Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam is dead

Saddam and his regime have passed into history. US forces kept custody before and after his execution to prevent his corpse from being desecrated in a society where justice is often regarded as inseparable from revenge. Despite these precautions, according to a poster at the Freerepublic, one of the four Iraqi guards attending the excution managed to shout "Moqtada al Sadr" to the doomed man just as the trapdoor fell. (This story was based on a CNN report which has subsequently been changed. The Freerepublic thread has been pulled. It's possible that the words were not uttered after all. Further update. It turns out that one of the guards mentioned Sadr's name after all. The Times of London reports that "The guards chanted the name of the Shi’ite firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. 'Who is Moqtada?' — Saddam sneered.")
The blog Aazmaaish claims to have the last photos of Saddam taken before he was bodily carried into the execution chamber. On hearing the news of his death, I overheard someone say, 'what does Saddam have to live for? His two sons are dead.' What an epitaph. Just a few years ago the man bestrode a country. Now he and his are gone. The life expectancy of anyone the United States seriously fights is very low. Zarqawi in Iraq and Janjalani in Sulu are just two examples of men who, despite their determination have simply died. In terms of kinetic warfare, the US Armed Forces are horrifyingly lethal. The Sunni insurgents who are now out to wreak revenge upon America -- the America that through some irony of history were Saddam's last defenders against men who would tear him to pieces -- will relearn to their cost that it is one thing to revile America and another to trade blows with it. Yet if victory is measured by the attainment of political goals -- the goal being the establishment of a prosperous and democratic Middle East -- then for all of America's military invincibility it is arguable the finish line is as far as ever. The ability to build civil institutions and spread constructive ideas has lagged behind the capacity to destroy. In a world dazzled by the glare at the heart of nuclear fission we search in vain for the light of love in men's souls. The Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, reflecting on the curious moral darkness of our world dreamed of a future illumined by another brilliance: "Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." Maybe someday, but today we reserve our fires to scorch each other. Today the last words in Saddam's ears was mockery from another demon grinning at him from across the scaffold. "Moqtada al-Sadr". May he fare better on the other side.


Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

The Iraqi government and the opposition have shown themselves to be no different from Saddam Hussein. Saddam's sectarian hatred and torture has been replaced by the current government's ethnic cleansing and the insurgency.

We gave the Iraqis freedom, and freedom is like a mirror. Whatever they do bounces back on them. Living in poverty and war is the price they pay.

12/30/2006 02:59:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

In Hussein's home town of Tikrit, the streets were calm...

Abdul Samad Ahmed, a professor at the University of Tikrit, said: "There is no such sectarian government in the whole world like this one, that would bring sorrow to one-third of the Iraqi people, since Saddam is a Sunni. Let Maliki know the days will turn and a day will come in which he will be executed on Eid, as well," he added, referring to Iraq's Shiite prime minister, Nouri-al-Maliki.

12/30/2006 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

With Saddam removed from the playing field I think his remaining thugs will be in disarray. They will probably fight over what money is left in Syria.

I must say that he should have been liquidated long ago. The quicker he was off the chess table the less trouble his thugs would have stirred up in Iraq (and probably less lives would have been lost).

Further, the timely disposal of Saddam would have made Assad and this masters in Iran think twice about meddling in Iraq.

I have used considerable bandwidth on how the Nuremberg trials took less time and less hassle. I will not repeat it.

I do think Saddam's final disposition is positive step in the right direction. But, more steps in the same direction have to be taken.

12/30/2006 03:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the shout of "Moqtada Al Sadr" meant to imply Moqqie is next to the air dance.

However, I don't think that is what the guard meant.

12/30/2006 04:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when is the video coming out? Once that hits the 'net you'd better youtube it quick becuase it'll be gone fast.

12/30/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> The Sunni insurgents who are now out to wreak revenge upon America -- the America that through some irony of history were Saddam's last defenders against men who would tear him to pieces

That reminds me of an article from August:

My meeting with a high-level commander of a Sunni insurgent group takes an unexpected turn when he angrily demands, "Where are the Americans? Why aren't they protecting our people?" For two years, the man has boasted to me about his fighters' operations against U.S. soldiers. Now he wants them as a shield from the marauding militias. It's clear from his indignation that the irony escapes him.

> I hope the shout of "Moqtada Al Sadr" meant to imply Moqqie is next to the air dance.

For Sunnis, the failure to smash the Mahdi Army is not so much an indictment of al-Maliki as proof of a U.S. double standard. Salam al-Zaubai, a Sunni and one of al-Maliki's two Deputy Prime Ministers, complains that U.S. forces treat the militias with kid gloves. "When they attacked the Sunni resistance, they flattened entire cities, like Fallujah," he says. "But when it comes to Sadr City, their approach is different. Why?"


12/30/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wu Wei,

That whole idea that since we are not smashing the Shia militias show how sometimes we are victim to mythology. You heard a lot of this shortly after Katrina.

The reason aid & assistance wasn't immediate after Katrina was because of racism not because of material limitations.

Many Iraqis on both sides believe since we have yet to instill perfect order in Iraq it must be because of a devious plotting and not because of simple lack of will and because it is just plain difficult.

I know I somewhat contradict myself but going after Moqdud is going to be quite an effort, remember, his party makes up a significant portion of the Iraqi government.

12/30/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

saddam is dead...

the pope, EU and others are upset that it was a crime to kill him..

israel was not allowed to kill arafat, and yet the arab world blames israel for doing so...

Lesson learned?

Kill the bad guys quickly and get it over with.

Next target? iran..

time to create balance again.

12/30/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

I don't think the Hussein / Sadr double-standard is our problem. It is the Iraqi government's problem, and the Sunni opposition / insurgency's problem. Both sides are flamingly partisan and can't give in.

On the morning Saddam is executed, no one from the Sunni side bring themselves to say "Yes, he was a Sunni but he was a monster". Or even "He went too far". And Maliki's Shiite government dances around the body, while at the same time their militia squads ethinic cleanse Sunnis out of Baghdad. At the same time the Sunnis are asking to be treated fairly, it has to be considered that not only did Saddam slaughter tens of thousands of Shiites & Kurds, but Sunnis have been killing Shiites since the early days of the war, not "soldiers" but civilians.

So unless it was intended sarcastically, it was stupid for Maliki to talk about reconciliation right after killing Saddam, without any other gesture. His speech ends up being just another partisan attack, coming across as saying that the Sunnis should surrender now that Saddam is dead.

I definitely don't blame the US. At this point there is nothing we can do to bring peace, because the sides have their minds made up to fight.

12/30/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some ancient nations have not forgotten the benefits of a little judicious lightning justice--from the Fourth Rail:

"Several American military and intelligence sources have informed us that the Ethiopians are not taking 'foreign' prisoners on the battlefield - al-Qaeda fighters are being summarily executed. Some advantages the Ethiopians possess over the United States is a willingness to use all means necessary to eliminate the ICU and al-Qaeda, and a willingness to ignore international condemnation for its actions."

12/30/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Coisty said...

With Saddam removed from the playing field I think his remaining thugs will be in disarray.

That sounds familiar. Didn't we hear such predictions after the first Iraqi election? Actually I think we heard that right after Iraq was "liberated." And again when big names on the famous deck of cards were arrested. And again when Saddam was captured.

12/30/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Can we assume the Iraqi's who hauled Saddam to the gallows were carefully chosen, a sort of honor guard?

Then what does it say about the penetration of Sadr's thugs at all levels of Iraq that one of those handpicked guards is an Iraqi terrorist?

I suppose it's too much to hope for that the guard was immediately fired from his position and/or arrested.

I'm beginning to think that *all* Iraqi's are terrorists.

12/30/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston2 said...

"Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes." I'm playing Catatonia's song I Am The Mob continuously today. Yes, the muslims have been cursed by the fact that their religion is based on the sword (starting with Mohammed), and those who live by it die by it. Saddam fit in well with that underlying culture, and it is clear that a peaceful era will take a while, if ever, to come to Iraq. Will Sadr be the next to the gallows, or the eventual leader? Stay tuned.
Regarding the Somali government (and their agents, the Ethopians) treatment of foreign fighters, it's arguable that since they're dressed in civilian garb that they're spies under the Geneva Conventions and can be executed. Yes, it's thin, but if confronted on the issue that's what I'd have my PR guy say to the so-called "human rights" groups and "world community."

12/30/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...


Solzhenitsyn, Teilhard de Chardin ...I think that you would love the writing of Toynbee when he talks about the role of religion in history and beyond history!

I swear, this is my very last plug for Toynbee!!

Happy New Year.

12/30/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel DiRito said...

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

12/30/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger RegretLeft said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/30/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pat Patterson said...

It would have been a justice to have Saddam suffer the same fate as Pentheus.

12/30/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger RegretLeft said...

The "shout of "Moqtada Al Sadr" meant to imply"?

perhaps the guard referred not to the son - but to his far more prominent father - the highly revered shia imam murdered by Saddam in ..? the late 90s (I think, but am not sure, they shared the same name)

12/30/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> Some advantages the Ethiopians possess over the United States is a willingness to use all means necessary to eliminate the ICU and al-Qaeda, and a willingness to ignore international condemnation for its actions

That's true only if "all means necessary" means diplomacy and winning the hearts and minds of the population because that's why the Ethiopians did.

For example, the capital, Mogadishu, fell without a shot being fired. That's not the use of force.

Ethiopia had deals cut with the Somalis before their troops crossed the border. The tribes which had provided most of the manpower for the Islamists turned on them and took their troops back. It all comes down to winning the hearts and minds of the population, and the Islamists lost them.

12/30/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> Then what does it say about the penetration of Sadr's thugs at all levels of Iraq that one of those handpicked guards is an Iraqi terrorist?

Unfortunately, Sadr is part of the government, with 30 seats in parliament. Even before one guard mentioned Sadr, others has argued with Saddam all the way to the gallows, then they danced around his body after he was dead.

12/30/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> the pope, EU and others are upset that it was a crime to kill him..

Saddam is such an extreme case that this shows clearly that those "yes, but" excuses are just phony excuses for saying "no". Instead of saying that they didn't want Saddam to die, "Arabs" are supposedly only angry because it happened right before an Islamic holiday, or it was rushed, or Saddam didn't get to pick the color of his clothes...

It almost seems like a satire or grim comedy that the Iraqis object to these trivial items when talking about a murderer of tens of thousands, and while they are killing each other by the hundred. Even an insurgent leader admitted how ridiculous it is, during the interview I linked to earlier:

In our previous meeting two months ago, the insurgent leader had been cursing the Marines accused in the massacre of innocent civilians in Haditha. Since then, the accumulation of atrocities by Iraq's militias has altered his perspective. "Haditha was nothing compared to what the militias are doing," he says.

12/30/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Ding dong the dick is dead.

Imagine what a few well placed guided missiles would have achieved had they hit thier mark. What lives and countless billions would have been saved not to mention the moral authority of a nation... yet the US dug in and went though the excruciating effort to bring the man to justice by the laws and the justice of his own people.

The parting refrain ," Moqtada al Sadr" must've have weighed heavy on Saddam's mind in recent days. How easy would have it been to make peace with the Amies? Pride walked to the gallows today. Long in tooth and beard, Saddam lived an illustrious life, a modern Saladin in his mind, no end resisted, is easy, and to the credit of his forebears in infamy, he can say " I did it my waaaaaaay".

12/30/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...


They say that certain events come in threes. Imagine the contrasts of these three:

James Brown
Saddam Hussein
Gerald Ford

It boggles.

12/30/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

"The life expectancy of anyone the United States seriously fights is very low."

Good point. When are we going to begin seriously fighting Osama bin Laden?

12/30/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"'The life expectancy of anyone the United States seriously fights is very low.'

Good point. When are we going to begin seriously fighting Osama bin Laden?"

I was wondering this myself.

And apparently Mullah Omar is being welcomed back into Afghanistan.

12/30/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any dictator deconstructing the hanging of Saddam Hussein derives a lesson and develops an inhibition: a true fact, and one that will work for us preemptively for many years to come.

12/30/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You don't there's something about too long a process, too late a reckoning and a penalty too not unanimously supported by the world community that undercuts any deterrent potential?

12/30/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That his executioner is having trouble administering his estate is a small victory for Saddam Hussein, and a small hope for others like him.

The persistance of that hope is the failure of Bush.

12/30/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve said, "When are we going to begin seriously fighting Osama bin Laden?"

No one has heard any new audio from Osama since July, but Zawahiri likes to release "Best Of" compilations, which studios are also fond of doing for Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Elvis, Robert Johnson, and other artists who have assumed room temperature.

12/30/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would agree to that, Aristides.

To increasing numbers of us, it's getting to look as if we're killing the project with legalism and too much patience, generosity, and misplaced understanding for alt understanding.

12/30/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annoymouse said, "They say that certain events come in threes. Imagine the contrasts of these three:"

James Brown:"When I'm on stage, I'm trying to do one thing: bring people joy. Just like church does. People don't go to church to find trouble, they go there to lose it."

Saddam Hussein: "Remember the valiant Iraqi peasant and how he shot down an American Apache with an old weapon."

Gerald Ford: "If Lincoln was alive today, he'd roll over in his grave."

12/30/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is a common opinion to think our unilateralism (or more properly, coalitionism) was a one off, an anomaly and a mistake quickly falsified by consequent events, terminated in its infancy by the self-indulgence of the West, never to rise again.

I'm not so sure. It's not like the assertive and mildly paranoid coalitionism of '02 was a random affectation. This mood manifested itself only after we were attacked, and there is nothing in history or psychology to disprove the notion that such heightened sensitivities are anything but inevitable if we are attacked again.

If we are attacked again, those who are currently enjoying a fuzzy gray might find themselves inextricably stuck in a solid black. To the extent it occurs, our enemies' anticipation of this creates a subtle shift in geopolitical probabilities. In other words, a deterrent.

12/30/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I supported the wars vs. Afghanistan and Saddam's Iraq. But things intentional and accidental happen, and now our country is in the situation of propping up those who would look to our enemies for inspiration and for help with killing our soldiers. And this is not unobserved by our enemies.


12/30/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger HeavyJ said...

Right, bin Laden is dead.

Until he releases the next tape proving that he is alive and gloating about the spectacular incompetence of Geroge W. Bush.

12/30/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

re: Osama bin Laden

Hooray for Hollywood!

Paging Mr. bin Laden.

12/30/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The imperative after 9/11 was only belatedly inflated to encompass species-wide liberation. The initial imperative was more modest, and more necessary: to make our homeland safe by changing the calculations of rogue governments.

The tragedy is that--through their timidity and self-regard--our own people (largely of the Left) diluted the effect that was meant to protect them.

12/30/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pride walked to the gallows today.

Very well said, Annoy Mouse.

12/30/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so it's a good thing the US has no proudful agenda or pride? 'Cause that's where we are.

12/30/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> The tragedy is that--through their timidity and self-regard--our own people (largely of the Left) diluted the effect that was meant to protect them.

How could it be the fault of the Left, which was virtually powerless until a few months ago, powerless for four years after 9/11? Bush did what he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted. He failed, as measured by his own standards.

As commander-in-chief Bush's job is to politically kick the glass of the Left and its media, and to lead the people into supporting the war. if the Left is running wild, the people doubt him, and the war is not going well, Bush can find the problem by looking in the mirror.

When we are dealing with a deadly enemy, it would be very dangerous to assume that the commander-in-chief is perfect, and all problems must be in the people of the country.

12/30/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> perhaps the guard referred not to the son - but to his far more prominent father

Yes, that was it. Talking about the father, who Saddam killed.

After that, Saddam was taunted by some of those invited to watch him die, according to a new video apparently shot by someone with a cameraphone and broadcast exclusively on Al-Jazeera satellite television.

One of the official witnesses to the execution called out praise for Dawa Party founder and Shiite cleric Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr, who was executed by Saddam along with his sister in 1980. Al-Sadr is the father of Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, and Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a key figure in today's Dawa movement.

Saddam appeared to smile at those taunting him from below the gallows and said they were not showing bravery.


12/30/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad Saddam is dead. I hated the guy back when he was Ronald Reagan's best friend and we were selling him arms.

That said, it is not surprising that the most powerful nation on Earth is able to kill people. The biggest gorilla in the jungle usually gets his way.

12/30/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush’s war killed more Iraqi’s then Saddam did. When is Bush’s trail?

Most of the free world fails to understand how/why there is so little revealed about the trial of Saddam Hussein, and indeed why he was not fully hold in account for his crime in Kurdistan not to forget loss of one million human during Iran/Iraq war and occupation of Kuwait.

It’s clear that Saddam was not allowed to divulge top secrets of how the US and the West armed his regime and gave him the political and military means to keep his opponents at bay. Some of the crimes against Kurds that he was found guilty of had the blessings of the Americans at the time, and there was not any demand for justice from the Washington when it happened.

January 1984 there were reports that the United States had told
friendly nations in the Persian Gulf that the defeat of Iraq would "be contrary to U.S. interests." That sent the message that America would not object to U.S. allies offering military aid to Iraq. Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait sent howitzers, bombs and other weapons to
Iraq. And later that year the U.S. government pushed through sales of
helicopters to Hussein's government.

But that was just the beginning of Reagan's pro-Iraq campaign. The
United States sold the Iraqis military jeeps and Lockheed L-100
transports. And, according to a 2002 report in The New York Times, as
many as 60 American intelligence officers provided Iraq with "critical
battle planning assistance," lending detailed information on Iranian
deployments, plans for airstrikes and bomb-damage assessments. The
Times story further reported that this intelligence assistance was
offered even though American officers knew the Iraqi commanders would
probably use chemical weapons against the Iranians.

The military aid helped Iraq hold off the Iranians, and the war dragged


--- Prof. Leland Milton Goldblatt

12/30/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Man,alot of lefties stewin'in it here that Saddam took the dirtnap he so richly deserved.Yeah Bush and Reagan were worse than Saddam.At least in the foul fever swamps of your collectivist imaginations.
Lets tie together Ford,James Brown and Hussein.
The left thought Nixon deserved the gallows more than any psychopath our world so often produces.Ford brought the calm deliberation of perspective and ended the Watergate tribunal.Ford was a second rate president,but a first rate man.
It doesn't matter if they shouted Mokie's name.That clown will meet divine justice one day too.Geopolitics aside;Saddam was a bad actor who sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind and will join his sons in hell.Good riddance.
The Godfather of Soul sang the soundtrack for Saddam's hanging."Payback's a bitch"

12/30/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about the timing of Saddam Hussein’s execution. I have already expressed those reservations.

Sadly, whatever scholarship Dr. Goldblatt may have accomplished in theology, one should consider carefully whether his statements are intended primarily for the greater good of humanity or out of a political vendetta against Republicans. He has described himself as a “GOP Hater” on his website, so it would be wise to consider his statements in the context of a bitter partisan agenda.

12/30/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


As opposed to much of the American political spectrum, I am unhappy with the level of leverage moneyed men have in American politics. This unhappiness is not only aimed at the corruption from corporate interests, but the agendas of rich men. A wise man once said, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” It is important not to become too enamored of the money of a rich man, whether he is George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, Ralph Engelstad, or Osama bin Laden. For many years, I have assumed that the Republican Party is corrupted by money, but I have learned how this corruption is no less true of not only the Democratic Party but the American Left in general.

I wish American politics were driven more by ideas than by money, but it appears that the money of Mr. Soros can buy enormous loyalty from many leftists, never mind the callous manner he used to get his money. There was a time when progressives would oppose a rich speculator who would intentionally ruin one currency after another, taking money away from the pockets of working people in the process. But now, self-avowed “progressives” fawn on him as if he were a “national treasure”. Make that a national treasure chest.

Please understand that it is quite possible to have a negative opinion of both Bill O’Reilly AND George Soros, The Daily Kos AND Little Green Footballs. Disagreement with one person doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with his enemy.

12/30/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

"Pride walked to the gallows today," huh?

So pride really does goeth before the fall.

12/30/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
admire brutal dictators

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't kill the poor dictator

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
mourn evil tyrants...

12/31/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uspace said, "absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
mourn evil tyrants..."

God of the Universe says, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you"

12/31/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alexis said, "Sadly, whatever scholarship Dr. Goldblatt may have accomplished in theology, one should consider carefully whether his statements are intended primarily for the greater good of humanity or out of a political vendetta against Republicans."

1. Dr. Goldblatt makes statements X, Y, Z connecting Saddam's regime to Reagan's regime.

2. Alexis makes an attack on Dr. Goldblatt based on his opinion of the Republican Party.

3. Therefore Dr. Goldblatt's statements are false.

4. Check.

12/31/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Lewis said...

the US Armed Forces are horrifyingly lethal

Geeze, yeah, look what they did to Pat Tillman. Not to mention 605,000 Iraqi civilians.

12/31/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

We have had bad blood with the Iranians (444 days?)and it is natural to aid those who would war with your enemies, even though you'd not commit to that war yourself. Dr. G is a dimwit. The age of man is riven with such associations driven by the lessor of two evils. WOuld be nice that it weren't.

12/31/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Goldblatt:

You cannot compare Ronald Reagan to Saddam Hussein. Hussein was a brutal third world dictator who enjoyed personallly torturing and murdering people.
On the other hand, Reagan was content to allow third world dictators to do his dirty work for him (all in the interest of spreading democracy, of course).

12/31/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Woman Catholic:

Excuse me, but the Reagan administration was connected to Saddam Hussein's regime. The United States did help arm Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons. And Donald Rumsfeld did shake Saddam Hussein's hand.

My problem with Dr. Goldblatt's comments is not based upon their truth or falsehood but upon their utilitarian quality. That is, was Dr. Goldblatt making a constructive statement that we should try to prosecute members of the Reagan administration for complicity in Saddam Hussein's crimes or was he simply making his statement out of a vendetta against all Republicans?

There is a clear difference between the two. My problem with Dr. Goldblatt isn't whether he is being true or false, but whether he is trying to poison the well of public debate.

12/31/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the life expectency of the soldiers dead for non-existents WMDs?

12/31/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Evanston2 said...

Wow, the liberals are certainly out to play today. Let's get a couple things straight:
- Presidents have to deal with the world as it is, which is full of dictatorships and repressive regimes.
- As a rule, the U.S. doesn't mess with those regimes that just oppress their own people. Perhaps you'd like us to be Cops of the World, "freeing" people everywhere but most often their cultures (see Somalia) make this unachievable.
- Conversely, those regimes that adopt an ideology bent on regional conquest often threaten U.S. interests. You may not like it, but it is logical for the U.S. to intervene when oil (see Iraq, Iran), capitalism (see USSR, Vietnam), democracy (see Nazis), or our own territory (see Japan, Al Qaeda) are threatened.
- Further, we prefer to use proxy nations (see Israel, Iraq in the 1980s, Afghanistan vs. Soviets) and their armed forces over using our own. This is quite efficient, since we have relatively much more capital and they have the willingness to fight (which is so often lacking in the American body politic).
- Overall, this means we prefer a Pinochet over an Allende or Castro. Perhaps you would prefer that we do nothing? Then you end up with a Hitler or a Stalin. There is no free lunch.
Regarding the idiotic comment by Sirkowski about WMDs, why don't you go to Kurdistan or Iran and ask them whether Saddam had chemical weapons? This is NOT in dispute. Saddam signed a treaty at the end of Desert Storm promising to destroy all his stocks and raw materials and submit to international inspections to prove that he did so. Well, Saddam decided to NOT abide by the terms of the treaty, instead counting on Oil for Food payoffs to nations like France and Russia and liberal "peace-lovers" like yourself to get off the hook. Even after 9/11 and the change of mood in America, he remained defiant. Well, looks like he made a mistake.
For those of you who continue to act like Bush is a Hitler, he is actually more like you. He was/is idealistic enough to think we can change culture in Iraq enough to start a functioning democracy. I'm with Aristides and others who know we have sent a clear message to those who would oppose the U.S. Push your luck and you and your family end up dead. It'd be nice if Iraq became a democracy, but we've already accomplished our war aims. Iraq is now unable to threaten its neighbors or U.S. interests, it'll be weak for decades.
The Dr. Goldblatt's of this world can publish their silly papers because real men (like President Bush) make real choices to defend his freedom. If there were true justice now, he'd be living in Russia or China or Iran or some other paradise from the multicultural pantheon. Or he can join Bin Laden or Mullah Omar, who if breathing are wondering whether they can take a crap without getting their butts shot off. A far cry from pre-9/11, when they controlled an entire country (Afghanistan).
In sum, those of you who think the U.S. hasn't succeeded in Afghanistan and Iraq are fools. Our future course of action depends on how important you believe a western-style democracy is to our national interests. Personally, I'm for pulling out of all locations other than Al Asad and Balad now, and providing occasional air support to the Iraqis. Let the Shia, Sunni, and Kurds work things out, like they have for the last 1,000 years. The oil will flow, all parties need the money.

12/31/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

There are five men in black face masks who are visible on the gallows platform around Saddam, acting as guards. As they guide him towards the trap door and put the noose over his head, they start chanting religious slogans with the names of Moqtada al Sadr (the head of the Mahdi army, accused of organizing death squads against Sunnis) and Baqr al Sadr (the father-in-law of Moqtada)...

the impact of this video could be quite significant. First, it may reinforce Sunni suspicions that the execution of Saddam was merely an act of Shiite revenge for decades of repression under Saddam...

Worse, it may also reinforce the fears of Sunnis that Maliki’s government is beholden to the Mahdi army, Moqtada’s militia. Executions are generally expected to be solemn affairs –- certainly not opportunities for thugs to score some final sectarian points before the “enemy” is disposed of.


12/31/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger reoconnot said...

"decades of repression under Saddam..."

repression? What's the matter? Can't bring yourself to type mass murder? Are you in a particularly disingenuous mood?

12/31/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

"decades of repression" was from an article I quoted. It wasn't anything I said, which is why I put it in italics. There was discussion of whether Saddam was talking about Moqtada Al Sadr or his father, which is why I posted it.

1/01/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

So killing Saddam was worth destroying a country and causing the deaths of half a million people who never offered you any harm. And now you want to do the same thing to Iran.

You all disgust me. Were there any justice, you'd live to see the day when armed men came into your cities, killed your families and destroyed your houses.

Read this.

1/01/2007 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take off your tin-foil hat, Evanston. Even George W. Bush acknowledged Iraq had no WMDs.

1/01/2007 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Lewis said...

Reoconnot says: Can't bring yourself to type mass murder?

I take in then, Reoconnot, that this statement constitutes an admission on your part that the Reagan and Bush Administrations, represented by Donald Rumsfeld et alii, did knowing and willingly aid, abet, and provide comfort, in the form of weapons, precursor chemicals, intelligence information and taxpayer funds, to the mass murderer of whom you spoke, Saddam Hussein?

1/02/2007 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Evanston2 said...

Sirkowski, you are in the same league as Holocaust deniers. Iraq had WMDs. They gassed thousands of Kurds and Iranians. President Clinton thought Saddam still had them in the 1990s. Bush had no reason to believe otherwise. Saddam had thrown out the weapons inspectors. If he had fully cooperated he would probably still be breathing.
It seems thousands of corpses aren't good enough proof for you. Go put on your KKK hood or your Iranian towel. It bears repeating, you're in the same class as a Holocaust denier.

1/03/2007 12:29:00 PM  

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