Revolution #75, January 7, 2007


On the Death of Saddam Hussein

As we go to press, the world received the sudden news of the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Carefully covered over or minimized in the obituaries is Hussein’s history of cooperation with the United States before he ran afoul of them with the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In particular, the U.S. encouraged and backed Hussein in his war against Iran in 1980--a war which took nearly a million lives, and which was pursued to maintain and reinforce U.S. strategic domination of the Persian Gulf region.

Hussein’s execution raises more questions than it settles. Why the rush? And who decided? The liberal imperialist New York Times made a point of quoting one of Hussein’s lawyers shortly before the execution that he was “expressing the views of many” when he said that “No one knows when it’s going to happen except God and President Bush.” True? And if so, why?

Was the U.S. government worried, for instance, about what might come out at future trials, in particular any trial on the use of poison gas against the Iraqi Kurds, about its own culpability? Was it concerned that even deeper details about U.S. collaboration in Hussein’s 1980 attack on Iran might come out and would further constrict its “room for maneuver” against Iran? Or did it, and other forces within Iraq, just want to “get this off the table” at a crucial and highly explosive juncture, one where the Bush team is huddled in Texas attempting to rework its strategy? Is that why this execution was so suddenly rushed--even as it conflicted with an Iraqi law forbidding executions on religious holidays?

Next week we will have more to say on Hussein’s execution and his whole grisly history, including his connections to the U.S.

But one thing must be said now: for a ruling class which directly murdered several million (yes, million ) in Indochina; which sponsored, through its advisors and proxies, the killing of hundreds of thousands in the 1980s in Central America, southern Africa, Afghanistan and in the Iran/Iraq war; which during the 1990s put the Iraqi people themselves through the living hell of sanctions that killed five thousand Iraqi children a month (a figure not only admitted but justified by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in an interview on 60 Minutes )…for this ruling class to sponsor and then dare to celebrate the execution of one of their own former butchers as a blow against “tyranny”…is nothing but a new depth of nauseating hypocrisy, injustice, and shamelessness.

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