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.
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A selection of others blogging:
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.
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.
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.