Skip to comments.SADDAM HANGS (Mark Steyn)
Posted on 12/30/2006 7:37:32 AM PST by Valin
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 its all been too rushed, its three years since the mass murderer was pulled from his spider hole. Heres 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.
Well, it didnt 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? Not everyone was happy about it. As I wrote in the Speccie:
Jihan Ajlouni, a 24-year-old Palestinian university student, reacted to Saddams capture by warning: We say to all the traitors and collaborators: dont rush to celebrate, because there are millions of Saddams in the Arab world.
Really? Millions of smelly wimps with ratty hair living in holes in the ground? That could cause massive subsidence in the Tikrit area, particularly if they surrender all at once.
But, of course, Mr Ajlouni is wrong. The West Bank aside, his fellow Arabs arent that nuts. When the Western worlds Ajlouni Left reprimand the Americans for sticking Saddam on TV with a tongue depressor, theyre worried it will make the Arabs feel humiliated. I feel extremely humiliated, agreed the Egyptian writer Sayyid Nassar. By shaving his beard, a symbol of virility in Iraq and in the Arab world, the Americans committed an act that symbolises humiliation in our region.
You should feel humiliated. It is humiliating when you invest your pride in a total loser. For the Palestinians, who never met a loser they werent dumb enough to fall for (the Mufti, Nasser, Yasser), Saddam still has an honoured place in the Pantheon of Glorious Has-Beens. But for millions of Iraqis a monster has shrivelled away into a smelly bum too pathetic even to use his pistol to enjoy the martyrdom he urged on others.
Thats easy for me to say. 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 hed 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 theres a statue left of him in Iraq, they should chisel that on the plinth.
Thats 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 theres simply too much blood. But there can be retribution, and a final line drawn under a dark chapter of history as hes 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 sons newspaper declaring that we in Iraq do not pay any attention to the likes of the British Crown Prince on the grounds that hes 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 Gelbarts 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 wasnt 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. After his third novel was published in 2002, I decided to have a go at writing a Saddam blockbuster myself. This is from Mark Steyn From Head To Toe , and seems oddly pertinent in the final hour of an evil mans wretched life:
Following the best-selling Zabibah And The King, The Impregnable Castle, and Men And A City, were proud to present an exclusive sneak preview of Saddam Husseins fourth great allegorical romance! Saddam is the winner of the 2002 Governor-Generals Award for Fiction for last weeks reply to the United Nations (We hereby declare before you that Iraq is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons). An accomplished wordsmith in the tradition of Sheikh Spear, George bin Ard Shaw and Louisa May al-Cott, Saddam has given us exclusive rights to this excerpt from his forthcoming novel. (As in his previous allegorical romance, the pliant female Zabibah represents Iraq and the stern King represents everyones favourite dictator.)
Soooooooo, we've been in Iraq to long, but we were too rushed with Saddam?
The NY TIMES IS A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE
Thank goodness we took care of this madman before he caused the kind of damage that Hitler did.
Saddam died a coward's death. He never should have allowed himself to be taken alive. Even his psyhco sons at least died like warriors.
Sheikh Spear and George bin Ard Shaw. ROFL
Frankly, I can't help thinking that what I fondly think of as the Coucesceau model of regime change would have been well employed here. Saddam would already have been a well-composted memory.
He's the one w/o the 2 birthmarks on his left cheek. A stint on SNL, maybe?
Saddam sucks............no more
My idea was to release him, after informing the Iraqis just where and when he was going to be released.
Leave him to the tender mercies of those he "cared for".
I think he is lucky he didn't end up like Mussolini, handing upside down in front of a gas station.
"There can never be justice for murderous dictators theres simply too much blood. But there can be retribution, and a final line drawn under a dark chapter of history as hes shovelled into his grave."
I dare say: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Sweet irony, if true.
leave it to Mark!
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