The Mutable Legacy of Saddam Hussein

January 2nd, 2007 - by admin

Various Sources – 2007-01-02 23:42:26

Reactions to Saddam Hussein’s Exdecution

From “Israel Shamir

After Israel Shamir had sent his condolences (also at the bottom of this email) to people of Iraq with martyrdom of President Saddam Hussein, we received many letters. Here some of them and some responses:

• From SIAM, Indianapolis
Dear Adam, As salam Alaykum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatahu!

Just finished reading your brief remarks of condolences in regard to the late great Saddam Hussain. On yesterday i encountered an Iraqi merchant but in the conversation i was having with him he was adamantly pointing out to me, while he was rejoicing in Sadam’s execution, that if i were living under Sadam’s former regime i would not be able to write such a book as, Rain of Grace, or allowed to sell it there.

He was informing me of all the many reasons why, and he was telling me of how the artist, writers, actors, and poets, in Iraq under Sadam’s government were either run out, killed, or who ended up fleeing for their lives in order to speak their view points, via their art.

i have always considered you my teacher and the best teacher for anyone concerning this Middle Eastern Crisis which is sometimes still very confusing to me, and have learned much from you in the past.

We are friends, as a friend, i write to you informing you of my desire to see you write a detailed essay on all the positive historical, spiritual, and political components you see and understand as regards the truth behind the life, and now death, of Sadam Hussain, so that we who are less adept can understand better what you obviously see and understand so well. If you have already done this and i just missed seeing such a writing from you, please point out to me where i can find it.
— Your devoted friend – SIAM

• Shamir replies:
It is not always necessary to dig into details when we deal with symbols. The details undermine one great wholeness in the eyes of innocent and inexperienced. Every ruler has to commit many deeds that would be crimes if done by ordinary citizens. Deeds of rulers are to be summed up and weighted for good and for bad some years later, in historical perspective. The Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai answered a question about the French revolution of 1789 with “Too early to say”.

We should know about Saddam Hussein that he died with confession of faith, shahada on his lips, that his last words were ‘God is great’ and his last thoughts were about our beloved Palestine. We know that he did not surrender but was captured by the invader. It is forbidden to kill a prisoner of war, it is forbidden to kill a prince, it is forbidden to kill a captive prince. This lawless killing will suffice to call him a martyr.

He was not different from many Palestinian martyrs assassinated by Zionists. Arafat, poisoned by Sharon , Abu Jihad shot by Barak, Sheikh Yassin killed by a missile, dozens of others – Saddam belongs to this group. They fought, they were heavily demonised by the enemy, they died and sanctified God with their death.

But if one wants to look beyond the bottom line, Saddam was a leader who eliminated illiteracy, gave health care to his people, gave free education, allowed women to participate in social life, turned his country into one of the most advanced in the Middle East. He was one who sent his missiles to Israel, and caused the peace process to start. Without his SCUDs, Israelis wouldn’t make peace with the PLO in 1993.

There are many decisions he made and came to regret. But I am not sure now is the time to deal with them. When a man is demonised by the enemy, we are tempted to safeguard our judgement by saying “He was a bad man but”. Usually there are good reasons for this caution for poets, dissidents and fighters against empire are often troublesome men, even more so if they accessed to power.

But we should fight this temptation. They are not persecuted and demonised because they were unfaithful to their wives, but because they were faithful to their people, their country, their muse. If and when mausoleum of Saddam will be constructed in centre of Baghdad, then the time will come to speak of his faults, not now. Not for one minute, not by a single word would I like to support the official narrative.

There are some Iraqis who have a legitimate grievance against the late leader. Every ruler leaves a lot of suffering in his wake. These grievances are exploited by the enemy. But wise people should try to help and overcome this feeling. When Hitler invaded Russia, he tried to exploit grievances many people had against Stalin and Communism.

Those who succumbed to his temptation ended as traitors to their country. Those who refused it won their souls and their place in history. Ivan Bunin, a great Russian writer, a Nobel prize winner and an enemy of Stalin and communism, came to the Soviet embassy and swore allegiance to Stalin, when the fate of Russia was in doubt. Now great Iraqis should follow the same line, and stop bickering about Saddam. They have a bigger job: to defeat the Empire and to set Iraq free.

• From Jessica Ramer

Thank you for this. While I thought Saddam Hussein’s treatment of his political opponents was criminal, it is also probably true that US Presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush II killed more innocent Iraqis than Saddam Hussein did. Will we ever see them hang for war crimes?

In spite of my ardent dislike of Hussein’s political repression, I also think that one Saddam Hussein was worth twenty George W. Bushes.

• From Ali Baghdadi, The Arab Journal:

Dear Mr. Shamir,
Tears ran down my cheeks while I was reading your condolences for the fall of our beloved hero. Your condolences are true and sincere. They come from a man with a big heart; who belongs to the entire world; who succeeded in overcoming all national and religious prejudices; who is tirelessly working for a better world in which peace and common sense may some day prevail.

I emailed your message to others to share and enjoy.
I will always remain your brother. I do love you.

Ali Baghdadi

• From Hiroshi Eguma, Spain
I’ve translated your condolences to Iraqi people into Japanese and sent to a Japanese web site, adding my opinion : what really they, the USA, the UK and Israel, executed was a symbol, an axis and spirits of an Arab country to fight against Israel’s vicious ruling on the Near East and filthy intention to control the Middle East Area. Even if Saddam was a dictator, he was one of the worst enemies for Israel and the best friends for Palestinian people.

The USA has directly been committing the war crime, using the 9/11 plot and exposing all historically shameful lies, but beside these events, Israel’s interest apparently exists. The President Hussein was really fighting them.
Glory to the fallen heroes.

• From Jamil Ramahi
Mr. Adam,
With your kind words, someone cannot feel sad, but joy, for those who has committed such crimes against the innocents across the world will eventually get their punishment, as history has shown us before. Mercy be upon Mr. Saddam Hussein’s soul and those who follow his steps.

• From Anthony Payne
I agree with you one hundred percent, murdered by the Americans for these ‘terrible’ jews, what hypocrisy! They will pay for this, I am sure.

Best regards. Anthony Payne.

• From Lesley Lowe, Cairo
How gallant in face of present thinking put forth by those that seek to deceive, that you write as you do below.

• From Lille, New York
It is so very sad, sent you several articles because I knew you would understand. Catching up with all the news today, exactly it is better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees to grovel. It is the degradation of a leader, brazen contempt to choose Eid, the tawdry traitors have forgotten Iraq’s heritage/history/ Will the fragmentation intensify or will the resistance antidote it? Glad you wrote, was waiting for a response.

Has the global kleptocracy become completely insane? well people are so programmed. He was the President, this was an assassination with the world’s complicity.

Will no one speak up? there has to be a breaking point somewhere…..Inshallah all the cowards will be degraded in turn

• From Hanne, New York
Thank you, Israel Shamir, for your words honouring the brutally slain statesman Saddam Hussein. You speak from my heart and I am saddened as I am enraged, that the real murderers and criminals are still walking freely. Hanne

• From Tony Lyons, Au
Now that Saddam Hussein has been hanged as directed by the kangaroo court in Iraq, the United States has its best chance yet to avoid a Vietnam type of defeat. It should redefine its objective for going to war with Iraq. It should declare “Mission Accomplished” with the regime change, and immediately quit Iraq and bring the troops home.

Forget about WMDs, forget about spreading democracy, forget about everything but Regime change, because that’s about all that further fighting and killing will achieve. It will be five hundred years before the middle east has anything resembling European type democracy.

The more expensive imitation of democracy as practiced in the United States, could be possible in about half of that time
If the Coalition of the willing still persists with its attempts to stabilize Iraq and bring the Insurgencies under control, they will need to annihilate between eight and ten million Iraqis, most of them as collateral damage.

Such action would requires the best spin doctors and public relations programs the world can bring together so that the citizenry of the coalition of the willing and of the European countries could accept the carnage that would follow
If the United States embarked on an exercise of such destruction, there would immediately be hostile regime changes in; Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. Pakistan would revert to its true colors.

The Jewish holocaust industry could not survive a larger holocaust than theirs. Israel would be threatened as never before. The Israelis could be brought to account for killing of innocent Palestinian women and children, for the killing of doctors and shooting at ambulances during the destruction of Janine, the killing of Lebanese refugees fleeing the recent attacks on Lebanon, and the massacres within the refugee camps in Lebanon and Palestine

The United States has this one last chance to get out of this quagmire while pretending to have some degree of success.

RIP, Saddam

• From Tom White (written before the death was announced)
I have a cold feeling contemplating the NBC story that says he will be released to the Iraquis and killed by Sunday, rather after the manner in which a rancher releases grouse or pheasant so that Sunday hunters can kill the permitted bag. (Did not something like that happen to the Lord Christ?)

Saddam is apparently ready. May God have mercy upon him. Surely we have had none, despite his having been a former “ward” of the U.S., nor will the Iraqis, many of whom quite understandably would think it fair to kill him for his political and military failure to save their state.

If he dies we shall pay for it somehow. I don’t know how, but we will pay. If Bush extends clemency, and apparently only he can, since we obviously control all of Iraq’s official public statements and acts, it would be a very, very, good thing.
I move ever nearer, as our government demonstrates over and over again the sheer folly of violence, to the non-violent position Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy wrote of on LRC.

Why not? What have any of us left to lose? Certainly not intellectual—spiritual—self-respect. Apparently just our miserable physical comfort.

• From Zaineb Istrabadi, New York
Dear Israel Shamir,
I write to you as an Iraqi who is horrified by your reaction to Saddam’s death. He was not a faithful son of Iraq; he did not care about anything but himself, and he and his sons will be remembered for the criminals, rapists, and murders that they were. I am highly disappointed in your message. Professor Said would have been too. Kindly remove me from your list.

Sincerely yours,
Zaineb Istrabadi
Former assistant to Prof. Edward Said

• Shamir responds:
Dear Zaineb,
probably then you were dancing to the news the criminal hanged? Maybe you even moved back to liberated Iraq now the mission is accomplished? May I inform my readers of this step of yours? As for late Prof Said, have you had a spiritual séance? Did he come to you at night and whispered: let him be hanged?
Regards and Happy New Year,
Israel Shamir

• Raja Chemayel adds:
may I remember each of us that even or also Judas was a “former assistant”…… just like this lady who carries the same name as the “Iraqi” ambassador to the USA
what a coincidence !!

• From Bob Finch
Saddam was a long time merican puppet. After iran’s islamic revolution he opportunistically took american dollars to wage war against his own co-religionists rather than aligning himself with iran against america and its jewish allies.

The currently unfolding sunni-shiite civil war has its roots in saddam’s treachery. He received his reward in 1990 when he was brutally betrayed by his puppet masters who themselves were forced into a choice between the jews and saddam
However, his new found defiance of jewish-american imperialism was magnificent.

I will always admire him for blowing up kuwait’s oil wells. At the time, he was condemned by environmentalists for the damage this caused but all this shows is just how stupid, ignorant, and politically conventional most environmentalists are – the greenless greens. From the Earth’s perspective less damage was done to the planet’s life sustaining processes by saddam’s actions than if this oil had been exported to the west.

Please see ‘Chatila Iraq. A Deep Green Analysis of the 1991 Gulf War.’

I want sunnis and shiites to unite to abolish the jewish state and wouldn’t want to jeopardize this by offering condolences to saddam no matter that he deserved his punishment less than bush and blair
bob finch

• From Sami el-Radhi
How unfortunate that you should choose to trample over the memories of the countless martyrs, men, women and children, the orphans, the widows – all the innocents murdered by Saddam and his regime – by writing the below message. I find it hard to imagine that you would be totally unaware of all his crimes; perhaps you think that such a salutation suits your anti-imperialist agenda.

And I too am anti-imperialist. Which is part of why I am anti-Saddam. But I do not adopt the idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Some would choose to adopt this attitude because of the fact that they and their families have not suffered directly as a result of Saddam’s opression – how tragic that they do not care at all about the suffering of the Iraqi people.

I do not know if you simply do not care about the suffering of the Iraqi nation under Saddam or turn a blind eye to it, and I guess it doesn’t matter because the result is the same.
As for being held to account in this world and in the next world, I have no doubt that those who approve of Saddam’s crimes will be held to account. What we say does matter.

• From: Robert Edwards, England
Dear Mr Shamir,
Your true words are so statesmanlike. President Saddam Hussein will not be forgotten.
Bless you,

• Robert Edwards
After Robert Edwards posted my mail and his response on a British Far Right list, he was rebuked by a Jewish overseer (yes, Victoria, not only in the Left, – even in the British National Party, the heir to Mosley’s fascists, there ARE Jewish overseers, and they head their legal department and fight antisemitism):

• From: “lj barnes” A Collection of Recent Articles about Saddam:
• 1)
Who is this Man they Call Saddam?

Hussein Al-alak / The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

Saddam helped to nationalize Iraqi oil fields, which caused a lot damage to foreign oil companies. Through the revenues brought in by the oil, Saddam helped the country launch a campaign against illiteracy with illiteracy levels dropping to less than 10%.

The Iraqi “Ba’athist” government also issued a law which made education available and compulsory to all children and more importantly, this was provided for free. This allowed Iraqi children the chance to read and write, instead of selling cigarettes in the streets.

As Felicity Arbuthnot stated at the 1998 Fire Brigade Union conference, “UNESCO said that Iraq was one of the only countries in the world where, even if you were born in absolute poverty, with illiterate parents you could come out of the education system either a brain surgeon, archaeologist or whatever you wished to become.”…

• Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo:

• 2)
Saddam At The End Of A Rope
Tariq Ali/ Counterpunch

(30 December, 2006) — It was symbolic that 2006 ended with a colonial hanging — most of it (bar the last moments) shown on state television in occupied Iraq. It has been that sort of year in the Arab world.

After a trial so blatantly rigged that even Human Rights Watch — the largest single unit of the US Human Rights industry — had to condemn it as a total travesty. Judges were changed on Washington’s orders; defense lawyers were killed and the whole procedure resembled a well-orchestrated lynch mob. Where Nuremberg was a more dignified application of victor’s justice, Saddam’s trial has, till now, been the crudest and most grotesque.

The Great Thinker President’s reference to it ‘as a milestone on the road to Iraqi democracy’ as clear an indication as any that Washington pressed the trigger.

The contemptible leaders of the European Union, supposedly hostile to capital punishment, were silent, as usual. And while some Shia factions celebrated in Baghdad, the figures published by a fairly independent establishment outfit, the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies (its self-description: “which attempts to spread the conscious necessity of realizing basic freedoms, consolidating democratic values and foundations of civil society”) reveal that just under 90 per cent of Iraqis feel the situation in the country was better before it was occupied.

Only five per cent of those questioned said Iraq is better today than in 2003; 89 per cent of the people said the political situation had deteriorated; 79 per cent saw a decline in the economic situation; 12 per cent felt things had improved and 9 per cent said there was no change. Unsurprisingly, 95 per cent felt the security situation was worse than before.

Interestingly, about 50 per cent of those questioned identified themselves only as “Muslims”; 34 per cent as Shiites and 14 per cent as Sunnis. Add to this the figures supplied by the UNHCR: 1.6 million Iraqis (7 per cent of the population) have fled the country since March 2003 and 100,000 Iraqis leave every month, Christians, doctors, engineers, women, etc.

There are one million in Syria, 750,000 in Jordan, 150,000 in Cairo. These are refugees that do not excite the sympathy of Western public opinion, since the US (and EU backed) occupation is the cause. These are not compared (as was the case in Kosovo) to the atrocities of the Third Reich. Perhaps it was these statistics (and the estimates of a million Iraqi dead) that necessitated the execution of Saddam Hussein?

That Saddam was a tyrant is beyond dispute, but what is conveniently forgotten is that most of his crimes were committed when he was a staunch ally of those who now occupy the country. It was, as he admitted in one of his trial outbursts, the approval of Washington (and the poison gas supplied by West Germany) that gave him the confidence to douse Halabja with chemicals in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war. He deserved a proper trial and punishment in an independent Iraq. Not this.

The double standards applied by the West never cease to astonish. Indonesia’s Suharto who presided over a mountain of corpses (At least a million to accept the lowest figure) was protected by Washington. He never annoyed them as much as Saddam.

And what of those who have created the mess in Iraq today? The torturers of Abu Ghraib; the pitiless butchers of Fallujah; the ethnic cleansers of Baghdad, the Kurdish prison boss who boasts that his model is Guantanamo. Will Bush and Blair ever be tried for war crimes? Doubtful. And Aznar, currently employed as a lecturer at Georgetown University in Washington, DC , where the language of instruction is English of which he doesn’t speak a word. His reward is a punishment for the students.

Saddam’s hanging might send a shiver through the collective, if artificial, spine of the Arab ruling elites. If Saddam can be hanged, so can Mubarak, or the Hashemite joker in Amman or the Saudi royals, as long as those who topple them are happy to play ball with Washington.

• 3)
The Black Bull Died Today
By Mirza Yawar Baig

They did it. They gave this Ummah a sacrifice on the day of Eid ul Adha. What an unforgettable Eid!! A human sacrifice. Not a sheep or goat. What a message! …Now They had control of the oil fields. And in the process a few hundred thousand Iraqis died at the hands of Americans; well that is inevitable – collateral damage. Death is not the “item” in the news. It is the death of the myth of American justice and freedom. So now we can all breathe freely as we see the true nature of the animal before us.

So they talk about how brutal Saddam was and how many people he killed and how he ‘started’ the Iraq-Iran war. The issue of course is none of those things. If these were in fact issues, then we would see Bush and all his cronies swinging from the gallows long before Saddam came anywhere near them. The issue is America’s right to invade a sovereign nation. Remember O People! The name of the animal is Empire. And you and I have a choice. Sell your soul and bow your head in submission to the King. Or raise your head and it will be cut off…


• 5)
Just How Evil was Saddam Hussein?
by William James / Martin

Just how evil was Saddam Hussein? In Hussein’s 30-year hold on power he has launched two attacks on the neighbouring states of Iran and Kuwait. That, however, merely puts Iraq in the same category with Israel which has acted likewise in the ’67 War and again in 1982 with the invasion of Lebanon
Despite the advertisements of the Israeli government, Israel was never seriously threatened in either case

In evaluating the evils of Saddam Hussein, the immorality of the internal repression within Iraq which included executions and torture must be weighed against the immorality of the 13 year US sponsored UN sanction regime which UN agency estimates has claimed the live of 5000 children and 7,500 people per month over a 12 year period.

These sanctions transformed a nation with a burgeoning middle class and with a free coeducational education system and a free health care system, which reached 93 % of the Iraqi people and was known as the jewel of the Middle East, into one in which most of the deaths occurring were preventable given the proper medicines and clean water, neither of which have been available in adequate supply

In an interview with TV journalist Leslie Stahl, Clinton’s UN representative Madeleine Albright was asked on CBS’s 60 Minutes “We have heard that half a million children have died [as a consequence of the UN sanction regime]. is the price worth it? Ms Albright replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price is worth it.”

It is unlikely that Saddam Hussein ever killed half a million children. Are we really in a position to self-righteously condemn Saddam Hussein for being the incarnation of evil? And by the way, Saddam Hussein was apparently telling the truth about weapons of mass destruction, it was George W. Bush who lied.

From The International Action Center

The International Action Center (IAC) hold the U.S. government responsible for the decision of the “Iraqi High Tribunal” to carry out the death sentence against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and considers this execution part of the Bush administration’s plan to once again escalate the war. The timing of the execution was clearly intended to pre-empt news that the death toll of U.S. service people has hit 3,000 while that of Iraqis is in the hundreds of thousands. Such an execution will be another war crime against the Iraqi people

As we have made clear in prior statements and articles, the IAC does not consider the capture, trial and judgment of the Iraqi president to be legal under international, U.S. or Iraqi law.* This punishment has nothing to do with the alleged crimes of the Iraqi leader nor is it part of an historical judgment of his role. It is the act of a conquering power against a nation that is occupied against the will not only of its 2003 legal government but also against the will of the vast majority of its people

No authoritative human rights body, including those who were and are opponents and severely hostile to President Saddam Hussein such as the Human Rights Watch, considers his trial fair or the sentence just (see Dec. 27, 2006 statement). We in the IAC say no to the execution of Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants, no to the escalation of the Iraq war that will mean more deaths for Iraqis and for US troops and for an intensified mobilization to stop the occupation of Iraq.