Saddam Hussein’s execution: an American irrelevancy

Posted on Saturday 30 December 2006

So. They hung him.

Saddam Hussein was a vicious, brutal tyrant who ordered the murders of thousands of his own citizens; a soulless beast that the world will not miss. From the NY Times:

BAGHDAD, Saturday, Dec. 30 — Saddam Hussein, the dictator who led Iraq through three decades of brutality, war and bombast before American forces chased him from his capital city and captured him in a filthy pit near his hometown, was hanged just before dawn Saturday during the morning call to prayer.

The final stages for Mr. Hussein, 69, came with terrible swiftness after he lost the appeal, five days ago, of his death sentence for the killings of 148 men and boys in the northern town of Dujail in 1982. He had received the sentence less than two months before from a special court set up to judge his reign as the almost unchallenged dictator of Iraq.

The tone of the Times article is one of consternation; they seem to be stunned that the execution took place so quickly after the sentence was upheld. I’m equally surprised at their raised eyebrows. There was no question of his guilt, or some possibility that they’ve executed the wrong person.

Do they think something was to be gained by endless years of wrangling? Decades of appeals would only have provided a Iraqi Bonnie Prince Charlie — a shadowy, unreachable, but breathing banner for violent conspirators.

For the Iraqi people, I’m glad Saddam Hussein is gone.

But that’s about the extent of my feelings… because his execution doesn’t affect the here and now. It has nothing to do with the War on Terror, nor does it improve the security situation in Baghdad.

Shaun Mullen (a co-blogger at TMV), wrote at Kiko’s House:

The man known as Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti, responsible for three decades of brutality against the Iraqi people, has been hanged. Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks that were a justification for toppling the dictator, remains free.

He’s right… and maybe that’s part of my malaise. Saddam Hussein’s execution seems so irrelevant, and doubly so when considered in terms of 9/11. Of course, I’m seeing this through the eyes of an American who always saw Iraq as an irrelevancy following 9/11.

Some folks feel that Saddam’s execution was all about George Bush — that this entire exercise was one of avenging his father and Gulf War I.

They’re missing the point. It wasn’t about George Bush, or us. It wasn’t for the United States at all. It was for these people:

A man whose testimony led to Saddam’s conviction and execution said he was shown the body because “everybody wanted to make sure that he was really executed.”

“Now, he is in the garbage of history,” said Jawad Abdul-Aziz, who lost his father, three brothers and 22 cousins in the reprisal killings that followed a botched 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the Shiite town of Dujail.

Witnesses to the execution told Richard Engel of NBC News that they were cheering around the body of Saddam after the hanging — three years after the deposed president was hauled from a hole in the ground by pursuing U.S. forces.

Asked if Saddam were dead, the official in the Iraqi prime minister’s office said, “Yes, the body of Saddam Hussein is in front of me.” The hanging reportedly occurred at 6:05 a.m. local time (10:05 p.m. ET).

NBC could hear cheers and celebrations in the background while talking to an official in the prime minister’s office.

“This son of a bitch is lying under my feet. … I can’t talk now because of all the cheers!” a witness said.

For the Iraqis, Saddam Hussein was not an irrelevancy; he was the source of suffering for over two decades, and had they overturned their own government, he’d still have hung.

For their sake, it’s good riddance.

Does it gain them anything? I hope so… but it’s a very small hope.

* * * * *

A selection of others blogging:

John Cole:

At any rate, I hope the end of Hussein will bring some calm to the region, as some calm and a cessation of violence is desparately needed.

The Reaction:

Evil dictators rule throughout the world. They kill and oppress their people. This one is now dead, not because of the horrible acts he committed — the worst of which came with America’s approval — but because Bush, Cheney et al. had an agenda.

Gun Toting Liberal:

He’s dead and I cannot shed a tear. Saddam has posed one of the greatest challenges I have ever been tasked with by Jesus Christ to “love the sinner, hate the sin“. He has also proven the Biblical warning to those who chose to live by the sword that they shall one day DIE by the sword to be a QUITE prudent prediction…

Michael van der Galien (also a TMV co-blogger), who says in response to Bush’s “this is another milestone” statement:

I wonder in how far it truly is an “important milestone”. It is an important milestone in so far that Saddam’s era has – finally – ended. But that does not automatically mean that the future will bring democracy and peace to Iraq. If we look at today’s situation… nuff said.

And Joe Gandelman (The Moderate Voice himself) has a tremendous round-up, here.

11 Comments for 'Saddam Hussein’s execution: an American irrelevancy'

    December 30, 2006 | 8:30 am

    Saddam Dead…

    Saddam’s era has ended, we will have to wait and see what the future brings. For now, it doesn’t appear to be bright, to say the least….

    December 30, 2006 | 8:49 am

    I won’t believe he’s dead until ……

    Polimom said Saddam Hussein’s execution: an American irrelevancy.

    Except for the part where we deposed him — 12 years after making the mistake of keeping him in power….

    December 30, 2006 | 8:54 am

    A bit of post-execution malaise…

    We’d been anticipating Saddam Hussein’s execution all day, but when the news finally came last night, I was a bit surprised at my lack of reaction. As I wro……

    December 30, 2006 | 10:41 am

    See a sarcastic visual of George Bush playing a round of “Hangman”…here:

    December 30, 2006 | 11:22 am

    Saddam Hussein: Good Riddance…

    Last night, as I was watching the TV, I got word that Saddam Hussein had been executed. I considered blogging my thoughts at the time, but thought better of it: I have found that it is preferable to think about what one is going to say, and leave fo…

    The Master
    December 30, 2006 | 11:51 am


    Good analogy to Bonnie Prince Charlie, and one that I have not seen used elsewhere. Alive and incarcerated, Saddam would have continued to be a focal point for hopes of a Baathist restoration among the Sunni’s, and of fears of the same among the Shiites (and maybe the Kurds). His execution takes away the focal point and dims such hopes and fears.

    As for the NY Times, once again they have mistaken the attitudes, opinions, and values of their editorial board for those of the country and the world. If Saddam Hussein had had a couple of decades of appeals to string justice out, he would no doubt have died of old age (he was 69) before his sentence was carried out. Apparently that would have offended the Solons of the Times less than the sentence did.

    And they wonder why their circulation and relevancy decreases each year . . .

    December 30, 2006 | 1:40 pm

    [...] And how bad is it for Bush at home? He slept through the hanging itself. And what does he wake up to today? Bush can’t use the hanging as he used all things Saddam in the past because it points out Saddam is not the problem. The people here quite quickly forget the past. It’s the present that blows. A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategy, also acknowledged that the challenges in Iraq contributed to the president’s decision to simply issue the statement. The White House concluded that even a development as dramatic as Mr. Hussein’s hanging could not be used to renew support for the war. [...]

    December 30, 2006 | 10:57 pm

    it is very sad to think that somewhere here in the u.s there is a faction of people that not only supported this man, but they would also lay down their own lives for the ultimate reward from a false god. these same people are everywhere. you could stand in line at the bank with them and never think twice. this problem will continue untill we decide to stop this influx of criminals. we have enough trouble keeping our kids safe at school.

    December 31, 2006 | 10:58 am

    loverboy, what on earth are you talking about?

    December 31, 2006 | 3:06 pm

    [...] As I wrote this morning — it seems so irrelevant somehow. Posted on December 30, 2006 | Permalink | Categories Uncategorized | “>Comment #1 “>BeYourGuest said, December 30, 2006 at 12:01 pmIf you were a US soldier in Iraq, you might not think this was so irrelevant. “>Comment #2 “>Polimom said, December 30, 2006 at 12:29 pm Why? What has changed for them? “>Comment #3 “>BeYourGuest said, December 30, 2006 at 12:41 pm Polimom– [...]

    April 26, 2012 | 3:50 pm

    Don’t be ridiculous! Nobody deserves to die! I know he was an bad person, but people can change! Instead of killing him the government could have at least tried to change him! Many People think that when a person has done sth. bad he will never become nice, but nobodys perfect and I am sure that we all have done sth. bad in our life. The grade how bad it was depends on the power that one has! You cant say you would never have done that if you weren’t in his place! I myself think i wpudn’t have done that but I’m not 100% sure. And if the goverment kills people too aren’t they the same as him??

Comments on this blog are subject to the guidelines stated in the Comments Policy.
First-time comments are held for moderator approval. Please use a valid email address.

Leave a comment



Information for comment users
Line and paragraph breaks are implemented automatically. Your e-mail address is never displayed. Please consider what you're posting.

Use the buttons below to customise your comment.

RSS feed for comments on this post | TrackBack URI