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Five years after

It was on this date in 2003 that Saddam Hussein emerged, bedraggled and flea-ridden, from a filthy hole in the ground near Tikrit, Iraq. Life under Saddam was not the kite-flying paradise depicted by Michael Moore - Saddam was easily one of the most brutal and totalitarian dictators in recent history. His regime controlled every aspect of Iraqi life. Saddam teamed with his spawn Uday and Qusay to terrorize the Iraqi people by systematically torturing their perceived enemies. Not your US variety waterboarding, stress positions, and sleep deprivation; but thrown from buildings, beaten blind, fed feet-first into wood chippers, hung from a hook and electrocuted, doused in acid, or forced to watch the state's official rapist violate your wife and daughters. Even five years later the Iraqi people still bear the psychological scars from Saddam's brutal thirty year reign.

Saddam was responsible for the deaths of approximately one and a half million people. War with Iran, invasion of Kuwait, chemical warfare against Kurds in northern Iraq, mass murder in south Iraq following an attempted coup. All of the mass graves may never be found. Saddam's regime was every bit as ruthless and had just as little regard for human life as the Khmer Rouge or DPRK. His capture, trial, and subsequent death made the world a better place.

I've never been a fan of nation building, but removing Saddam and building a democracy in Iraq has a chance to seismically shift the political landscape in the Middle East. Up to now, Israel has been the sole democracy in a sea of Islamic dictators and theocracies. The Iraqi people are the first Muslims in the region to be given a chance to try their hand at the rule of law and democracy. The experiment could still fail, but five years after Saddam was unearthed Iraq has made tremendous progress. There is still much to be done, but they have now been given a taste of freedom. Whether they can overcome the psychoses that result from thirty years of oppression remains to be seen. But the Iraqis- with our help - have beaten back those who would see them fail and become another Iranian proxy. The rest is up to them.

Of course, no words can express the gratitude we owe to the men and women of the US military who left behind their friends and loved ones to fight in Iraq. They have persevered through mismanagement, adapted to difficult circumstances, and overcome a determined enemy on his home turf. God Bless them all. Hoo Rah!

Hanging was too good for Saddam, but the people of Iraq can rest easy knowing the Butcher of Baghdad will never torment them again.

Posted by Baron Von Ottomatic


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Comments (26)

Saddam Hussein was certainl... (Below threshold)

Saddam Hussein was certainly an awful dictator that should have been brought to justice. But back in 1991 after the end of the first Gulf War and by international courts for his illegal invasion of Kuwait.

The public hanging of Hussein was unfortunately only another violent sign from this very sick society involved in so much violence and hardly any sign that this society has advanced to 21st standards of morality. Militia members were actually likely to have been responsible for this hanging because it looked like a revenge circus lynching to the world community and was in itself an unsettling event.

The hanging side show only helped to provoke more anger and more violence from the Sunni community because it looked like a Shia militia sideshow. It did nothing positive to promote secular healing in Iraq. By comparison, it appeared that Hussein was impressed by the humane treatment by his American captors, until he was handed over to Iraqi barbarism.

Paul, what nonsense. Sowing... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Paul, what nonsense. Sowing and reaping. He spent decades defiling, abusing, hurting, killing and maming people for made up reasons but expect these same peoples to just civily revere the process of executing the BUTCHER OF BAGDAD. I think the peoples of Iraq took away from the hanging a warning of future punishments if abuse of the people continue. ww

Nonsense from Hooson indeed... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

Nonsense from Hooson indeed. I also remember how disappointed many in a certain party were on the day "We got him". Iraq - One of the few things Bush got right (eventually), and about the only thing he showed backbone on.

Sheesh, Hooson, do you ofte... (Below threshold)

Sheesh, Hooson, do you often rewrite history?

Saddam was NOT hanged publicly. A guard took some photos secretly that leaked out, but there was NO spectacle about his execution -- just an announcement that justice had been carried out.

J.

So, Paul, to sum up ... (Below threshold)


So, Paul, to sum up you have know disagreement with the substance of the post, right?

It was the public spectacle of Saddam's hanging filmed on a few cell phones that tugs at your heart. You of all people should remember that somebody has to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.


"know" means "no"....sheesh... (Below threshold)

"know" means "no"....sheesh, I hate spell check.

Hugh, the post actually mad... (Below threshold)

Hugh, the post actually made a very good case for what a murderous thug that Hussein was and that he deserved to be brought to justice. However those who believe in a civilized society had only to be appalled at how Shia militia members were allowed to use the Hussein execution and other executions as lynching events and only further anger the Sunni community. Few of these executions were carried out with any sense of dignity at all compared to an orderly execution in the U.S.

I personally found any video or photos of such Iraqi executions to only be disgusting events of secular hate rather than some orderly government sponsored affair. That's why I would have preferred that Hussein be brought to justice by the international courts back in 1991 on charges related to the deaths and destruction he caused in his illegal invasion of Kuwait over their dispute over oil rights.

I do have one dispute for the post, though. When did Michael Moore ever defend Saddam Hussein? I've never seen that myself. And serious world religious leaders such as the pope have serious moral problems with executions and the message of revenge rather than justice it sends to a society. Generally it is only the more socially backward states of the world that allow executions rather than life in prison so that the guilty can have time to reflect on the seriousness of their major crimes against society.

Maybe sometime there should be serious discussion here of life and death moral issues like abortion, war and the death penalty. But that's probably somewhat off topic, so that should be for another day, perhaps?


Paul,That... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Paul,

That's why I would have preferred that Hussein be brought to justice by the international courts back in 1991 on charges related to the deaths and destruction he caused in his illegal invasion of Kuwait over their dispute over oil rights.

There was no UN authorization to invade Iraq in 1991 other than as necessary to expel the invaders from Kuwait. The US would have had to go it alone with a few close allies. Once Saddam was toppled we would have had the same nation building problems we had starting in 2003. The difference is that Saddam did have WMD back in 1991 and would likely have used it on our troops. The anti-war left would have behaved in the 90's just as they did in the last 5 years.

Unless one feels that during the time from 1991 to 2003 Saddam paid the price for "his illegal invasion of Kuwait", the 2003 invasion of Iraq could be justified by Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1991 with no further reason required.

hooson - geesh, first you g... (Below threshold)
Marc:

hooson - geesh, first you go off the rails and make the false claim his execution was "public" when it was never meant to be an only leaked then you post this tripe:

Generally it is only the more socially backward states of the world that allow executions rather than life in prison so that the guilty can have time to reflect on the seriousness of their major crimes against society.
China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and a few others have the death penalty are are far, far from being "socially backward."

Keep it clueless hooson, just keep it clueless.

Mac Lorry - "the 2003 i... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Mac Lorry - "the 2003 invasion of Iraq could be justified by Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1991 with no further reason required."

Precisely, he violated each and every requirement of the '91 ceasefire agreement and is the reason why the moonbats and other various and assorted nutcakes will never get anywhere with their "illegal war" crapola.

I am so outraged by your id... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

I am so outraged by your idiotic statement that I came immediately to post a reply and then, to read what others have to say.

Just when I think that I have heard every moronic thing you could possibly think to utter on this website, you outdo your own self and prove yet again that Paul Hooson may disregarded in every utterance for no where is any of us likely to find any more of nitwit that you.

Possibly someone will mention Kos or the like and tell me that perhaps I am overstating the case, but I just don't really think that is possible.

Do you ever take heed before hitting the submit button to consider whether what you have typed up is really worth posting? Sigh.....what do people around here have to say or do to get through to you anyway?

My previous post is address... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

My previous post is addressed to Paul Hooson. Excuse me for omitting that.

Paul, I believe it was in F... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Paul, I believe it was in Fahrenheit 9/11 that Moore showed clips of Iraqi children idyllically flying kites. I'm not saying children never flew kites in Saddam's Iraq - anymore than children in Darfur never kick around a soccer ball. It's just hardly representative of the day-to-day reality.

After much thought, I've co... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

After much thought, I've come to the conclusion that trolls and others like Mr. Hooson come to these sites because even their OWN can't stand them.

Pity, that.

Up to now, Israel ... (Below threshold)
Smiles:
Up to now, Israel has been the sole democracy in a sea of Islamic dictators and theocracies.

Iran had a functioning democracy until 1953. In response to Iran nationalizing it's oil fields, the CIA carried out a coup d'état. Democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mosaddeq was than replaced with the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a pro-Western dictator. Many people at the time considered Operation Ajax, the CIA's code word for the under-cover coup d'état, a great success. History has proved otherwise.

The 'reality-based' thinker... (Below threshold)

The 'reality-based' thinker has no real concern for the actual outcome of the ideas he comes up with. As long as the idea is soothing to his sensibilities, it's a great idea and what should have happened instead of the messy actualities that didn't pay any attention to his desires in the first place.

China, Taiwan, Hon... (Below threshold)
Smiles:
China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and a few others have the death penalty are are far, far from being "socially backward.

Israel
Israel only permits the dealth penalty in cases of crimes against humanity or high treason. Only one person has been executed in Israel since 1954. That was high-ranking Nazi Adolf Eichmann in 1962.

Taiwan
Since 2004, most death sentences have been informally given moratorium by President Chen Shui-bian except serious murders. The last person executed in Taiwan was in 2005.

India
Has not has an execution since 2004.

Japan
For 40 months from 1989 to 1993 the successive ministers of justice refused to authorise executions.

Michael Moore will invent f... (Below threshold)

Michael Moore will invent fairy tales about Satan himself if it means he can make millions off of gullible Libs. The man has no shame.

You folks sure know how to ... (Below threshold)
Rich K:

You folks sure know how to get off topic fast. Anyway, I am more concerned that the 2000 years of Islamic teaching will turn this experiment into goo more so that the 5 years of freedom will help make it a success.

Smiles - And you prove what... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Smiles - And you prove what with your last post?

Truth is, nothing, the countries listed allow the death penalty.

You didn't prove otherwise.

Smiles - And you p... (Below threshold)
Smiles:
Smiles - And you prove what with your last post?

Truth is, nothing, the countries listed allow the death penalty.

You didn't prove otherwise.

Your post was a little misleading. Especially to include Isreal, a country that has only executed one person in over 50 years. Other countries you listed currently have or recently had a moratorium on executions.

The public hanging of Hu... (Below threshold)

The public hanging of Hussein was unfortunately only another violent sign from this very sick society involved in so much violence and hardly any sign that this society has advanced to 21st standards of morality."

This, from a guy who talks glowingly about how great things have progressed in China. Where, by the way, democracy is something other countries practice. And where it's suggested that more executions have been carried out yearly than all other countries put together. Hard to say though, since the number of Chinese executions are a "state secret", but they do admit that even corruption and drug trafficking has merited execution.

But then, Paul's not buying his scooters from Iraq. So you have that.

"Reality-based thinkers"<... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

"Reality-based thinkers"
"Reality-based community".

Puzzling to understand at first, until you realize they BOTH operate from a fiction-based reality.

Let's not oversimplify hist... (Below threshold)
RA:

Let's not oversimplify history here.

First of all, when talking about the possibility of democracy in the Middle East, the effects of the Ottoman Empire, and then the long colonial period, can't be forgotten. Characterizing the ME as some barbaric place where civil society can't take hold because of some inherent quality of the people there is a naive oversimplification at best. British and French colonialism had some pretty bad results. Democracy does not exactly flourish in colonial and imperial situations.

As has already been brought up, Iran did have democratic elections in 1953, but the US made a decision to intervene, which did not work out so well in the long run. The Shah of Iran was no saint, but yes, he did toe the US line. That does not mean that it was good for his people. Of course, what came next was much much WORSE. Oppressive leadership often leads to violent revolutions, and the results are often not so good. Maybe at some point we'll learn.

Hussein was a murderous dictator, that's for sure. And it is indeed a good thing that he is no longer in power. But let's get one thing straight before we go around pretending that the US was only interested in bringing democracy to the people of Iraq.

Our government has known about Saddam for a long time. What he was doing to his people back in the 1980s was no secret, yet back then we were hoping that he would annihilate Iran, so we looked the other way (as we have done with plenty of other oppressive dictators).

From what I know, if Hussein had gone along with what the US wanted, he would probably still be in power (kinda like the Saudis today). Think about that. We took him out not because he was an atrocious and oppressive ruler, but because he didn't do what we wanted him to do. That's a flaw in our foreign policy ideology if you ask me.

While the war is often sold as some kind of freedom mission to save Iraq, IMO we went there for certain political, economic, and strategic reasons. Iraq is sitting on some extremely critical real estate in an extremely volatile and valuable area. Altruism was not one of the reasons we went in--at least not from the highest level. The phrase "US interests" is used for a reason. I do think that many US soldiers went in there wanting to do the right thing--but they do not draft foreign policy, they are just expected to implement it, no matter what it is. I think that sometimes good and brave people try to do the best they can given the orders from above.

The theory behind going into Iraq isn't all that complicated, considering who is next door, what is under the soil, and where it is geographically located. And, as opposed to pretending that it was a mission to save Iraqis, I wish that our govt could at least be a little more forthright, and tell it like it is. Of course, then wars would not get much support...

RA,There's not any... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

RA,

There's not any denying that the initial decision to topple Saddam had little to do with altruism. Saddam was a destabilizing influence on an already unstable region in which the US does have substantial interests. The well-being of Iraqis was clearly an afterthought. Some of it was Colin Powell's "you break it, you buy it" policy, the rest probably Bush's empathy for the downtrodden around the globe.

Politically, it hasn't been a winning issue for the White House. Bush's commitment says a lot about the kind of leader he really is. Taking the long view, rebuilding Iraq makes a lot of sense - the US needs allies in the Middle East. If it also helps to sow the seeds of democracy elsewhere it becomes an even better ideal. The concerted efforts of Iran and Syria to subvert the new Iraqi government is a clear indication of how much they dread a free and democratic presence in their midst.

What the initial mission was is immaterial now. The current mission is to prop up Iraq until it can defend itself from foreign actors and govern in a way that is beneficial to its people. As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of nation building exercises. They are usually protracted and tedious affairs. Iraq has proven that. But in this case the upside is enormous.

smiles - "Your post was... (Below threshold)
Marc:

smiles - "Your post was a little misleading. Especially to include Isreal, a country that has only executed one person in over 50 years. Other countries you listed currently have or recently had a moratorium on executions."

And that's pure Happy Horseshit.

It was hooson's contention only backward third-rate countries allowed the death penalty.

Whether they have executed anyone recently is, and wasn't the question.

In each instance the countries I listed allow it. Period.




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