Journal / saddam hussein

regardless of the circumstances, it always makes me sad when i read about people celebrating the death of another human being.
saddam hussein was a bad man, and a tyrant, and a despot.
but i don’t know that ‘celebrating’ his death speaks so highly of the celebrants.
i’m anti-death penalty, primarily because it represents an atavistic lack of development and compassion on our part.
my personal hope for our us is that somehow, at some point, we’ll learn to not take comfort in reprisals and vindictiveness.
our culture of punishing death with death and punishing violence with violence seems beneath us, and it seems to speak to who we were, but not who we have the potential to be.
i know, a lot of you probably think i’m just being a typical bleeding-heart liberal, but it does genuinely make me sad when i hear of people celebrating the death of another human being, regardless of what that human being might have done.
if we really are a culture of life it would seem that elective, violent death would trouble us in all cases.
i find it especially odd when christians are pro-death and when christians celebrate an execution.
jesus did kind of say: ‘love your enemies’, and ‘i desire mercy, and not sacrifice’.
executing the guilty might satisfy some violent blood-lust within us, but as everyone learns in the 1st grade, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Journal / saddam hussein

when asked about the war in iraq many pro-war republicans will say, ‘but we removed saddam hussein from power. would you rather iraq be run by a man who tortures and kills his own people?’

many things to be said about this:

1-in the run-up to the war removing saddam from power was never mentioned by the bush administration as a reason to invade iraq. bush, cheney, wolfowitz, rumsfeld, etc, only justified the war by saying that iraq had wmd’s and were flouting u.n resolutions.
we now know that:
a-iraq had no wmd’s(even bush and co. have admitted this. president bush even joked about this by looking for wmd’s under his desk).
b-the administration knew beforehand that iraq didn’t have wmd’s. all un-tampered pre-war intelligence said that iraq had no wmd’s.

2-there are many countries currently suffering under the yoke of repressive dictators, but yet we would never wage war on a sovereign nation because we didn’t like the way a dictator was running his country. war is waged when a sovereign nation violates the sovereignity of another sovereign state.

3-the u.s has in the past actively supported dictators(including saddam hussein, don’t forget that in the mid 80’s when saddam was gassing the kurds donald rumsfeld said, ‘saddam’s a guy we can do business with in the middle east’. just google ‘donald rumsfeld shaking hands with saddam hussein’ and you’ll get great video of rumsfeld enthusiastically greeting saddam. this was roughly the same time that saddam was gassing the kurds)who’ve killed and brutalized their own people. panama, chile, el salvador, iran, nicaragua, sub-saharan africa, the list goes on and on. it’s worth remembering that most of our ‘enemies'(sadddam, the taliban, noriega, etc)were former allies who we helped to install in power. fun fact: the training base where al qaeda trained in afghanistan was originally set up and funded by the cia during the cold war.

4-saddam was awful. but the sad truth is that iraq was a more stable and civilized place under his leadership than it is now. and far fewer civilians were killed by saddam’s brutal regime than have been killed during the iraq war.

so please don’t try to justify the war in iraq by saying ‘we got rid of saddam’.
to recap:
getting rid of saddam was not the reason the war was begun, saddam used to be our friend + ally, it’s illegal to wage war because you don’t like a dictator, when saddam was at his most brutal he was being supported and funded by the u.s, and iraq post-saddam is a disaster that will eventually become an all out civil war that will only be resolved by partition into kurdish, sunni, and shi’ite states.

saying ‘the war in iraq was justified cos we got rid of saddam’ is ignorance and foolishness of the highest order, showing a complete ignorance of international law, u.s history, and the stated objectives of the bush administration before the war.

the wisest and most noble thing that could be done at this point would be to enforce a partition(which, believe me, would be incredibly difficult) and bring our troops home.

Journal / Saddam Hussein

wow. they caught saddam hussein. that’s great news.
saddam was a merciless despot who terrorized his people for decades, and even though he hasn’t been in power for months his capture still has great significance.
hopefully now the iraqi people can begin rebuilding their country and their lives.
and hopefully this might somehow lead to more stability in iraq that will enable the troops to start coming home.