Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam and the future

reuters photo

Over the weekend, at least thus far, the tv news networks have been all horserace midterm election 2006, all the time. I've been lackadaisical myself in discussing Iraq-related goings-on lately, in part because it's so discouraging.

Nevertheless, there's the small matter of the Saddam verdict, due out in a few hours. But there's little interest in discussing that, mainly because we pretty much know what it will be. But what will prove to be more important? When pope Ratzinger recently decided to suggest Islam is an inherently savage religion he didn't kill anybody, but would that Somali nun be dead if not for his words? Strictly speaking, I don't know. But I know there is a difference between formally evident guilt, if that's the right term, and more diffuse moral guilt. The Saddam verdict will also have substantial consequences beyond the event itself.

"Iraq waits nervously to hear if Saddam will hang"(also here)

claudia parson(reuters):
Saddam's chief lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said Saddam believed the verdict was timed to boost President George W. Bush before U.S. mid-term elections on November 7, and urged a delay.

Former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, who leads an international group of lawyers involved in the defense, said Saddam would almost certainly receive the death sentence but it would be "victors' justice." "It will create violence maybe for generations to come," he said, adding that the trial was politically influenced. "It's an unfair trial in more ways than you can count. Where have we seen a trial take place in the midst of such uncontrollable violence?," he said.

Saddam, 69, and seven co-accused have been charged with crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shi'ite villagers after an attempt on his life in the town of Dujail in 1982.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said Saddam's execution cannot come soon enough, fuelling charges of political interference in the U.S.-backed independent tribunal.

I can't help but remember George Bush jr's (supposedly) accidental on-microphone comments to Tony Blair this past summer at the height of the 2nd Israeli war on Lebanon, when Junior said,

``See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this sh** and it's over,'' Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.

Now I wonder: has George Bush, grasper of buttered rolls and irony that he is, reflected on how, undeserving though Saddam may be, Bush could help facilitate peace in Iraq(and maybe even indirectly save US and Iraqi lives) by just "getting Maliki to stop this sh**" and commute Saddam's presumptive death sentence to life in prison? For Saddam's sake? No, but a champion irony-grasper should have no problem seeing this clearly.

If he did this, Bush, jr would also seem to (finally) have the gravitas that he wants people to think he has, and even seem to validate his comment from a few years ago about how Jesus is his favorite philosopher. But he'd have to stop caring about seeming like a tough guy in the eyes of delusional hicks who love him no matter what he says or does, and start caring about sh** that matters.

meanwhile. at least 42 people have died since Wednesday as Israel sustains rocket attacks against Gaza. But this is boring, or at any rate another hard-to-focus-on-thing with congressional elections going on.

also, from the BBC:"Tense Iraq awaits Saddam verdict"

update: from the Peninsula(Qatar):"Saddam rejects Rumsfeld offer of release*"(May 2005)

*I'll admit I didn't hear about this in 2005, but just now(via)-JV

cross-posted at Arvin Hill.