Saturday, December 30, 2006

Clarity and a proven point

Yes, it's time for a little clarity.

I'm not saddened by the passing of Saddam Hussein. For most of my life I was completely ambivelent about his existence. Unlike Donald Rumsfeld, I never met the man and never shook his hand. He meant nothing to me until 1991. There was a point where I would have had no hesitation, if, in the highly unlikely event I ever had him in my rifle sights, in squeezing off whatever number of rounds it would have taken to kill him. I was committed to war and he was the leader, both political and military, of my declared enemy.

That changed when we went home. War's over, let the politicians and the generals sort out the mess. Saddam, now an international pariah, reverted, in my mind at least, to that of an unapprehended criminal and a brutal dictator. He remained that until captured by US forces in December 2003. After that, he became the accused and, regardless of what anyone might like to believe, his captors had a duty and responsibility to present their entire case against him and allow him to present his version of events. Without it, judgement would be nothing but a hollow display of vengance; the climax of a temper tantrum thrown by the incompetent prosecutors of a failed and unnecessary adventure in Iraq. Without a full and comprehensive trial, charges and airing of all events for which we considered Saddam culpable, those who have led this charade; those who encouraged it and; those who claimed that, once captured, any form of trial was unnecessary became no better than Saddam Hussein.

Scott, at Lawyers, Guns and Money quotes Jim Henley who states:
And it’s also true that the US and its Iraqi allies chose to try Saddam on one of his relatively minor crimes because if they did so they could get him safely hung before they had to try him for the major ones, the gas attacks and massacres that happened during The Years of Playing Footsie with the United States. The Dujail reprisals were a war crime, no doubt about it, a bigger sham of justice than Saddam’s own trial, by two orders of magnitude. They were also the sort of war crime that people like Ralph Peters and a hundred other pundits and parapundits think the United States should be committing. Every time you read a complaint about “politically correct rules of engagement” you are reading someone who would applaud a Dujail-level slaughter if only we were to perpetrate it. Those are the people who are happiest of all about tonight’s execution. Smells like - victory! It’s the pomander they don against the stench.
Scott then picks up on an entry reeking in putrifaction by Jeff Goldstein. It is there that the point made by Cathie comes ringing through. The newest chickenhawk talking point to deflect attention from the depth of the failure of their saviour and themselves:
Let them, for one brief moment, bracket their partisan aggressions and reflect on what the US and its allies have done in removing this butcher from power—which, contrary to received wisdom, has made Iraq a far better place, if only for the moment potentially.
Potentially?! But not now. Maybe in the future. A success that hasn't occurred yet. We can expect, as Cathie warned us, to hear this used for almost every failure.

Even in their moment of "victory", as they are so inclined to view this execution, the chickenhawks are scratching at the dirt trying to find a morsel of justification for their actions and their words. They were wrong. They promoted a sham, from justification for the invasion of Iraq to kabuki theatre being held out as a trial, the likes of which fell so short of international and US standards that it found new ground.

And what will be their mark of victory tomorrow?

I wonder.

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