Saddam’s supposed to swing at dawn, which is about 10 eastern, which is in about 45 minutes.
Just thought I’d pass that along. Since I don’t have cable anymore.
Okay, I’m feeling a bit immoderately-bloodthirsty at the moment, so here’s a link to RC2, who’s being a grown up about this, and actually taking the opportunity for some serious discussion, mutual edification, at the very least something other than jumping up and down excitedly for a better view. Although it does run rather parallel (if one squints) to bits of what I was quoting in the last post.
Although I do have to offer, or suggest a parallel, to something my mad electrician said, that they tried Ceauşescu quick and shot him, and his wife, because there were still those people in the country who would fight for him. So not just revenge, there.
Well, apparently it happened about as I was typing up Update I. There’s video and photos, but haven’t been released yet, so you can all put your TiVos back to work recording Simpsons reruns. Meanwhile, the obituary’s already been published (I love the way they write these things ahead of time. There’s something so unceremonial about that.).
Times Online – Obituary – Saddam Hussein<br/> April 28, 1937 – December 30, 2006<br/> Former Iraqi dictator who ruled his country without mercy and struck fear into the heart of millions
(This thing’s four pages long.) (You can’t say the man didn’t have a busy life.)
Saddam Hussein was a tyrant whose actions brought down unimaginable catastrophe on Iraq and its peoples. From an early age, he had enjoyed inflicted suffering on those around him and, when he came to positions of political power, those whom he could not force or corrupt into submitting to his will, he maimed, murdered or made to flee.
He started two major international wars – one against Iran, the second as a result of aggression against Kuwait – which cost an estimated one million lives. He instituted genocidal campaigns against the Kurds in the north of Iraq and the Marsh Arabs in the south. Ruling through the Sunni minority of which he was a member, he ignored the claims of the country’s majority Shia population.
The third war in the region – which brought him and his regime down – was not directly begun by him, but by apparent American – and British – fears of a perceived threat his arsenal of weapons posed to international security. This time Saddam misjudged the event – and certainly the American mood.
Having been let off the hook after his defeat over his Kuwait adventure, he clearly felt that the international community did not have the stomach for a fight. He may have been right in that. But a new American President, George W Bush, determined to find a scapegoat for the Muslim terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001, was in no mood to abide by the niceties of international law. In the determination of President Bush and his cabinet of advisers, Saddam at length met his match, though the internecine aftermath of the campaign that overthrew him gave his conquerors little enough satisfaction.
Well, it was a little more complicated than that, but who wants to go through that again at this time.
In 1958, after the overthrow of the monarchy, he was briefly imprisoned for the murder of a teacher, his uncle’s Communist opponent in parliamentary elections in Tikrit, and began to develop a reputation as an assassin. For this reason, the leaders of the Socialist Arab Renaissance (Baath) Party, apparently in collusion with Egypt’s Colonel Nasser, chose him to lead an attempt on the life of the country’s military dictator, General Abdul-Karim Qasim.
It’s amazing, the things you learn, when the obituaries are written.
…after the military had thrown the Baathists out of the government in November 1963, Saddam was engaged in racketeering and in accumulating secret caches of arms for his Party’s street fights with opponents. He rose quickly through the party by intimidating or eliminating his rivals. He also planned for the eventually successful recapture of power in July 1968, immediately upon which, he and his groups of street fighters shot or stabbed to death over a thousand shopkeepers belonging to a rival union.
Secret caches of weapons, personal advancement through intimidation and elimination, murder of members of rival groups? Boy that sounds familiar. And here I thought it was all a pack of lies made up by Cheney so Bush could get revenge for his father and Rove could get Condi Rice’s friends at Halliburton rich off of Mary Cheney’s lesbian partner’s oil deals with Donald Rumsfeld. While he wasn’t listening to the advice from his generals, that is.
[During the Iraq-Iran war] Saddam now announced a “unilateral withdrawal from Iranian territory”, only to have his offer rejected by Khomeini, who continued to inspire lightly-armed young supporters seeking martyrdom for Islam to throw themselves at sophisticated Iraqi defences.
Hey that sounds familiar. On the bright side, he didn’t have to deal with the guys at CNN clucking over the quagmire and his photojournalists getting pulitzers for displaying the impressive resilience of the enemy.
Over the next six years, small districts of southern and central Iraq were occupied by Iran, with the city of Basra, Iraq’s second largest, coming close to falling several times. Saddam made heavy use of chemical weapons, clearly violating the Geneva Protocols, without any international retribution, and he resorted to the indiscriminate bombing of civilian quarters in Iranian cities, including Tehran. He also bombed Iran’s oil terminals in the Gulf and used French-supplied missiles to strike at oil tankers.
The Iranians, who had closed the Gulf to Iraqi shipping from the outset of the war, retaliated by attacking all commercial vessels bound for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the financial mainstays of Iraq. This brought in the United States, which itself covertly supported Iraq. It re-flagged oil tankers bound for Arab ports and confronted the Iranian navy. Britain and other Western states sent mine countermeasures ships to the Gulf. Iran’s stout resistance made the war one of the longest major conflicts this century. Some 50 small towns and thousands of villages along the border between the two countries were destroyed.
The end came in the summer of 1988 [eight years, why, that's longer than WWII!], after Iraq’s enhanced chemical weapons had begun to be more effective. The Fao Peninsula and the oil-rich Majnoon islands were recaptured and Iran itself became vulnerable. Ayatollah Khomeini announced that he would accept Resolution 598 of the Security Council, which was “worse than drinking from a poisoned chalice”. A cease-fire came into effect in August, with the question of reparations left in the air.
Before the onset of the war, Iraq’s estimated three million Kurds in the northern highlands had started another uprising in the pursuit of cultural and political rights. During the war they received military aid from Iran. Towards the end, in March 1988, the town of Halabja had just fallen to Kurdish guerrillas when Iraqi aircraft saturated it with a mixture of poison and nerve gases. Some 5,000 people died and many more were maimed. The rest of the population fled to Iran.
However, the Soviet Union and France continued to sell weapons to Baghdad, while Britain doubled Iraq’s export credit guarantees. The Senate in Washington voted to impose sanctions on Baghdad, but the measure ran out of time in the House of Representatives when President Reagan said he would veto it.
By now Saddam was convinced that all international protests about human rights were designed solely to extract commercial concessions, and that no atrocity of his risked serious punishment. He believed that Western powers would not oppose his acquiring of nuclear weapons, since they had allowed him to buy chemical weapons technology and had apparently turned a blind eye to his agents buying nuclear triggers and fissile material, often with money borrowed from themselves under such guises as credit for agricultural products.
So, uh, you know, one could almost look at all that and think, golly, all that, the place is really fuxored up, y’know? Maybe we kind of have a responsibility, or at least admit it would be the nice thing to do, to help kind of fix it a bit, rather than just say “Damn, you guys is fuxored” and take off? Maybe?
State department shines again:
[Before he invaded Kuwait he had a visit from] the American ambassador April Glaspie, who, reportedly, told Saddam that “the United States had no view regarding inter-Arab disputes”.
Well hey we do now!
Nevertheless, in June 1999, when Forbes Magazine placed Saddam among the richest men in the world with an estimated personal fortune of $6 billion US dollars, the United Nations reported that over half of all food and medicines it had allowed to be purchased by Iraq were perishing in warehouses in the country. While malnutrition and disease ravaged Iraqis, members of the regime seemed able to import any luxury product they desired and Western reporters found some of the medicines bearing the United Nations label on sale in Jordan and Iran.
Ah, I remember those times. Those were good times. Those halcyon days before Bush started casting around for a scapegoat for 9/11.
Saddam, though deriving encouragement from worldwide anti-war protests, so far bowed to this show of force as to allow the return of UN weapons inspectors. At the same time he, not surprisingly, made their work of verification and destruction as difficult as possible. But American patience was running out. Such large and highly technical land and air forces could not be kept indefinitely in the sweltering heat of the desert. Their merely having been assembled gave the impetus to war its own relentless momentum. When the blow fell it did so with irresistible force.
Goodness, is that why we went to war? Because the sun was ruining the upholstery in the jets? Who knew!
Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq since 1979, was born on April 28, 1937. He died on December 30, 2006, aged 69.
In case we start thinking this was all an intellectual game between Saddam and some American airforce upholstery (graphic images for those with reluctant eyes):
But don’t worry, there’s a good laugh at the end of the 1050 update (it’s also got, at 2020, the only report so far of his demeanor as he was lead to the gallows (snivelling like the gutless psychopathic coward that he was (reportedly))) (Update VI: No, CBS is reporting that he went to the gallows “defiantly,” rejecting the hood, like the psychopathic megalomaniac freak that he was (reportedly)).
In LGF’s comments, the news from (near) one of the Iraqi polling places:
Anyone see the people cheering and waving Iraqi flags in Dearborn Michigan? lololol
So, the first bit of news I can find on television is on the CBC. The first words I hear “…administration’s gotten what it wants” followed by questions about potential attempts to move it up to before the midterms, and if there’s going to be any political benefits for the Republicans. Ah, Canadians. Now they running the piece on his life. Priorities. Gotta get the hard news out of the way first.