Monday, January 01, 2007

Ox-Bow Incident in Baghdad

"All a great, cowardly lie," he said violently. "All pose; empty, gutless pretense."

-- The Ox-Bow Incident (1940) by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, p. 300.
Riverbend, the erudite Baghdad blogger, has published a very angry article about the execution of Saddam Hussein. In it, she expresses a perspective that should disturb every American who holds out hope for eventual reconciliation in Iraq under the government that we largely created.

Riverbend's post is all the more revealing because, until now, she has been such an even-tempered, moderate and reasonable voice as she reports on the shifting, bloody ground that has become Iraq. And she is no supporter of Saddam.

But there is no moderation in Riverbend's post today. In a word, she sees the means and timing of Saddam's death as "a lynching."
Maliki has made the mistake of his life. His signature and unhidden glee at the whole execution, especially on the first day of Eid Al Adha (the Eid where millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca), will only do more to damage his already tattered reputation. He's like a vulture in a suit (or a balding weasel). It's almost embarrassing. I kept expecting Muwafaq Al Rubaii to run over and wipe the drool from the corner of his mouth as he signed for the execution. Are these the people who represent the New Iraq? We're in so much more trouble than I ever thought.

And no- not the celebrations BBC are claiming. With the exception of a few areas, the streets are empty.
* * *
Muwafaq Al Rubai ... said he was "weak and frightened." Apparently, Rubai saw a different lynching because according to the video they leaked, [Saddam] didn't look frightened at all. His voice didn't shake and he refused to put on the black hood. He looked resigned to his fate, and during the heckling he looked as defiant as ever. (It's quite a contrast to Muhsin Abdul Hameed's public hysterics last year when the Americans raided his home.)

It's one thing to have militias participating in killings. This is allegedly the democracy the Americans flaunt. Is this how bloodthirsty and frightening we've become? Is this what Iraq stands for now? Executions? I'm sure the rest of the Arab countries will be impressed.

One of the most advanced countries in the world did not help to reconstruct Iraq, they didn't even help produce a decent constitution. They did, however, contribute nicely to a kangaroo court and a lynching. A lynching shall go down in history as America's biggest accomplishment in Iraq. So who's next? Who hangs for the hundreds of thousands who've died as a direct result of this war and occupation? Bush? Blair? Maliki? Jaffari? Allawi? Chalabi?

2006 has definitely been representative of Maliki and his government- killings like never before and a lynching to end it properly. Death and destruction everywhere. I'm so tired of all of this…
The videotape of Saddam's execution is widely available on the Internet, now. Those few Americans who speak Arabic and know the culture may want to see it to judge for themselves. Those who don't speak the language or understand the culture may want to watch it anyway, for reasons only a psychiatrist could explain, just as in their ignorance (and their pathologies) they also wanted to invade Iraq.

One thing is becoming clear: Saddam's execution has not helped to calm the insurgency or anti-American sentiments in Iraq. Indeed, the hostile reaction of many Iraqis explains, as John Burns and Marc Santora are reporting in today's New York Times, why "various American officials" are now said to be "assembling " a new "narrative account" implying Americans 'questioned' the "rush to hang Hussein."

Having captured Saddam Hussein, having imprisoned him in our own facilities, having been his gaoler, and having turned him over on short notice for execution to thugs whom Juan Cole says are now reported to be members of the "Shiite Mahdi Army," we want to disown the whole thing. As if a carefully constructed public relations "narrative" could wash the blood from our hands.

It's "all a great, cowardly lie."

Amplification Dept.

Chris Floyd - "CYA for the USA"
[A]]ll of it is a massive, panicky CYA job by American officials. However, through the heavy fog of this assemblage of spin, it seems fairly obvious what has really happened: the same group of dim-witted fools, ideological cranks and violent sectarians who have driven the whole misbegotten enterprise in Iraq came up with yet another plan that they thought was a great idea. But as always, it turned out to be a botched job that has made a hellish situation even worse.
* * *
Two things stand out in this story by Burns and Santora – or rather, two salient facts lurk behind the furious spin that the reporters have assembled. First, that despite all the protestations by U.S. officials here, it was the Americans who actually had the final say in letting the execution go forward. And second, the rank lawlessness of the execution is in fact a direct emulation of American "democracy" under the Unitary Executive Decidership of George W. Bush.
* * *
You must admit this is rich: Bush officials – creators of the special "military tribunals" for their special, made-up category of "enemy combatants" who can be jailed indefinitely without trial or charges or even killed, all at the arbitrary order of the omnipotent president – fretting over "due process" for Saddam Hussein. American citizens are no longer guaranteed due process – which is now solely in the Decider's gift – but we are to believe that Saddam's rights were uppermost in occupier's mind before his execution.

1 comment:

Aikäne said...

Good observation; I agree.