Saddam Hussein is to be hanged sometime within the next thirty days. It seems likely the event will occur sooner, rather than later. He was found guilty of involvement in the killing of 148 Shia Muslims in the town of Dujail in 1982; Saddam’s revenge for an attempt on his life.
The US administration would deny any involvement in the trial or the sentence, but there is little doubt that a) it was politically motivated, and b) the Americans were in favor. In fact, given George W Bush’s remark that “After all, this is the guy [Saddam] who tried to kill my dad….”, any assumption that Bush jnr might feel well satisfied with the news that Saddam was no more, wouldn’t seem particularly wild.
It really won’t matter that the trial was flawed. In a few years all will be forgotten; just another two-bit dictator who met his end the way of many other two-bit dictators. After all, we know Saddam was guilty of far more than the deaths of 148 Shias.
But, there is a parallel that goes conveniently unnoticed, or at least, unspoken.
“In Iraq a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world – and we will not allow it.” US President George W Bush, February 2003.
The reason given by the US administration for the invasion of Iraq was ‘intelligence’ proving Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be a threat to the “civilized world”. It was on that basis, and that alone, George W Bush and a couple of minor allies launched the Iraq War. It has now claimed so many lives and caused so much suffering that the brutality of Saddam Hussein pales to insignificance by comparison.
The weapons that were the excuse for invasion did not exist. At the moment such was proved to be the case, the war should have been terminated and all ‘coalition’ forces removed.
From that point – if not before – the war became illegal, for its purpose no longer had validity. It became a war of occupation, removing one regime to insert another subservient to the US. This was exactly how Adolf Hitler dominated France in 1940, when the French Vichy government was formed to carry out the policies of the Third Reich. In fact, this is how powerful nations have advanced their empires since time immemorial.
The American Empire has used a double-pronged approach – invasions of both capitalism and military. Each has proved destructive in different ways: the capitalist ideal tearing the very heart out of cultures that have evolved over thousands of years; the military – more literally – tearing the hearts out of the people. Not content to restrain itself to international fair trade, the US has taken whatever it needs by sheer force of capitalism. If that seems an exaggeration, consider the numbers of McDonalds and Walmarts spread throughout the far reaches of the globe. Then consider the multitude of foreign, apparently homespun, industries that are actually owned by American corporates.
Any country daring to resist the US capitalist invasion is shunned, sanctioned, and either economically strangled or, when all else fails – overturned by a convenient, US-backed, coup. Occasionally, when politically feasible, the action is one of military invasion.
Such was the case with Iraq. It is the reason George W Bush refuses to consider troop withdrawal. “Victory” in Iraq means ensuring a US-backed government is in power and cannot simply be overthrown as soon as US troops are demobilized. The present government of Nouri al-Maliki certainly would be, if US troops were to pull out today. The advantages to the US of extending its empire into Iraq are blatantly obvious, and certainly a prime reason for Iran’s rush to nuclear power.
Saddam Hussein will soon hang. His crime will be officially registered as genocide, but in reality his death will be punishment for thumbing his nose at the greatest power presently on earth. He wanted to dominate the Middle East, to be a great leader of all Arabs. America had different ideas. Any further rise to power on Saddam’s part would have threatened Israeli security, and under the Memorandum of Agreement signed by Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Bill Clinton in 1998 the US could not allow that to happen. In fact, under that Agreement, the US cannot allow any Arab nation to attain such power that would allow it to seriously threaten Israel’s security. Hence, the panic over Iran’s possible move towards nuclear weapons.
The huge loss of life and immense suffering created in Iraq by the aggressive intervention of the US military; failure by the US administration to retreat once WMD’s were not found; the regime of torture and deprivation in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay Detention Center; the use of “secret prisons” where torture was administered free of the US legal system; the utilizing of white phosphorus and cluster bombs against civilian targets – all add up to crimes against humanity that make Saddam Hussein’s appear almost petty by comparison.
Yet Saddam Hussein is soon to hang for his crimes.
Who will ever be punished for the far greater crimes committed in the name of the United States of America?
Of course, the answer is: no-one.
Whatever America’s eventual success or failure in Iraq, being the most powerful nation on earth has one great advantage: no-one will dare stand up to you. No-one will invade your country; seize your president; hang him for his crimes against humanity.
Simply because he’s the strongest, the biggest, and the most powerful bully on earth.
Filed under: War crimes