Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"A Shiite Hanging With No Western Witnesses"

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Steve Soto has followed up on the Burns-Santora piece about the manner in which Saddam Hussein's execution was conducted. Steve notes the prior coverage by Glenn Greenwald and other bloggers; then tells us that he e-mailed Marc Santora to get more information about Santora's sources for his description of the hanging:

One last word on the account in the Marc Santora piece that described the hanging in yesterday's Times:

His executioners wore black ski masks, but Mr. Hussein could still see their deep brown skin and hear their dialects, distinct to the Shiite southern part of the country, where he had so brutally repressed two separate uprisings.

I followed up with Santora by email yesterday, and he has graciously responded to my question about the authenticity of this account, as to whether this was Santora's first-person account of what Saddam could see of his executioners.

I had to rely on what the Iraqi witnesses told me, seeing as how there were no westerners allowed, not even a US military representative.

Therefore, the whole account of Saddam execution was a creation of the al-Maliki government spoon fed to our media and the Bush Administration, an execution carried out under official cover in violation of the law by Muqtada al-Sadr with the religious sanction of the Najaf ayatollahs.

In an update to his earlier post, Glenn adds [emphasis mine]:

Soto accurately describes the event as "an execution carried out under official cover in violation of the law by Muqtada al-Sadr with the religious sanction of the Najaf ayatollahs." And the prohibition on all Western press only serves to underscore further the true nature of this execution.

There are those who profess not to understand why the fairness or legitimacy of the execution is being questioned, because this was Saddam Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad. How can people call it a "legal lynching" or a death squad hit carried out by Shiite thugs? Who cares? Saddam was a monster! Why waste tears on him?

Well, for these people, here is the answer: It's not about Saddam. It's about the way justice is carried out in a law-abiding and democratic society. Is a lynching okay if the guy being lynched is really, really, really bad? Think about it for a while.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Hey Kathy!

The problem as I see is you are merely trying to re-arrange deck chairs on the Titanic.

Iraq has bigger problems than Saddam Hussein. The execution of Hussein did not make things worse, things were already very bad. The country is already in a civil war. About the only hope right now of getting some sort of stability in Iraq is to bring in a UN peace keeping force, and it is a slim hope that a peace keeping force would be effective at this point.

I agree with you that lynching ought to be avoided whenever possible when dealing with anyone including a jerk off like Hussein, but in this instance it really does not matter. It doesn't matter if people shouted degrading comments out to him while he was on the gallows. Believe me at that point, they were the least of his problems. Also please remember the people carrying out the execution had very good reason to cover their faces and nothing to do with wrong doing. In the current state of the country, even if the execution was carried out to the letter of the law, anyone who showed their face would be in danger. It is also important to note that even the USA executioners cover their faces, nobody is supposed to know who is doing the deed.

If the execution of Hussein had not taken place, things would not be one iota better, the civil war would still have continued and in fact still is. Justice is in very short supply in Iraq right now, and that is simply heartbreaking for Iraqis. They really are in between a rock and a hard place.

Saddam Hussein may seem important to a few Iraqis as a symbol of what they are fighting over, but he is really is irrelevent. The war continues whether he lives or dies.

However if people are really concerned about the state of justice in Iraq, they are sure taking the long route to reach that point. All I see is hand wringing over poor Hussein. As far as I am concerned he can rot in hell. Save your tears for the Iraqi people.

Take Care