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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Steyn On The Passing Of Saddam

I share the same love the kids have for Mark Steyn, and his little "tribute" to the former dictator on his site is one of those must read pieces:

Just in time for Eid, the Iraqis decided Saddam Hussein was one old acquaintance who really should be forgot. Despite The New York Times’ protests that it’s all been too rushed, it’s three years since the mass murderer was pulled from his spider hole. Here’s what I wrote in The Spectator in December 2003, outlining the possible approaches to the trial:

In a nutshell:

A courtroom in Baghdad: good.A courtroom in The Hague: bad.

Iraqi and coalition judges: good.International jet-set judges: bad.

Swift execution: good.Playing Scrabble with Slobo in the prison library for the next 20 years: bad.

Bet on Bush and the Iraqis to get their way. As for whether Iraq has a justice system under which Saddam can be tried, I suggest we look to the great King of Babylonia, Hammurabi, whose Code of Laws, the world's first written legal code circa 1780 BC, stands up pretty well. I'm not a Babylonian legal scholar but I note that Saddam's digging of a subterranean hiding place in his hut appears to be in clear breach of Law No. 21:

If any one break a hole into a house, he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.

Suits me.

Well, it didn’t quite go that way, but it was close enough, and better than the Hague-Slobo model. And to have convicted, sentenced and executed the dictator is a signal accomplishment for the new Iraq. When I was in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, shortly after the war, a young boy showed me his schoolbook. It was like my textbooks at his age - full of doodles and squiggles and amusing additions to the illustrations. With one exception: the many pages bearing pictures of Saddam were in pristine condition. Even a bored schoolboy doesn't get so careless that he forgets where not to draw the line. When the cowardly thug emerged from his hole, it was a rare moment: in the fetid stability of the Middle East, how often do you get to see a big-time dictator looking like some boxcar hobo and meekly submitting to a lice inspection by an American soldier? ...

...The reality is that, as long as he was alive, there was always the possibility that he would return. When a dictator has exercised the total control over his subjects that Saddam did, his hold on them can only end with his death. A day after his capture, I wrote in the Telegraph:
Saddam, of course, attempted to reclaim his stature, but, in his current position, opportunities are few and far between. In his first interrogation at Baghdad Airport, he was asked if he’d like a glass of water, and replied: “If I drink water I will have to urinate and how can I urinate when my people are in bondage?” If there’s a statue left of him in Iraq, they should chisel that on the plinth.

That’s still a good idea. My old newspaper in London headlined its editorial “Justice For A Mass Murderer”. There can never be “justice” for murderous dictators – there’s simply too much blood. But there can be retribution, and a final line drawn under a dark chapter of history as he’s shovelled into his grave.

He was not without his style. He liked his Quality Street toffees and his Sinatra albums. In the early Nineties, when the Prince of Wales ventured some mild criticism of His Execellency, Saddam gave a soundbite to his son’s newspaper declaring that “we in Iraq do not pay any attention to the likes of the British Crown Prince” on the grounds that he’s “a notorious playboy well known in the cellars of the night and in whorehouses throughout Europe”, which is pretty cute. In the oddest development of his career, he decided late in life he was a novelist and pumped out a bodice-ripper called Zabibah And The King, an allegory of Iraqi history in which he was the king and Zabibah was Iraq, and getting it night and day. It was, oddly enough, a bestseller in Iraq, and was subsequently turned into a musical – a real-life version of Larry Gelbart’s old joke that he hoped Hitler was alive and on the road with a musical in trouble. Saddam was very much alive and on the road with a musical, but it wasn’t in trouble. Au contraire, it did boffo biz. I would love to have seen it: the critics said it did for camels what Cats did for cats. ...

Yes, there is a bit of fun to be had at Saddam's expense. He was a human being (though the kids would differ in that opinion), and he did die. And it wasn't in the most pleasant of ways, either. I've seen the video. I won't say it's gruesome, but there is something about such an execution that sort of makes your stomach turn. But as Mark points out, for Saddam there simply too much blood spilled. I'm sure there are many Iraqis that don't feel their anger quenched by such a quick death, and he did only face one trial, rather than the numerous ones that could be carried out. But, how many times can you put someone to death. The new Iraqi government obviously wanted his sentence carried out as soon as humanly possible. It would cut down on the unending circus that he would perpetrate during each court proceeding, and it reduced the risk of having him broken out of captivity.

As Mark said, there was alsways the risk he could return.

Not anymore. He has gone the way of the do-do. He's pushing up daisies in Tikrit. But going back to the blood part above, can his death slake the thirst for retribution the Iraqis had? No. It would be similar to a "what if" scenario where Hitler hadn't committed suicide in his bunker. What would the Nuremberg Trials be like had he faced the world's justice. Would people be satisfied with his hanging? Not likely. For Hitler, the blood of millions was on his hands. The same goes for Stalin (who is still revered by many in Russia), and Mao. Brutal dictators and tyrants like those people could never achieve the justice that so many in the world would demand. The Iraqis got their wish. Saddam Hussein brutalized, tortured, and murdered his people from 1979 up to his deposing in 2003. Twenty-four years is a long reign of terror for a subjugated nation.

If nothing else, we can hope that the Iraqi people learned the lessons taught by Saddam. That is not how a nation should be run. That is not how a populace should be treated. But the lesson that Saddam learned in this crazy, upside-down, backwards world of the 21st Century is that when someone bigger than you says "jump," you'd better be asking "how high" in mid-jump. Had he complied with the UN's final order to him, he might still be alive today. 'Might' being the operative word there as no one really knows if we would have gone in had he complied. For all we know, we might have fueled an internal revolt rather than putting US boots on the ground in Iraq. Then again, we might have inserted some troops--special operations, to be sure--to whack some of the terrorists we knew were there.

That, above all, is what the world should remember about this whole phase of the war. This went beyond weapons of mass destruction, which is still a hotly contested issue on both sides. He was still victimizing his people, rebuilding his arsenal, had diverted funds earmarked for his "starving" people, and he had terrorists ties and operators in his country. He was a problem in the region. Was he the biggest one? Not by any stretch of the imagination. He was the easiest one. Despite being given twelve years to rebuild his shattered military, they still couldn't stand up to the coalition forces. That is, perhaps, the biggest gripe we have with this phgase of the war. It wasn't necessary at this moment. And as we're seeing in Iran, he was a threat that could have been dealt with quite easily. Iran stands on the brink of gaining nuclear weapons, either through a direct purchase (which I doubt any nation in it's right mind would make that deal), or through their advancing research. Iran is the bigger threat, but for some reason, trhe administration decided that Iraq had to come first.

Let's hope that they didn't make a mistake in that assessment. It could prove fatal for a few of our allies if we were wrong.

Sabrina McKinney


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