December 29th, 2006

Mistah Saddam: he dead

It has been announced that Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging a few hours ago.

I’m not a death penalty fan. But I’ve always realized that there are some situations in which execution seems only appropriate.

A trial of Adolf Hitler would have been one of them, if he hadn’t finessed the situation by killing himself first. It’s difficult to see how keeping him alive after a trial would have been anything but a trivialization of the enormity of his crimes.

Saddam wasn’t Hitler, but he was definitely evil enough, and on a large enough scale, to justify the death penalty. His continued existence would have had other dangers, as well–it would represent a rallying point for future hopes of a Baathist resurgence.

Unlike Saddam, Hitler cheated his executioner, as did the clever Goering, who managed to swallow poison just a few hours before he was due to hang. Then there was Milosevic, who died during his four-year-long trial, which had seemed interminable up till that point.

But many other prominent Nazis were executed after being sentenced at the Nuremberg trials, and the disposal of their bodies was treated with great care. Photographs were taken and distributed to prove they were actually dead (the same, apparently, is true of Saddam; as I write this, the photos and videos are expected to be released shortly). But after that documentation, the bodies of the executed Nazis were thoroughly destroyed, to avoid any possibility of a grave with remains that could inspire veneration and devotion in followers:

Afterwards, the bodies of the executed were photographed and, writes Anthony Read in The Devil’s Disciples (W.W. Norton, 2004), “wrapped in mattress covers, sealed in coffins, then driven off in army trucks . . . to a crematorium in Munich, which had been told to expect the bodies of fourteen American soldiers. The coffins were opened up for inspection . . . before being loaded into the cremation ovens. That same evening, a container holding all the ashes” — including those belonging to Field Marshal Hermann Göring, who had committed suicide a few hours earlier — “was driven away into the Bavarian countryside, in the rain. It stopped in a quiet lane about an hour later, and the ashes were poured into a muddy ditch.”

The Soviets and the Chinese Communists, on the other hand, have managed to make the bodies of their mass murderers into Madame Tussaud-like figures, embalmed and displayed as relics in shrines that have an almost religious quality (see this post I once wrote on that strange and grisly subject).

Mussolini, on the other hand, would probably have preferred any of the previous body dispositions to his actual fate–a fate that was on Hitler’s mind when he not only shot himself, but also gave orders for the destruction of his own corpse to prevent it from falling into the hands of his enemies.

Mussolini had been executed by Communist partisans, his body dumped in a public square, then strung up and beaten and otherwise desecrated by a crowd that had gathered. But he was later cut down and buried in a family plot, which became the focus of visits by neo-Fascist admirers.

What will happen to Saddam’s remains is unclear. His daughter is requesting temporary burial in Yemen, until Iraq can be “liberated” and he can be reinterred there. She is probably well aware of the tradition of destroying the bodies of executed dictators, and the reason this is done. She’s clearly hoping for some almost-Soviet style veneration in Saddam’s future. A fitting wish, since Saddam himself was a great admirer of Uncle Joe Stalin, the butcher of millions who himself died peacefully of natural causes–or did he?.

[ADDENDUM: The precedent of the past isn't being followed: Saddam's burial place is known, in his home base of Tikrit, about two miles from the graves of his sons. Thus, shrine possibilities remain intact.]

61 Responses to “Mistah Saddam: he dead”

  1. Dunger Black Says:

    you gots to pay somebody to act as dumb as Rodney. He’s drawing a stipend from

  2. nahncee Says:

    Jordan had previously told Ms. Raghead to shut up and zip it. Looks like they need to have another little stern talk with her to the effect that if she can’t keep still about her dear old daddy’s body, she can return to Baghdad toot sweet to help her fellow Iraqi’s muddle their way through.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The death penalty is the low road.

  4. armchair pessimist Says:

    Just for argument’s sake, suppose we had decided in, say, 2004 that this democracy business wasn’t working out over there, and put Saddam back in charge–on a very short leash of course. I can;t think of a people more deserving of a leader like Saddam Hussein.

  5. Cappy Says:

    I enjoyed his execution immensely, as well as the usual bleatings of the pacifist traitors here. May they soon join him.

  6. Sergey Says:

    “The imposition of the death penalty – an inherently cruel and inhumane punishment – in the wake of an unfair trial is indefensible”
    Human Rights Watch

    Simple question to HRW: What heinous crime one should commit to deserve capital punishment? If these people could not answer it, their assertion is ridicule.

  7. Zeno Says:

    The “unfair trial” is for me the strange accusation, since he at least got a trial – don’t think any of his victims had the right to that.

    However, I can’t say I’m happy with his execution, nor I’m optimistic that Saddam’s death will change much. Out goes the Sunni dictator, in goes the Shia proxy dictator (Sadr). Now it’s the Sunni’s turn to die.

  8. HLVS Says:

    There. Are you happy now? You killed Saddam. Was it worth 650,000 Iraqi civillians, 3,000 American servicepeople, and $350+ billion dollars? More than three years into this war and killing one lousy guy who used to be America’s best friend is all we have to show for it.

  9. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Good for the hanging.
    Permanent jail would have been a bad idea.
    We don’t need two Mumias.

  10. Good Ole Charlie (SE Penna) Says:

    Sic Semper Tyrannis.

    PS: HLVS: You need a translation? You also need a course in statistics, but that one I’ll let ride.

  11. Patrick Chester Says:

    Charlie: Go easy on the trolls. They’re grieving.

  12. holmes Says:

    Ah, Neo, the “I’m opposed to the death penalty” seems like lingering liberal false moral high ground. For a war, against the death penalty. I am for both, of course, when necessary. Saddam’s hanging was very much necessary.

    And where was Human Rights Watch during Saddam’s reign? Fools.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    holmes: not against the death penalty in all cases, as I think I make clear here. I’m against it, in general, under “ordinary” circumstances in the “ordinary” murder, partly because of its truly uneven application and the chance of a false conviction. Also, the other arguments for the death penalty that are present with someone like Saddam–discouraging followers from hoping that the person will someday return to power–are not present in the “ordinary” murder. In the case of mass political murderers such as Saddam, I see no real alternative to the death penalty that makes sense, as I think I make it clear in this post.

  14. kungfu Says:

    “Mistah Saddam–he dead” is not the best allusion. After all, Kurz was a white outsider who was murdurous for the sake of ivory so that he could be rich enough to satisfty his “intended” back home. One could make an ivory-oil analogy, which would make whom the Kurz of today? An allusion to Macbeth might be better, since Macbeth was home grown and went on a murderous rampage of his own country to maintain his absolute power.

    Also, it interests me how much you want to write about Hitler and the Nazis so much of late. Why? The Hitler/ Saddam analogy seems so very stale.

  15. holmes Says:

    I stand corrected. I certainly don’t want this to devolve into a death penalty discussion. I guess I don’t see the difference between an animal who takes one life and an animal who takes hundreds of thousands. That some people get a “break” and only get a life sentence while others get executed doesn’t bother me in the least. If we are worried about innocent people being put to death, it seems to me more an indictment of our judicial proceedings and the standards used to attain the death penalty than of the use of the death penalty in itself.

    Incidentally, I don’t think the Iraqis will have any hand wringing about implementing the death penalty there.

  16. Sally Says:

    I quite like the allusion, actually — not only to the Heart of Darkness but to the Hollow Men as well. And the nazi-era discussion has ramifications far beyond any Hitler-Saddam association. kungfu’s interpretive universe seems limited to the usual leftwing conspiracy theories (oil, etc.).

  17. Daniel DiRito Says:

    To view a sarcastic visual of George Bush playing a round of “Hangman”…here:

  18. Zeno Says:

    It’s funny that an execution with a trial raises more condemnation than, say, the death of Zarkawi, Uday and Qusay, killed by bombs. If Saddam had been killed by a soldier when he was found there would have been no protests.
    Meanwhile, regarding the death penalty, I feel more pity for this Iranian girl:

  19. Zeno Says:

    The Left is the same all over the world:
    Here Lula, Brazil’s leftist president, already condemned Saddam’s execution. But he didn’t offer a single word of sympathy for the 18 people killed by drug gangs in terrorist attacks in Rio just yesterday. What’s the problem of the left, why do they always seem to pity more dictators and criminals than innocent people?

  20. ben Says:

    Amid all the hand-wringing, has anyone noticed that Al Jazeera, the purveyor of videotaped beheadings, does NOT have a link to the video of Saddam’s hanging?

  21. kungfu Says:


    What conspiracy theory? Like we would have this much to do with Iraq if it wasn’t in the oil-rich Middle East? I don’t see us spending years, billions, and many lives to knock off some nasty dictator in some remote resource-poor outback. We could say it’s part of the larger war on terror, but any realistic person understands that oil is still at the heart of all this. Still don’t get the Kurz-Saddam analogy.

  22. Jimmy J. Says:

    The pictures of Saddam during his trial made me think of an old, tired man, but some of his outbursts confirmed how dangerous he still was.

    I can’t help but wonder if he ever thought about what might have been. If he had opened up his country, complied with the UN Resolutions, and just worked to strengthen Iraq’s economy, he and his sons would still be alive, richer and more powerful than ever. Total, the French oil company would have been glad to come in and increase their oil reserves, repair their oil infrastructure, and enrich Saddam beyond his wildest dreams. Was all his striving to be the Saladin of the modern world worth the ignominy of his eventual end on the gallows?

    We’ll never know, unless he left some writings for posterity. But I just can’t help but wonder if he had such thoughts.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    No tears from this lefty – only remorse that Rummy, Bush, Wolfie and most of the last three U.S administrations aren’t swinging along right beside him…

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    “Anonymous” above is actually troll stevie. I usually delete his comments automatically, but I left this one up as another example of a certain strain of “lefty” thought. Yes, some Leftists such as stevie would much prefer a Reign of Terror–as long as they are the ones in charge of the rope/guillotine.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    About the Kurtz reference–it’s a literary device, not a true analogy. If it had been the latter, I would have discussed Kurtz/Saddam in the post. The title of the post, however, comes from the phrase used when Kurtz’s death was announced, and it’s also the epigram that begins “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot.

  26. Sally Says:

    kungfu: What conspiracy theory?

    Oh, any of the Bush-Cheney-Halliburton stories about neo-con cabals spending billions on a war for oil that they could much more cheaply just buy — e.g., your “ivory-oil analogy”.

    If we can get beyond simplistic Hollywood story lines, however, it’s certainly true that oil is the underlying reason for the present significance of the Middle East. It’s what gave Bin Laden his wealth, after all, what provided Saddam with what was once the fourth largest military force on earth, and what fuels much of the present islamist global terror campaign. Getting a lever on that is vastly more important than some trite fantasy regarding a personal or even national grab for the resource itself.

  27. Rod Says:

    “. . . ordinarily against the death penalty . .” is pure and simple fence riding. Unless you consider the death penalty on other than moral grounds, whatever that may be, its sometime use is naught but rationalization. If there is a hierarchy of justifications, eg. Hitler, Goering, Mussolini, etc., I haven’t seen it.

    As for the “attack for oil” theory, if and when it becomes necessary, I will fully support the western world’s use of force to retain its preeminent position as the world’s best ever example of a successful and compassionate, culture and body politic.

  28. Steve Says:

    I don’t see the connection of “Mistah Kurtz” personally, but, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a title. I don’t think there’s any way that Saddam could be placed into a Kurtzian model as proper Victorian later exposed and then concealed by Marlowe as someone who fell apart.

    Actually I seem to recall we discussed Eliot (and this poem) earlier this year in the context of Nevil Shute.

    Eliot was one of those guys who believed the devolutions of modern life had dessicated man and culture, and that a re-commitment to the elitist principles of a certain strand of Catholicism was called for. I doubt if many conservatives or neo-cons today would agree. Well, maybe Mel Gibson …..

  29. Occam's Beard Says:

    I don’t see us spending years, billions, and many lives to knock off some nasty dictator in some remote resource-poor outback.

    One word: Afghanistan.

  30. Trimegistus Says:


    So exactly _why_ is the Nazi-Saddam analogy getting “stale?”

    Murderous, genocidal fascists on one side, murderous, genocidal fascists on the other. Works for me.

    Or is it just that pointing out that Saddam was a Hitler wannabe gets in the way of your attempts to downplay his crimes and portray the Iraq war as aggression by the US?

  31. Rodney Says:

    ordan had previously told Ms. Raghead to shut up and zip it.

    Using ethnic slurs again, are we?

    According to Human Rights Watch, which has a long and honorable history of documenting and challenging the abuses of Hussein’s former government, the execution early Saturday morning followed “a deeply flawed trial” and “marks a significant step away from respect for human rights and the rule of law in Iraq.”

    “The test of a government’s commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders,” says Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program. “History will judge these actions harshly.”

    The group notes the trial was fundamentally flawed.

    A niney-seven-page report by Human Rights Watch, issued late last month, details the severe problems with the trial. The report, based on close monitoring of the prosecution of the former president, found that:

    .”(The) Iraqi High Tribunal was undermined from the outset by Iraqi government actions that threatened the independence and perceived impartiality of the court.”

    . The Iraqi administrators, judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers lacked sufficient training and expertise “to fairly and effectively try crimes of this magnitude.”

    . The government did not protect defense lawyers–three of whom were killed during the trial–or key witnesses.

    . “(There were) serious flaws in the trial, including failures to disclose key evidence to the defense, violations of the defendants’ right to question prosecution witnesses, and the presiding judge’s demonstrations of bias.”

    . “Hussein’s defense lawyers had 30 days to file an appeal from the November 5 verdict. However, the trial judgment was only made available to them on November 22, leaving just two weeks to respond.”

    The report did not study the appeals process, But the speed with which the tribunal’s verdict and sentence were confirmed suggests that the Iraqi Appeals Chamber failed to seriously consider the legal arguments advanced by Hussein’s able–if violently harassed–legal team.

    “It defies imagination that the Appeals Chamber could have thoroughly reviewed the 300-page judgment and the defense’s written arguments in less than three weeks’ time,” said Dicker. “The appeals process appears even more flawed than the trial.”

  32. Rodney Says:

    And where was Human Rights Watch during Saddam’s reign? Fools.

    Human Rights Watch has a long and honorable history of documenting and challenging the abuses of Hussein’s former government.

  33. holmes Says:

    How’d they do in stopping him, Rod? About as well as the “Free Tibet” bumper sticker campaign?

  34. Rodney Says:

    Our History with Iraq

    Chip Gagnon, Assistant Prof., Dept of Politics, Ithaca College

    Visiting Research Fellow, Peace Studies Program, Cornell University

    Talk given at Teach-in on Iraq, Cornell University, October 22, 2002:

    In March 1988, the Financial Times of London reported that Saddam had recently used chemical weapons against Kurds in Halabja, using US helicopters bought in 1983.

    Two months later, an Asst. Secretary of State, US, pushed for more US-Iraq economic cooperation.

    In September of that year, Reagan prevented the Senate from putting sanctions on Iraq for its violation of the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons.

    The US also voted against a UN Security Council statement condemning Iraq’s use of chemical weapons.

  35. Rodney Says:

    Our History with Iraq

    Chip Gagnon, Assistant Prof., Dept of Politics, Ithaca College:

    Forgot to mention: the website where Prof Gagnon documents this, with sources, is:

    “In March 1988, the Financial Times of London reported that Saddam had recently used chemical weapons against Kurds in Halabja, using US helicopters bought in 1983.

    “Two months later, an Asst. Secretary of State, US, pushed for more US-Iraq economic cooperation.

    “In September of that year, Reagan prevented the Senate from putting sanctions on Iraq for its violation of the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons.

    “The US also voted against a UN Security Council statement condemning Iraq’s use of chemical weapons.”

  36. Charlemagne Says:

    Huh. Saddam makes you remember Manuel Noriega of Panama, another U.S. flunky with secrets, who was removed from the scene….

  37. Jack Says:

    I won’t lose any sleep over this one. He deserved worse than this.

  38. Sally Says:

    Rodney: “The US also voted against a UN Security Council statement condemning Iraq’s use of chemical weapons.”

    Rodney here is repeating a very common theme among lefty critics of the Iraq war, and other aspects of the war on islamists generally: that the US once supported, or at least didn’t oppose, these creatures. Now, a rational response to such a point would be to admit that that was certainly a bad mistake, particularly in hindsight, but that it would surely strengthen, rather than undermine, the justification of the current war. Otherwise we would simply be continuing and compounding our earlier mistake, no? But that’s not the conclusion that the lefties draw. Why not, you might wonder?

    It might be tempting to write it off as simply due to their low regard for rationality as such. But we can discover at least a little more coherence behind this oft-repeated meme if we recall just how much the left hates the US in general — for them, in other words, these past mistakes were never really mistakes at all, but rather just aspects of a long-standing (and no doubt eternal) pattern of doing bad things in and to the world. For them, then, current policies are not seen as corrections of previous errors, but simply as continuations of an old evil (lefties are bit squeamish about the word “evil”, I know, but it’s a good shorthand for the virulence of their hostility toward the US, and more generally the West). Thus, despite the fact that current policies are reversals of previous ones, all that the left is ever able to see, wherever it looks, is simply more confirmation of their settled view of American perfidy and wickedness. Which, among other things, indicates just how little coherence remains in the lefty worldview.

  39. Rodney Says:

    Sally writes: Rodney here is repeating a very common theme among lefty critics of the Iraq war, and other aspects of the war on islamists generally: that the US once supported, or at least didn’t oppose, these creatures. Now, a rational response to such a point would be to admit that that was certainly a bad mistake, particularly in hindsight, but that it would surely strengthen, rather than undermine, the justification of the current war.

    (1) “A bad mistake”: When there is a pattern of supporting dictators, it cannot be wished away as just a single bad mistake, can it? The US supported not just Saddam, but a whole slew of opressive dictators): Pinochet in Chile, Videla in Argentina, Suharto in Indonesia, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, … the list goes on and on. Even today, the US continues to support rulers who aren’t exactly democratic: Musharraf in Pakistan, the royal house of Saud, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the president of Uzbekistan, Putin in Russia,… see the point?

    (2) “but that it would surely strengthen, rather than undermine, the justification of the current war”: Two points need to be made here: (i) Well, you see, the justification advanced when actually launching the war was that Iraq supposedly had weapons of mass destruction. If the goal really was to bring freedom to Iraq, why was that not mentioned as the goal? (ii) Now that Saddam Hussein has been overthrown and even killed, why is the war still being prosecuted? Iraq is free, no? Leave Iraq to the Iraqis and get out of that country.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    I won’t lose any sleep over this one. He deserved worse than this.

    Capital punishment stinks of hypocrisy. You either smell it or you don’t.

  41. Jack Says:


    Simple platitudes are called simple for a reason. You’ll have to do better than that.

  42. USpace Says:

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    admire brutal dictators

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    don’t kill the poor dictator

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    mourn evil tyrants…

  43. Sally Says:

    And Rodney, just as you’d expect, goes right on with his demonstration of obtuse America-bashing by the left at any cost, even at the cost of their reason. E.g.:

    1) “a pattern of supporting dictators”. Of course, if the US were to cut off all relations with every country that could be called a dictatorship — much less go to war with them all — I think most people could easily imagine the howls from the left as well. The simple fact is that, as most grown-ups have long since learned, you don’t always get what you want and have to deal with what you have — one of the many lessons the infantile left has missed.

    2) He said there were going to be WMDs and there weren’t! (And where have we heard that before?) But:
    a) So what? How is that relevant to the point that, in any case, we’re no longer supporting this dictator at least, and why isn’t that a good thing? And
    b) If you examine the origins of neo-con foreign policy, you’ll find that it involved the idea of encouraging and spreading democracy as a vital aspect of long-term American security in the world, a theme that was sounded by the Bush Administration on numerous occasions prior to the Iraq invasion — it’s only, once again, the left that has become completely fixated on the “no WMDs” meme.

    Oh, and “why is the war still being prosecuted”? To prevent a bloodbath, of course, at considerable cost to ourselves. The wisdom of that decision is open to question, particularly as the prevention becomes increasingly difficult — but the motive is clearly good. Not for the rabid left, though, who I guess imagine that the US is still involved for the sole purpose of killing both Iraqis and their own soldiers.

  44. Sergey Says:

    Rodney, have you noticed that all dictators in your list were natural allies of the West in Cold War? That those whoom they “oppressed” were not a bit better, and in most of the cases, much worse? It made sense to support these thugs, both on pragmatic and moral reasons. But now, when communism is dead, change of this traditional policy is needed. Long-standing rule of US international policy was “do not destabilize autocratic regime if there is no democratic alternative to it”. Now US are strong enough to create this democratic alternative themselves, in one country after another, so toppling of dictators became policy of choice.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left’s methods naturally acclimate them to the sphere of thugs and criminals.

  46. Sergey Says:

    Reaction on Saddam’s execution in Iraq is hardly predictable, but one can hope that it can be a watershed to all factions.

  47. Sergey Says:

    “Several American military and intelligence sources have informed us that the Ethiopians are not taking ‘foreign’ prisoners on the battlefield – al-Qaeda fighters are being summarily executed. Some advantages the Ethiopians possess over the United States is a willingness to use all means necessary to eliminate the ICU and al-Qaeda, and a willingness to ignore international condemnation for its actions.”

    That is what US should have done in Iraq, too.

  48. Chris Says:

    It never ceases to amaze me when people bring up the dictators and creeps we backed in the past. The one thing that always escapes the list is what we backed them against. No mention of the communist threat, no mention of the millions killed by their own communist governments, no mention of the overarching goal of communism to topple all other systems.

    Why is that?

  49. Anonymous Says:

    Simple platitudes are called simple for a reason. You’ll have to do better than that.

    death penalty quotes — writers and philosophers

  50. Good Ole Charlie (SE Penna) Says:

    Saddam had, if you remember, a long standing policy of bribing people with oil contracts.

    I won’t be surprised if various “human rights” organization received some of this booty themselves…it’s virtually untraceable once the bribe is taken and cashed in.

    Might explain most of the crocodile tears being shed for dear old uncle saddam…

    How about it guys…you got a donor list?

  51. holmes Says:

    Well we know that a wide-ranging circle of UN people are certainly going to miss the monthly checks from Saddam.

  52. mondo Says:

    That was not the real Saddam. Saddam was evacuated 3 years ago as witnessed by many. Look at his teeth before 2003.

  53. nahncee Says:

    mondo, you want to tell us about all the Jews who called in sick the morning of 9/11 now, too?

    Or how about a story with the Mother Ship beaming you up to do indelicate things to your reproductive system (since you obviously don’t have brain or nervous system).

  54. Ariel Says:

    I was struck by this one quote from Camus:
    “To assert in any case that a man must be absolutely cut off from society because he is absolutely evil amounts to saying that society is absolutely good, and no-one in his right mind will believe this today.”

    What incredible logic, the brilliance is blinding.

    Many of the other quotes were of similar quality. Some were worth pondering.

  55. Sally Says:

    You’re right, Ariel, those quotes are, umm, thought-provoking, though the thoughts they provoke may not be those intended. Here’s my fav:

    «I am against the death penalty, but the issue of its abolition is not a closed discourse, its a matter which seeks itself, which is still looking for itself.»

    Guess who said that? Alright, it’s Derrida. And doesn’t that just perfectly encapsulate the whole pettifogging scam that was “deconstruction”?

    Many of the other quotes, as well, might incline a decent death-penalty opponent to reconsider. Still, like neo, I remain opposed to the death penalty, in my case because I do think it exerts a subtle but real brutalizing effect on the society that retains it. I grant that there are certainly crimes and individuals that severely test such a position.

    And I think, also like neo, that there are historic and political circumstances that make exceptions to that opposition — the case of Saddam Hussein being one of the most obvious. Not all dictators should be executed, but, even leaving aside the enormity of his crimes, one that’s been pulled out of a rat hole, resistant to the end, and possessed of continual potential to inspire murderous fanatics, is one who should be given a swift trial — to make his atrocities clear — and a swift end. My only criticism is that his trial was unnecessarily prolonged.

  56. Ariel Says:

    I support the death penalty in limited cases: serial killers and child killers. There may be other cases, but none come to mind at this moment. I don’t think it does brutalize society, however subtly, but given the meaning of subtle, we can legitimately disagree. I am glad that DNA can not only exonerate but convict, it reduces the “innocent man” issue.

    As for the US supporting dictators, Kirkpatrick was right and it was a necessary policy to support authoritarian (rightist) regimes,which tend to wither into democracies, while fighting the communist regimes which must collapse to become free. A question I must ask is why is it never mentioned that European and Asian countries did and do the same? Russia (Warsaw Pact)and France were equal to or greater in supplying Iraq and supporting Saddam. I am sure we can find similar circumstances with other dictators. Don’t these countries have intelligence agencies that do dirty work? Were any dictatorial regimes their handiwork? Nah. Of course not.

  57. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The difference is, Ariel, that conservatives do not lament the passing of the regimes with which it was necessary to deal.
    Lefties, on the other hand, think they’ve lost a lot when their guys retire and those boring elections start happening.

  58. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    We have been training the Ethiopian military, which is now fighting against Al Qaeda in Somalia. Rodney, does that mean we can never again do anything mean to Ethiopia, because the irony would be too intolerable to leftists everywhere?

    Situations change, and factions sometimes change sides in the middle of a war, for good reasons. Avoidance of irony is an inadequate basis for foreign policy.

    I would also caution you against two other things: the overvaluation of the US role in other nation’s decisions – it’s not all about us; second, UN votes in 1988 aren’t actually telling arguments about anything.

  59. Ymarsakar Says:

    The unbendable fanaticism of the Left is endearing, only in so far as it helps me to defeat the rather more hardcore and competent fanaticism of Islamic Jihadists.

  60. bugs Says:

    It would have been easier to dispose of the guy if he’d been captured in 2003, in his uniform, leading his troops or scheming with his fedayeen. Since then, he’s been pathetic and it’s harder to kill a pathetic person no matter how much he needs killing. Trouble is, monsters seldom look and act like monsters 24/7. At least part of the time, they’re just like you an me – reading the paper and feeding the birds or whatever. As for the effect of his death on the insurgency – I don’t think it’ll have much. He was a non-player since his capture.

  61. Sergey Says:

    I remember one anecdote from Svetlana Stalina memoirs: when she were a teenager, her father said to her. “You think you are Stalina? No. And I am not Stalin either. That is Stalin! – and showed her his portrait on the wall.

    Dictators of this kind are not just persons in flesh and blood; they are idols, and even their portraits have magic powers over their subjects. And to cast down an idol it is not enough just strip it of physical power, you must also desecrate it. Mark Steyn has good point about it:

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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