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Justice or Revenge?

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« on: April 05, 2007, 02:26:51 am »

Sorry for the delayed posting of this piece on Saddam's execution.  It was written in the first week of January'07.  I guess I forgot and thought I'd already posted it  :-[

Justice or Revenge?

This episode is much like one of those theatrical myths about the "tyrants" and the "reformers" where the chief reformer comes like a swashbuckling hero to settle the score on behalf of his aging father who couldn't finish the job. 
But for a change, it might not hurt to be more down-to-earth.  Yes, I'm talking about intent, not politics.
Discarding the usual and unnecessary bickering, I ask myself -  If Saddam, then why not Pinochet?  Why not Ferdinand Marcos?   Why not the Shah of Iran?   The names of America's darling dictators could go on and on. 
In 1973 when the democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende, was murdered in a coup led by the tyrannical Augusto Pinochet with full support of the U.S., thousands of innocent Chileans were kidnapped, tortured and killed.  Many of the executioners and torturers remain free to this day and still occupy high posts in the Chilean government and military. Pinochet ruled with an iron fist for 15 years, exactly like Saddam, and was perpetually backed by the US.  After quitting when he visited the U.K., the former British PM, Margaret Thatcher, astounded the world by her comments referring to him as the man bringing democracy to Chile.  Despite the horrific human rights violations for 15 long years, Pinochet was never handcuffed and never spent a single day in prison. 
Statistically, many more people were killed, tortured and raped in Bosnia & Kosovo from 1993 to 1998 at the behest of Slobadon Milosevic than in the 25 years of Saddam Hussein's rule.  Milosevic's ethnic cleansing that killed and displaced 1.5 million was infinitely worse than Hussein's repression of the Shiias.  Hussein's defense team was under much greater security threat in Iraq (four of them being murdered in cold blood) than Milosevic's lawyers in Serbia.  Yet, if Milosevic was entitled to be sent to The Hague for trial, why not Hussein?  Was it because Milosevic had a white skin and belonged to the heart of Europe?  I bet that was one of the reasons.  But most importantly, if Saddam Hussein was sent to The Hague, he would never get the death penalty even if proven guilty.  That was the big hitch.  He had to be silenced forever, not for the love of the Iraqi people, but to keep the secrets of Hussein's 'love affair' with the White House safely locked up in the closet.  This was America's fear.  The White House was a willing accomplice to the crimes of the Baath Party throughout the 1980s, giving guns and dirty weapons to Saddam Hussein to kill the Iranians and Kurdish separatists.  If they hadn't supported him with so much affection, it would be very difficult for Hussein to go as far as he did with his violations. 
By the way, what happened to the threatening problem of the hidden WMDs?  Wasn't this the most important reason for invading Iraq?  Why wasn't Hussein tried for hiding the "stockpiles" of destructive weapons?  The CIA pretended to be darn sure that these “stockpiles” were hidden in every nook and corner of Iraq.  But there has been little or no talk of it ever since this bluff was exposed.  How conveniently matters are spun! 
Last but not least, isn't it correct that as a gesture of respect to the Noble Quraan and the teachings of the beloved Prophet, when someone is reciting the Shahadah (no matter who that person is and whatever he / she might have done) must not be told to "go to hell"?   Shouldn't every decent Muslim be aware of this spiritual etiquette?   
I wonder to what extent the U.S. backed Iraqi regime achieved its goal by allowing this execution to be filmed.  Until now, I was convinced that filming a real life execution with insults hurled at the condemned prisoner by the executioners was a clear violation of the
prisoner's rights in accordance with our 21st century ethics.  In any civilized society there would have been an investigation into such a matter with legal consequences.  But unfortunately most parts of the Muslim world have taken the backward course.  They were far more civilized and conscientious in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries than in the 21st century.
Coming to the most popular and superficial talkback on this issue:  Saddam Hussein never respected the rights of his prisoners, so why must he be respected as a prisoner?  Very true. Saddam Hussein never respected anyone, let alone his prisoners.  But I thought the tyrant's days were long over.  I was certainly disappointed to watch the 'reformers' being just as barbaric.
Confronting brutality with similar brutality is hardly a solution to any problem.  Two wrongs have never made a right in the entire history of ethics.  I don't understand how this one ever will. 
The episode involving the ‘tyrants’ and the ‘reformers’ was no justice.  It was a bloodthirsty revenge.  The long suffering people of Iraq got no respite after the death of Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein, and they will not experience any positive changes after the death of Saddam Hussein.  They might as well write off their cherished dreams of a peaceful and stable Iraq unless the ‘reformers’ realize that merely carrying out a ‘right’ action is not enough.  A right action must also be accompanied with a right intent. 
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2007, 03:12:23 am »

Hmmm, you've covered almost all of those points that kept raising questions in my mind. 

The mess is getting messier at an incredible speed.  At present, things have turned such that the Sunni factions themselves are far from united.  It's not just the Shiia / Sunni battle, it's also between Sunni and Sunni.  Al Qaeda is attacking certain Iraqi Sunni factions who want to turn out foreign militants from the country.   There is lot of talk about growing rifts between important Sunni militant groups that are said to be united under the umbrella organization of the Islamic State of Iraq.

I quote from Yahoo News of April 7'07: 

In the Internet feud, the Islamic Army in Iraq gave a rare glimpse of deep discord inside the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization for militant groups.

In a Thursday posting, the Islamic Army charged that al-Qaida — a key group inside the Islamic State — was killing fighters of the Islamic army and other militant Sunni groups if they did not pledge loyalty to al-Qaida.

It also charged that al-Qaida had killed Harith Dhaher al-Dhari, a field commander of the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades, another organization under the Islamic State umbrella.

"All Sunni people have become targets for them (al-Qaida), especially the wealthy. They either have to pay or be killed. Anyone who criticizes al-Qaida or disagrees or points out its mistakes is killed," the posting said.

Source: HERE


This entire Iraq affair has turned into a deep, thick quagmire of sh*t .. excuse me.  The Americans started it by bringing an end to Saddam's autocratic but very peaceful rule.  And now they can stand at the corner claiming to be quite clean because the Iraqis have proved themselves even dirtier. 
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2007, 03:29:56 am »

Absolutely pathetic!  Not to mention, the death toll in Baghdad alone reached 200 civilians a day or 34,000 in the past year.  And this mess is costing $2 billion per week and 70 American lives a month.

And listen to this.  Kadhim Joubri, the man who 4 years ago, on April 9'03 helped to bring down Saddam's giant statue with a sledge hammer is today deeply disillusioned, hoping that he hadn't done that.  He says he was awfully optimistic at first.  Gradually his dreams were shattered.  Now he makes no bones about his belief that the situation is a lot worse than at Saddam's time.  He also considers the presence of Americans to be the main obstacle.  Though I don't know if I could agree with this at present.  I would say, the first mistake the Americans made was by attacking Iraq pre-emptively.  That's when they gave al-Qaeda what they always desired on a silver platter .. a base in an Arab country.  America's second mistake would be to leave Iraq at this point.  The least they can do now is to make whatever efforts they can to prevent a civil war, though some honest analysts say that a civil war within Iraq is precisely the thing the Americans & Brits don't want to prevent.

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