Saddam Hussein may soon be executed and at the end of his life, he is the main character in a drama that no fiction writer would concoct. The writer would be deemed mad; out of touch with reality. Saddam finds himself in hyper reality however. Fitting perhaps, for a man that has lived a surreal life.
This show trial has now resumed after a hiatus. Prior to that, the trial had been a public spectacle on the world stage. Now, at its resumption, the unprincipled lynch mob that presents itself as a trial adheres to its lynch mob quality of legal professionalism. It promises to remain a public spectacle on the world stage. The trial grinds along as lawyers are murdered, witnesses for Saddam risk their lives by testifying and witnesses against him are hidden and unnamed. The court room is an ongoing reality show on par with Jerry Springer.
It is in our interests that this trial is legitimate in the eyes of the Arab world, the Iraqis, and in the world as a whole. Saddam Hussein has been a tyrant and has ruthlessly killed scores of political opponents. A kangaroo court, such as it is, will not get at the nitty gritty of what has happened in Saddam's life. He will be found guilty and perhaps executed but in the eyes of everyone that has the flimsiest respect for legal processes, this will not be legitimate. It will simply be some of what Saddam meted out come home to roost. A wave of karma from the depths of hell, but not legitimate.
Getting to the truth of not only Saddam's crimes but what his accomplices have done in the past is an important chaper of the history of the Middle East. It is also an important chaper in American history and learning what has happened will educate us in the art of tyranny. This is an art that we better understand because tyranny isn't going to disappear tomorrow or the next day. We need to understand what makes these psychopaths tick.
A fair and open trial, carried out preferably outside a war zone, conducted under the auspices of the UN, would serve to illuminate the charatcer of not only Saddam Hussein, but of all those that have cultivated his demonic rise to power. The problem is that the very same powers that helped him rise to his throne where he sat for so many years are the ones that are building his gallows today.
There is a murky world waiting to be exposed. In that murky world there is plenty of evidence showing Saddam and the Americans in cahoots. Not only during the bloodbath between Iraq and Iran in the 80s, but well before that. In the 1980s, Saddam and Western governments collaborated against Islamic Iran. Iran had recently thrown out another American placed tyrant willing to liberally slaughter opponents, the Shah. It was quite natural then for neo cons such as Ronald Reagan and Maggie Thatcher to applaud and support Saddam's criminal Iran war. He is not, by the way, being tried for this particular crime (the Iran war), his grandest crime of all.
Well before the atrocities of the 80s and 90s, Saddam was a CIA stooge and anti-communist thug. In the 1950s, the threat of communism gaining a foothold in Iraq was a serious threat to the Americans. The Americans overthrew General Kassam in Iraq in 1963 and had developed close ties with the Baath Party to this end. At the time, Saddam was a minor stooge who was willing to kill to advance his station. In 1958 he had served six months in jail for killing a relative who was a communist. After that the CIA said, 'he's our man'. A month after the coup in 1963, Saddam retuned from exile in Egypt (having fled after his part in attempting to kill Gen. Abdel-Karim Kassem in Baghdad) and went to work as a torturer and killer of communists in the Fellaheen and Muthaqafeen detention camps.
In 1968 the Baath Party successfully fought its way into power and gained control of Iraq. Again, this had the backing of the CIA. In 1979 Saddam grabbed the reigns of power amidst his passion for the anti opposition purges he was conducting at the time.
In 1980, Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran. They used brutal means of collective punishment against the people of Iran and backstage, there was applauding and cheering from the very same folks that are fixing to execute him now. Ronald Reagan sent Rumsfeld to Saddam in 1983 and 1984 to discuss cooperation between America and Iraq (They had fallen out after the Baathists warmed up to the Soviets). They discussed the war, further arming of Iraq, economic collboration, the provision of intelligence, loans and so on. Rumsfeld does not want Saddam talking to the world about what was said behind closed doors. At the times Rumsfeld knew he was using poison gas and he also knew that Saddam was buying military weaponry from American firms.
The Iraqis slaughtered Kurds using poison gas and likely used American helocopters to do it. The Americans responded in the most lackluster way they could. They had no choice but to condemn it, but they made sure that Saddam knew that it would not alter diplomatic or economic relations. In the UN the Americans engineered a statement that condemned the use of chemical weapons without naming names. The Americans knew that he was using poison gas against the Kurds and they did nothing.
It is no surprise that the Americans are not going to expose this murky world that they and Saddam shared. It is this as a backdrop to the farce, the bizarre show trial that is going on today. Saddam had accomplices to his crimes, not only in Baghdad, but in Washington as well. In some cases it is the very same individuals that were involved back then as are involved now with this spectacle.
If he takes the stand and is free to speak, he will have stories to tell. As it is, the judges at the trial have the time delay and the switch to shut off the microphones when something is said to offend the hangmen. He may talk about how the West helped him in the manufacture of chemical weapons. He may discuss collaboration and deals that are well buried in the private world of madmen.