THE EXECUTION OF A DICTATOR
IN DEATH SADDAM WILL BECOME A LEGEND, BEYOND HIS WAR CRIMES
AND THE UNITED STATES WILL REMAIN GUILTY FOR GIVING HIM WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
After spending far too many hours reading far too many stories on the reactions from across the planet to the news that Saddam Hussein has been executed, it's overwhelmingly obvious that while few regret the dictator is dead, there is a huge amount of dissent and anger at the method and timing of the execution and the 'justness' of the trial that preceded it.
While President Bush and Australia's prime minister John Howard crow about the "fairness" of the trial Saddam faced, there are few takers for such praise in the legal world. This wasn't a trial of justice, it was all about vengeance. As the fast-tracked execution shows.
It's also quite stunning to see just how many commentators, blog commenters, letter writers and opinionists, the world over, are going out of their way to point out that Saddam has been put out of Iraq's misery quick smart in order to kill off the future trial he faced for the gassing of the Kurds in the late 1980s.
Because in order for Saddam to have received a "fair and just trial" over that appalling massacre, there would have been much information going down on the public record about where Saddam actually got the toxic chemicals and the relevant delivery systems that made the massacre of more than 5000 Kurds possible. Not to mention the tens of thousands of Iranians killed in horrific ways by some of the very same chemical weapons that he used to massacre the Kurds.
The biological and chemical weapons that Saddam used on the Kurds and the Iranians were supplied by the United States, and there are US Senate records to prove it.
What this means is that a legend will now quickly form, and it's one that appears to be true, unfortunately, that Saddam was taken out before too much about the United States' complicity in arming up his regime with weapons of mass destruction during the 1980s is exposed to the harsh, unforgiving daylight of international legal scrutiny.
That Saddam was executed so publicly - via the leading nightly news stories and front page photos and Google and YouTube videos, and so brutally - being hung from the neck in a shabby room with gleeful voices mocking him - only showed just how callous and medieval the Iraqi legal system of today is.
It's supposed to be anything but. This is not the Modern Iraq fantasy that was, and continues to be, sold to the American and Western public.
The photos and videos are shocking of the execution are shocking. Probably more so because Saddam did not go fighting and screaming to his death, but managed to maintain a presence of dignity amongst his obvious fear. He did not beg for forgiveness, nor do did he apologise for his crimes.
He went down claiming he was a militant who was not afraid to die. The video shows that, while nervous, he was not terrified of the fate about to befall him. Most people would have a hard time imagining themselves meeting their death this way.
Again, this was a largely unforeseen fallout reaction for those whose job it is to market and sell the liberation of Iraq as taking that nation into the 21st century of fresh, new democracies.
Did America really spend half a trillion dollars and lose 3000 soldiers just so the Iraqis could go back to hanging people in dank rooms amongst cheering and mocking laughter?
It was never supposed to be this way.
Saddam was supposed to be served up a cold dish of justice for his crimes against humanity, and the world was supposed to learn the full extent of everything he was responsible for. Not simply just a small, (by comparison) massacre of villagers, some of whom had tried to kill him.
Compared to what Saddam did to the Kurds and to the Iranians (during the Iran-Iraq War), the massacre he was convicted for was almost the least of his crimes.
But Saddam is dead, and the the air will never be truly cleared of how the United States propped up and armed up his regime during the 1980s.
Instead, legends and conspiracy theories will flourish around the extremely disturbing facts of what happened back then.
The good news may well be that Saddam is dead.
The bad news is that he is set to become a dead legend of Hitleresque proportions.
And while Saddam hung from the thick rope for nine minutes, his neck broken, car bombs across Baghdad killed dozens of Iraqis and another seven (or more) American soldiers.
Saddam, it seems, got off easy in the end.
The Iraq Civil War is now set to become even more deadly in the year ahead. The insurgency is running rife and is smashing great holes in the US military, and the once holy strength of the America's Army. Just as Saddam promised before the war began.
Death has now claimed Saddam Hussein.
But death will now claim hundreds, if not thousands, or tens of thousands, more American and Iraqi lives.
The Last Minutes Of A Tyrant's Life - Prayers, Cry For Calm, Jeers And Mocking
"I Watched Saddam Die"
The Reaction To Saddam's Execution From Iraqi And Arab Media
Arab Haj Pilgrims Outraged At Execution, Viewed As An Insult To Muslims, Mostly For The Timing
United States And Iran Stand United....In Their Satisfaction At The Death Of Saddam
World Leaders Welcome And Condemn Death Of A Dictator
Europeans Denounce Saddam's Execution
Palestinians Say They've Lost A Leader, And Supporter
The Victory Of Vengeance Over Justice
Vatican Denounces Execution, Says Saddam's Death Was Tragic
India Condemns Execution, Protests Erupt
Taliban Says Saddam's Death Will Intensify Jihad