indeed finally dead, in much the same way that thousands flocked from all over Italy to see Mussolini’s corpse hanging in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto in 1945.

    I do hope that we do not allow the focus to be swung to “Saddam the Great Dictator”, and possibly from a Muslim aspect “Saddam the Martyr”, who was ‘unjustly’ hanged in some US-inspired show trial. How many people will, as I stated above, consider correctly “Saddam the Psychotic Thug” who was executed as a common criminal for the personal murder of a large number of his own people.

  • SEAN MORRIS

    Kant on Capital Punishment(Link)

    Question, after reading this, Is the value of human life greater or lesser since CPs abolition in 1965?

  • Fiona

    Grrrrr!

    Some-one has used my nickname. Maybe on purpose or may be by mistake.

    THIS Fiona who has posted before and has been reading Samizdata faithfully for three years and who has been in contact with Brian M DOES NOT THINK that GW Bush is a mass murderer.

    Fiona know known as Fiona X.

    Grrrrr!

  • Fiona X

    Sorry just changed my new nickname!

  • A few points about the false WMD justification for war:

    * I think it’s difficult to claim that the Bush administration knowingly lied about Saddam’s WMD to build a case for war (although asserting this is most convenient when building a case against Bush). I remember watching an interview with Bill Clinton; he said he didn’t blame Bush for running so hard on the WMD issue if US intel were telling Bush the same things about Saddam’s weapons programme that they told him when he was President.

    * Every major power – not just the Americans – thought Saddam had WMD.

    *Saddam had form re. WMD and his behaviour since the end of the first Gulf war strongly suggested he had something to hide.

    Also, I recall that in the final few weeks leading up to the start of the war, the Americans ran particularly hard on the humanitarian imperative of overthrowing Saddam.

  • Who, me?

    Every major power – not just the Americans – thought Saddam had WMD.

    Nobody else thought Saddam was enough of a WMD threat to require an immediate invasion (as they didn’t support said invasion), and they were right.

    Also, I recall that in the final few weeks leading up to the start of the war, the Americans ran particularly hard on the humanitarian imperative of overthrowing Saddam.

    Without “Saddam will kill your children” and “the war will be successful enough to ‘pay for itself’” lies, the war would have never happened. If you wanted the govt to be the slightest bit honest, you have to accept the possibility of Saddam remaining in power. You cannot use govt lies for your own political purposes then distance yourself from them.

    Funny how Saddam was executed, not for his crimes when we were supporting him, but for retaliation for an assassination attempt, after a war Bush tried to justify in part due to Saddam’s supposed attempt to assassinate Bush the Elder.

  • Nobody else thought Saddam was enough of a WMD threat to require an immediate invasion (as they didn’t support said invasion), and they were right.

    Except the ‘Coalition of the Willing’. And you’ve skirted around my major point – that it’s deceptive to claim the Bush administration deliberately set out to dupe the public on the WMD issue.

    On another matter, I want to thank Guy Herbert for his typically cool-headed and incisive analysis. He’s changed my mind – executing Saddam wasn’t a ‘necessary evil’ as I claimed earlier; it was the wrong thing to do.

  • * Every major power – not just the Americans – thought Saddam had WMD.

    In the UK, it was clear to anyone, with a smidgeon more than half a brain, that the published evidence was inadequate to justify the WMD claim.

    What fooled us was that we never believed that the whole establishment would tell such a lie without cast-iron secret intelligence in support, for which it would be “inappropriate” to disclose the source.

    Well: wolf was cried, and wolf and wolf, and wolf and wolf again.

    The establishment will now reap the harvest; only by luck will we not all reap the whirlwind.

    Best regards

  • Dale Amon

    james: The problem is, so long as Saddam lived, he was a rallying site for the enemy; had he been imprisoned he would have had to be kept under US guard for the rest of his life. That would again have been a focus for the Saddamites. Had we put him under anyone elses control he would eventually have escaped or been released and been an even worse rallying site… not to mention he would certainly have a brand new shiney list of those who should disappear into new unmarked mass graves.

    This is one of the primary reasons why people like him cannot continue breathing. Even if the world outlawed Capital Punishment there would be an exception for his ilk for very pragmatic reasons.

  • Dale – the Saddamites are only medium-level players in the ongoing power struggle in Iraq today. The big fish opposing the US occupying forces are more than happy to see Saddam swing. To envisage ‘the enemy’ in Iraq in such homogenous terms is inviting disaster.

  • No doubt the people who are wailing about Saddam’s execution after a fair trial would have had no problem with Hermann Goering and Adolf Eichmann not being executed either?

    In Saddam’s case (as with Goering et al.), there was the added problem of a still-living figurehead, a rallying point for former adherents, and a likelihood that his being alive would have allowed for continued unrest.

    That, as much for their crimes, provided sufficient excuse to execute them. That they were bad, horrible, amoral murdering scum convicted of their crimes in a court of law is the cake under the icing.

  • Gabriel

    The only good argument against the death penalty is that it is irreversible, hence the wrongly convicted cannot be later released, which I think is a good enough argument for not employing it in general. However, in cases like this where guilt is plainly unimpeachable the argument doesn’t apply. (This is why Israel only has the death penalty for crimes against humanity.)

    As for cretins (like, say, the Bishop of Rome) who say “you can’t punish a crime with a crime” or some similar gibberish, they may want to consider that forcibly imprisoning people is a crime too.

    So, yeah, great news and bottoms up.

  • RAB

    I would have chucked a frag grenade
    Down the spiderhole in the first place
    and saved us all this moralising fuss and nonscence.

    Saddam alive or dead is not the question or the solution.
    The game has moved on. He is irrelivant to what happens next.

  • Jacob

    “It does if “killing one tyrant at a time” is counterproductive in the particular case. Or even if it is merely useless (as I suspect it most often is).”

    Well, we do a lot of useless things. Hanging Saddam was a good thing to do, whether useless or not. It was just. Some just things are maybe useless but still worth doing.

  • guy herbert

    No doubt the people who are wailing about Saddam’s execution after a fair trial would have had no problem with Hermann Goering and Adolf Eichmann not being executed either?

    Goering wasn’t. Though he might have been.

    I do have a problem with the charges against both Goering and Eichman, and both the charges and the fairness of Saddam’s trial. The Nuremberg Trial in particular has caused endless trouble subsequently because of its pretended international and retrospective jurisdiction.

    Where do you think all the infuriating lefties get their (correct in those terms) conviction that the last Iraq was was “illegal”? Blair and Bush could, and perhaps should, be tried for “waging aggressive war”, if you believe such an international crime exists.

    Julian,

    How many people will, as I stated above, consider correctly “Saddam the Psychotic Thug” who was executed as a common criminal for the personal murder of a large number of his own people.

    Probably none. Maybe he ought to have been convicted of that, but it does not appear (no judgment having been published, and the trial having focussed on the collective massacre of Kurds) that he was. Crimes of state, not personal crimes, are the occasion of this execution, and very readily allow him to assume the mantle of martyr or of war leader who just happened to kill a lot of civilians in order to maintain the integrity of the Great Nation and thereby morally equivalent to his enemies.

    The trouble is, pace Pa Annoyed that, regardless of the common moral standards that we might like to apply, such actions as as trials and executions, AND the crimes that they are related to, are perceived by different audiences through different moral, and social, frameworks. It isn’t that “you can’t expect any better of Middle Easterners,” but that what Middle Easterners, and more particularly Iraqi Arabs, themeselves expect affects how they interpret the same actions and events.

  • Lerxst

    “Saddam alive or dead is not the question or the solution. The game has moved on. He is irrelivant to what happens next.”

    Well said. Personally, I think the death sentence was justified, though a trial that was less of a joke would have been nice. It would have been a sign that Iraq was closer to the rule of law and civilisation, rather than just another tinpot regime.

    But celebrate? I don’t think that’s really even on the agenda given the mess that’s been created in Iraq, or the number of lives it has cost, not least amongst our own armed forces.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    It would have been better if they showed a video of Saddam’s feet hanging in the breeze, followed by a directed message at Castro, Kim et al: “You’re next!”

    Perhaps then capital punishment would have some value, making them squirm a bit, if nothing else. Anything that makes them uncomfortable is good to me.

    Sorry, indulging my more bloodthirsty side for a while.

  • Gabriel wrote:

    The only good argument against the death penalty is that it is irreversible, hence the wrongly convicted cannot be later released, which I think is a good enough argument for not employing it in general. However, in cases like this where guilt is plainly unimpeachable the argument doesn’t apply.

    I’m fully with that: both parts.

    Best regards

  • Mary Ayn Rand

    Steven Den Beste, you are either a lying sack of shit, or just another stupid git. I suspect the latter.

    Show me exactly where I “condemned the execution”.

  • Mary Ayn Rand

    Albion, either you’re a lying sack of shit, or just another moron.

    Show me exactly where I said Saddam was my “chum”.

    Yes, I will indeed cop to the claim that Iraq had working sewers, consistant electricity and clean water under Saddam.

    And yes, it was a “working” government. Notice, I specifically DID NOT make any claims about the “goodness” or “evilness” of the government. Just that it was working.

    Which is more than can be said for the current Iraqi government, which has yet to provide clean water, working sewers and consistant electricity to Baghdad, let alone the rest of the country.

    Editors note: strike one and two: you seem to have mistaken Samizdata for a flamer forum. One more remark like that and you are history here

  • You bleat about how Iraq no longer has a working government (the implication being that such is not an improvement on the prior state of affairs) and you wonder how I deduce you are a fascist? Hint: the previous government in Iraq, who lack you appear to lament, was vaguely modelled on the Nazi Party.

    I thereby also deduce you are not just foul mouthed but not very bright.

  • Jacob

    “I do have a problem with the charges against both Goering and Eichman, and both the charges and the fairness of Saddam’s trial.”

    You mix up form and substance. The formalities of a trial are not an end in themselves, they are an instrument in administering justice. (No instrument is perfect). It’s the justice that matters, not so much the procedural niceties.

    Justice was done, at the Nuremberg trials and at Saddam’s trial. Also at Cheasescu’s “trial”. That is glaringly obvious.
    A bullet to Saddam’s head when he was discovered in his hole would also have been ok.

    So, stop quibbling, it serves no purpose, it’s “useless”.

  • James

    For anybody with a morbid curiousity (I know that at least one person here has mentioned their’s), a video from a mobile has been ‘leaked’.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=863ce7d4a3

    There’s something quite surreal about seeing the glazed expression of a dead man who was only a few seconds earlier walking and talking.

  • jpickens

    “IMHO, the biggest mistake Bush and co. have made was justifying the war almost exclusively on the basis of the WMD threat, regardless of whether that threat was real or merely perceived.”

    It was not Bush and co. who made the WMD point the standout reason for the war, it was the New York Times and the UN who did that. Read Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN prior to the war. WMD is about 1/4 of the presentation. Human rights is another 1/4, and support for international terriorism is about 1/2 of it.

    And, remember, Saddam H. had his military sign an agreement with the US, NOT the UN at the cessation of hostilities in 1991 agreeing to dismantle his WMD’s, cease actions against ethnic and religious groups in Iraq, limit the range of his ballistic missles, and cease support for international terrorist groups. He violated all four sections of the agreement.

    It is Saddam who is responsible for this war, NOT the US.

    And as to his dismantling of his WMD’s, there are thousands of shells, both filled and unfilled, with chemical agents which have been found since the most recent resumtion of hostilities. They are all extant in violation of Saddam’s agreements. If you want to claim they don’t exist, tell you what, I’ll put 10 milligrams of the contents of one of those shells on your tongue or in your eye, and you tell me its not a WMD, if you live long enough.

  • Mary Ayn Rand

    “Editors note: strike one and two: you seem to have mistaken Samizdata for a flamer forum. One more remark like that and you are history here

    Ah, I see. YOU are free to toss words like “fascist” around.

    I am not allowed to respond in kind. Frankly, I find “fascist” to be in the class known as “Fighting Words”.

    In the fantasy world beloved by the Randroids, my seconds would have called upon Beste and Albion by now.

    Randroids. Gotta love ‘em!

  • Mary Ayn Rand

    You bleat about how Iraq no longer has a working government (the implication being that such is not an improvement on the prior state of affairs) and you wonder how I deduce you are a fascist? Hint: the previous government in Iraq, who lack you appear to lament, was vaguely modelled on the Nazi Party.

    OK, just HOW EXACTLY is the current government “working” and an “improvement” on the previous one?

    Pre invasion, all one had to worry about was pissing off Saddam.

    Today, you get killed via a car bomb buying a six pack of Coke at the local market, or for not having a beard, or for being a woman who dares to expose her hair, or for being a Shi’a in the wrong part of town/being a Sunni in the wrong part of town.

    Saddam was much like Tito. EVERYONE was scared of Tito and EVERYONE kept their head down and their prejudices to themselves.

    Again, no comments pro or con vis a vis the goodness or evilness of Saddam’s government.

    Just a factual observation concerning reality then and reality now.

    Ding Dong! Saddam is dead!

    And so are approx. 60 innocent civilian non combatant citizens, via a car bomb in a marketplace, mere hours after Saddam was executed.

    Good to know that they were so much better off after Saddam was deposed.

  • Mary Ayn Rand

    And I’m still waiting for Beste to show me exactly where I “condemned” the execution of Saddam.

    Or is baldfaced lieing O.K. in the Randroid Book of Virtues?

  • Nigel

    Pre invasion, all one had to worry about was pissing off Saddam.

    What? So the hundreds of thousands of corpses clogging mass graves are there because they were foolish enough to piss him off despite knowing the likely consequences?

    Also, how do you account for the hundreds of thousands conscripted into the army to die in his futile wars?

  • And as to his dismantling of his WMD’s, there are thousands of shells, both filled and unfilled, with chemical agents which have been found since the most recent resumtion of hostilities. They are all extant in violation of Saddam’s agreements. If you want to claim they don’t exist, tell you what, I’ll put 10 milligrams of the contents of one of those shells on your tongue or in your eye, and you tell me its not a WMD, if you live long enough.

    Read my comment again, before putting things on my tongue or in my eye. And maybe have a cool shower as well. And, jpickens, would you please consider the courtesy of addressing the people whose comments you respond to by their name? Mine is Alisa.

    It is Saddam who is responsible for this war, NOT the US. I really don’t care. Every person is responsible for their own actions, including those taken as a response to others’.

    It was not Bush and co. who made the WMD point the standout reason for the war, it was the New York Times and the UN who did that. Maybe. In any case, Bush and co. did not make their real objectives (whatever they were) clear enough. See previous paragraph.

    Read Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN prior to the war. WMD is about 1/4 of the presentation. Human rights is another 1/4, and support for international terriorism is about 1/2 of it. And what percentage of the presentation was devoted to “nation building” and “spreading of democracy”?

    I supported this war from the outset, and still do, despite the fact that I have serious problems both with its declared objectives, and with the way it has been executed. Although war is always evil, it is still clear to me that in this case (as in a few others) it was the lesser evil then doing nothing. It often seems that the only way to avoid mistakes is to do nothing, but some times doing nothing is the biggest mistake of all.

  • Guy Herbert:

    The trouble is, pace Pa Annoyed that, regardless of the common moral standards that we might like to apply, such actions as as trials and executions, AND the crimes that they are related to, are perceived by different audiences through different moral, and social, frameworks. It isn’t that “you can’t expect any better of Middle Easterners,” but that what Middle Easterners, and more particularly Iraqi Arabs, themeselves expect affects how they interpret the same actions and events.

    Exactly. That is why it is more important not how and on what grounds he was executed, but the fact that he was made an example of.

  • Gabriel

    Pre invasion, all one had to worry about was pissing off Saddam.
    Or if someone in your family pissed off Saddam, or if someone in your town pissed off Saddam, or if someone of your ethnicity pissed off Saddam, or if Quday fancied your wife.

    But apart from that…no problem.

  • Yet another pro-tyranny screed by Mary. So by your logic all a tyranny has to do is make it clear his supporters will set off car bombs if they are ever deposed and you therefore argue it will be morally incorrect to depose them because of the cost in human life exacted by the deposed tyranny’s supporters. Yet again you are just thinking up reasons to justify leaving tyrants in power.

    I also find it amazing that you repeat that having functioning utilities is reason enough to acquiesce to tyranny. What’s the odd gassed village if you have reliable water and electricity, eh?

    So tell me, if Iraqi people had overthrown Saddam and the result was exactly the same as now post-Saddam (i.e. chaos and terrorism), would that still have been wrong? Or is it just the UK and US involvement which makes it wrong?

  • Reid

    “OK, just HOW EXACTLY is the current government “working” and an “improvement” on the previous one?”

    Exactly, because there is now hope. There is no prospect of a murderous thug ruling and dispensing capricious “justice” to those by whom he feels threatened ad infinitum, with his demon spawn waiting in the wings to assume power and continue his murderous rule when his time is done. The people of Iraq have hope for better days that you would deny them, perched in your comfy chair and deciding what is best for them from afar.

  • Julian Taylor

    It would have been better if they showed a video of Saddam’s feet hanging in the breeze …

    Very unfortunately we live in a world where a brief search of YouTube will show you exactly that. You must be logged in to see the footage, taken by one of his executioners with a mobile phone, and I might suggest that a strong stomach is required for New Year’s Eve revellers.

  • SomeOtherDude

    This is rich.

    Anti-Statists cheerleading The State to go after “bad-guys” and liberating deserving folks.

    It seems that the folks around here are more Right-Wing Statists than anything resembling “anti-state.”

    Now that the American political elite have liberated thousands of Saddam Husseins upon Iraq, they wish to rejoice for killing one.

    This mess began on 9-11.

    At some point, warmongering right-wingers and the “anti-state” (wink-wink) libertarians who love them are going to have to answer a few questions.

    One being:

    Why did they support a politician who protected Bin Laden and his Saudi and Pakistani backers?

  • smallwit

    A video shot with a mobile phone of Saddam’s execution:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/yf63sf

  • I am not an anarchist as I want a very much smaller state, not no state at all. I think the main justification for the state is the military function.

    Also, just because I like it when a tyrant gets overthrown, that does not mean I support the government on other things it does, I just happen to share that particular objective with them. How is that so hard to understand?

    If seeing tyrants overthrown makes me a warmonger, then I am a warmonger. Better that than a ‘useful idiot’ apologist for the world’s mass murdering tyrants who loves to think up reasons to leave them in power.

    Funny how many Lefties who claim to want ‘peace’ and Rothbardians who want no state at all both end up urging policies that have the effects of leaving very large and very murderous states unfettered to slaughter folks within their own borders (just so long as they are slaughtering them in far off lands from said Lefties or Rothbardians of course).

  • SomeOtherDude

    Invading and occupying another nation to create an even more dangerous environment for its citizens on the basis that said nation is a mortal threat (WMD) because it assisted in a terrorist action (9-11) and planned on more terrorist actions and just desperately needed to be democratized is the epitome of a State gone mad.

    I’m sure the Bolsheviks had all types of justified reasons to exterminate the Royal Court of tyranny.

  • SomeOtherDude writes:

    Anti-Statists cheerleading The State to go after “bad-guys” and liberating deserving folks.

    I think this is something of a strawman argument, exagerating the position (here on this blog), saying it is obviously inconsistent and therefore everything published here is wrong.

    Concerning statism, my view is that, of all the things that can be done by government, foreign policy, defence and war-mongering are amoung the most legitimate. [Others include establishing and running a legal system, including an appropriate level of law enforecement.]

    The difficult issue here is not whether one interferes in the affairs of other countries, but to what extent and for what causes. [I apply the same policy to the occupants of neighbouring houses, and to those I meet in the street.]

    Best regards

  • Jacob

    “leaving very large and very murderous states unfettered to slaughter folks within their own borders “

    Saddam slaughtered a few hundred thousand people also outside his borders. So the second part is the key clause:

    just so long as they are slaughtering them in far off lands from said Lefties or Rothbardians of course.”

    And even when the people are slaughtered in the US (9/11) or the UK (7/7), they keep on rationalizing, saying “we had it coming” and searching for “root ” causes.

  • SomeOtherDude

    And even when the people are slaughtered in the US (9/11) or the UK (7/7), they keep on rationalizing, saying “we had it coming” and searching for “root ” causes.

    Those roots were grown in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Iran, Iraq and Syria.

    But I guess all darkies are the same to you.

  • Those roots were grown in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Iran, Iraq and Syria.

    Not Iran? You are delusional.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Yes, I will indeed cop to the claim that Iraq had working sewers, consistant electricity and clean water under Saddam.

    Mary, you forgot that he made the trains run on time as well. Come on dearie, you are not on top of your game at the moment.

    I agree with MAR that the post-invasion phase of the campaign has been badly handled, and that the situation in Iraq now is a terrible mess, although I am not entirely sure that it would have been less of a mess had we put in more troops, as the likes of Niall Ferguson or Andrew Sullivan argue. What I do deny, however, is the extroardinary suggestion of MAR that Iraq had a “working” government: working for whom, exactly? It was “working” all right if you happened to be in charge of torturing, killing, robbing or otherwise attacking Kurds, Shiites, Marsh Arabs, Kuwaitis, Iranians, Israelis, etc. It was working too dammed well.

    The death of this monster will obviously not make much of a difference to the security situation in the Middle East, and I am still of the view that a lot of the claims made prior to this campaign have been challenged or shown to be invalid. But the fact is that Saddam was a monster, a mass killer who deserved to be punished for his crimes. That does not, of course mean that there are not many other rulers around the world and in the Middle East who are just as deserving of our scorn. It would be nice, for example, if we could stop sucking up to the Saudis for a start.

    And silly remarks about George W. Bush will cut no ice; I despise his government for various reasons, but his overthrow of the Taliban and the Baath thugocracy in Iraq are two achievements worth celebrating.

  • SomeOtherDude

    Posted by Alex at January 1, 2007 08:20 PM

    Do you have evidence that Iran was behind 9-11 and 7-7?

    Bin Laden is protected by the Pakis and Saudis…but we are “transforming” the Middle East.

  • Steven Wood

    And silly remarks about George W. Bush will cut no ice; I despise his government for various reasons, but his overthrow of the Taliban and the Baath thugocracy in Iraq are two achievements worth celebrating

    It would only be worth celebrating if the country and its inhabitants were richer, healthier and happier than they were before. This, as everyone is pointing out, is not the case. I would have thought that obvious, I really think 2007 should be the year I give up trying to understand how the situation in Iraq is a cause for much back slapping. Saddam was a tyrant, but like many dictators he was partly the product of the climate in his country, a country created by post colonial map making, creating border disputes with all his neighbours and internal ethnic strife. Iraq is a a country that in its short history has never been free from western political interference, yet somehow the idea that is they who were the threat to us seems entirely reasonable. You all have no problem condeming people like saddam and Stalin as monsters, but one can hardly imagine Natlie Solent (no offence intended) been president of the USSR in WW2, and Russia not being conquered. The videos doing the rounds on youtube should make us all at least a little uneasy about the sort of people that our troops are dying to put in power in Iraq.

  • Reid

    It would only be worth celebrating if the country and its inhabitants were richer, healthier and happier than they were before.

    Or, if they had hope of a better future once the fighting diminishes. Are you in Iraq? Do you know for a fact that the inhabitants are not richer, healthier and happier than they were before based on your limited and biased sources of information? How do you arrogate to yourself the right to decide for the Iraqis what their levels of health, wealth and happiness are?

    Last I read, the economy in Iraq is growing by leaps and bounds and the attacks that are occurring are mostly confined to the immediate environs of Baghdad. But, more importantly, the Iraqis themselves are in charge of their own futures. That is a huge improvement in their lot that you have obviously come to take for granted in your own life. How wonderful it is to grow up free to the point that you don’t even remark on the blessings which have been bestowed upon you by the violent struggles of your forebears.

  • It would only be worth celebrating if the country and its inhabitants were richer, healthier and happier than they were before.

    Another apologist for tyranny I see. Oh sure, you call Stalin and Saddam monsters but then make overthrowing them predicated on an increase in… wealth, health and happiness?

    So presumably you feel leaving a tyranny in place is a good idea unless pretty much immediately people are ‘happier’ when it is gone? And which people is that? Opponents of Saddam are probably a great deal happier and their wealth and health prospects have no doubt hugely improved…or were you referring to the Tikriti slice of Iraqi society that benefited from Saddam’s rule? I am sure those folks are both less wealthy, less healthy and a great deal less happy (and I must say I really do not have a problem with that).

  • Gabriel

    Mr Wood, you have a point. Of course the difficulties of creating a free society when the material is “corrupt”, as Machiavelli said, are manifold. But in the end so what? The only way of creating a population fit for liberty is by allowing them liberty. Despotism inherently corrupts its subjects and the Ba’athist mixture of oriental desptism and European fascism did that every second it was allowed to persist.

    Sure, it’s a catch 22 situation, freedom requires a civlized population and the only thing that can produce acivilized population is freedom, but allowing things to get worse in the name of the wasteland you call peace is no solution. Perhaps a staightforward transition from Saddam to Social Democracy was not a wise move to make, some sort of interim dictator who kept a firm grip on lawlessness while operating in a basically civilized manner (I hesitiate to mention it, but Pinochet would be an example) would probably have been preferable, but that doesn’t make you right.

    If Estonia can make the transition without imploding then so, presumably, can Iraq. Or if I am wrong and Iraq does not contain the potentiality of being a free country, it should not be a country at all.

    Your case, when elaborated just beyond the point where you wish to stop, is that those unlucky enough to be born in a tyranny are destined to live as slaves till their deaths and so are all their descendants until the end of time. Not only is this reprehensible it is ahistorical. The only way I could possibly assent would be if you, and people who think like you, would volunarily pack youself off to the nearest gulag that you wish to condemn half the world’s population to in perpetutity and those languishing there while cherishing the hope of freedom could come here and gain the advantages you don’t deserve.

  • SomeOtherDude

    Allowing the East-Bloc nations to “liberate” themselves was obviously better than the United States invading and occupying them.

    However, it seems that darker nations are not afforded the same respect as whiter nations.

    REplacing a secular tyrant with an Islamist tyrant is nothing to be self-righteous about.

  • Gabriel

    Uhh, genius the eastern block countries didn’t liberate themselves, the banrupt SU withdrew financial and military support and the regimes folded. I agree that it would have been preferable for France, Russia and the UN to have stopped bankrolling Saddam Hussein so he could have been lynched by an angry mob, but politics is the art of the possible and all that.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Steven Wood’s apologia for Saddam is quite Euan-Grayish (remember that pompous nitwit?) in its 20/20 hindsight “pragmatism”. Quite large parts of Iraq are already in a better state than prior to the invasion – especially the Kurdish bits – so his argument falls flat. When Communism fell, there were some very bad times, but to suppose that the world was in some ways better off with regimes that had gulags, politically-induced famines, etc, is bizarre.

  • Allowing the East-Bloc nations to “liberate” themselves was obviously better than the United States invading and occupying them.

    Maybe “obviously” better for you but clear to see you not to have lived in Central Europe under totalitarianism. In 1968 my father was conscrip in Czechoslovak army and told me he was ready to shoot officer and join Americans if NATO invade, which many hope for, so he to help liberate our country. Maybe he be killed and us too but worth it to end komunizmus in 1968 better than lose generation to slavery of soviet emplace control.

  • Gabriel, I was agreeing with you until this: “Or if I am wrong and Iraq does not contain the potentiality of being a free country, it should not be a country at all.” What should it be then?

  • SomeOtherDude

    Stefan Zajac, I heard the same propaganda concerning Iraq’s Shia…tribal concerns seem to trump international notions of liberation, everytime.

    Ask Lenin.

    And I see the regimes of the East-Bloc nations were replaced by Christianist theocrats.

  • Gabriel

    Divided into separate countries. I think an independent Kurdistan has some chance of achieving civilized political arrangments, perhaps, in time, incorporating parts of what is now Syria, Turkey and Iran. As for the rest, one state for the Shias, one for the Sunnis. Perhaps some union with Iran and Syrai respectively.

    I am not wholeheartedly in the “let’s carve Iraq up” lobby because I don’t think I have yet been proved wrong, but it’s very possible I will be, at which point I shall certainly join that lobby.

    No borders should be regarded as perennial and certainly not ones drawn up in the British foreign office with rulers.

  • Stefan Zajac, I heard the same propaganda concerning Iraq’s Shia…tribal concerns seem to trump international notions of liberation, everytime. Ask Lenin. And I see the regimes of the East-Bloc nations were replaced by Christianist theocrats.

    Ask Lenin? I understand now that you are totalitarian person. For to say that Czech and Slovak people are not better off under states now, which you are very strangely call theocrats, I understand that you are also complete idiot not worth more typing in difficult language.

  • Stefan Zajac wrote:

    Ask Lenin? I understand now that you are totalitarian person. For to say that Czech and Slovak people are not better off under states now, which you are very strangely call theocrats, I understand that you are also complete idiot not worth more typing in difficult language.

    Stefan should note that there are more people here than SomeOtherDude, whose views are not particularly mainstream. And we all get strong responses here from time to time.

    Also, his (Stefan’s) views sound interesting, and very likely usefully informative to those of us who have not had the opportunity (yet) to live under a totalitarian regime.

    So let’s hope he hangs on here, at least for a bit.

    Best regards

  • Oh, OK, I forgot all about that. Well, I am almost certain that you will be proved wrong, and carving up Iraq may well turn out to be the only solution. Of course, one has to keep in mind that this particular solution is very likely to create more problems than it is likely to solve, but that is always to be expected in the ME anyway…

  • Gabriel

    And I see the regimes of the East-Bloc nations were replaced by Christianist theocrats.

    No, ONE country elected ONE government with some theocratic leanings. In a few years this regime will be gone. The second largest party in Poland is actually libertarian, or at least rather more so than any British party.

    What I have always found most repugnant about antiwar types is how they respond to people who actually have had to live under the regimes they excuse, defend and help to preserve. It’s a little better when they simply elect to ingore them.

  • SomeOtherDude

    Gabriel,

    I apologize. I was being sarcastic and I failed miserably.

    The East-Bloc nations did not replace a secular totalitarian state with a religious totalitarian state. I realize that, how things would have been different if nations would have invaded and occupied the East-Bloc nations to replace left-wing totalitarianism with right-wing totalitarianism. However, this is what is indeed happening in Iraq today.

    To embrace The State as an entity that liberates people is vary much in line with left-wing and right-wing radicals. What worries me is that there are way too many people who confuse “anti-state” with “right-wing-state”. Enthusiasm for capitalism does not make one a libertarian.

    American citizens are employed (and to a certain degree forced) to go on the liberations jaunts of fantasy for the wet dreams of radical right-wing statists.

    The US was attacked on 9-11 by forces working in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan…yet right-wing statists are advocating “liberation” for Syria, Iran and Iraq. There is something deadly wrong with this scenario. Our military is for defense NOT LIBERATION.

    You should not be so quick to embrace the forces of other nations to enforce their will on weaker nations no matter what good intentions or cool radical theories are popular for the moment. That is neither libertarian nor conservative but an oppressive form radicalism– right or left.

  • That is neither libertarian nor conservative but an oppressive form radicalism– right or left.

    So overthrowing a tyrant is a form of oppression, eh? Thanks for setting us straight on that score. Bring in the next case please, nurse.

  • Gabriel

    1) I’m sorry for misunderstanding.

    2) Even though eastern bloc nations were not liberated by western military force, the collapse of Soviet rule was directly tied to action taken, in the main, by the U.S. government. So what you oppose is not state action per se., but simply one form of it.
    In any case, although things in eastern europe worked out OK, can you honestly say the same about other former Soviet sattelites? Have the various istans to the south benefitted from our leave-well-alone policy?

    3) Yes military force should be used first and foremost for defense. For example, Iran’s nucelar weapon programme is a direct threat, we should take military action immediately to stop it, but somehow I doubt you agree with that either.

    4) Ethiopia’s recent laudable actions show that militant Islam is not as invincible as thought, all it takes is will. Sometimes this involves military force, sometimes not. I will provisionally agree that the west should not make any more military intervention until we find our testicles. The current chaos in Iraq is 99% due to the coalition’s shameful refusal to use the appropriate level of force in dealing with terrorists, most notably in Fallujah, to pacify a media that will never be pacified except by surrender. (In retrospect the Shias were remarkably slow to turn to militais for protection, given our complete refusal to combat the people spilling their blood by the bucketload).

    5)We also, of course, should intervene in ways that materially help imperalist Islam by, for example, establishing Islamic states in the Balkans, supporting the Palestinians (both Hamas AND Fatah) and pushing for “peace plans” in Lebanon that turned a millenia old majority christian area into an incipient Shia theocracy. You have to go all the way back to Francis I before you find such short sighted idiocy.

    6) With a small force in Sudan we could save 100,000s of lives. We can’t build a democracy, we can’t build capitalism, we can’t even probably make them free, but we can stop the most appalling (and they really, really, are appalling) slaughters from occuring any more (fairly easily if Somalia is anything to go by). Can you honestly say you woulld oppose that?

    7) Basically my case is that much of the world was better off being under the British empire or other forms of hegemony and we didn’t do so bad out of it either. It was the most prolonged period of relative peace the world has ever experienced, it started an unprecedented growth of prosperity the world over and a lot of thugs with crowns on got their just desserts. I think a similar sort of arrangement would be preferable today. Anti-imperialism is based on falsehoods and a willful ignorance of History. It is the triumph of ideology over fact and I’m not buying it.

  • SomeOtherDude

    Gabriel,

    Imperial social welfare is not libertarianism.

    Good luck with getting those colonies back. You sound like Mussolini promising to bring back the glory of Rome, when things used to be better, indeed.

    Your sense of political philosophy is lacking.