Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983 [in the midst of the war begun in 1980, when Iraq attacked Iran]. (video clip still)
Hussein now as good as dead? If we think about it for a second, we can see that's not a good thing for "freedom." [since Bush, we have to put the word in quotation marks]
First, let's see, what do we know for sure about the Iraqi dictator's sudden reappearance?
There seems little reason to doubt that Saddam Hussein is in Iraq and currently in the custody of its American owners. Everything else being reported should be subject to the most intense scrutiny.
What we do know, those of us who have kept abreast of the story from the beginning, is that it isn't in the interest of anyone in power in the U.S., Britain, or just about any other nation, and not excluding the paper governing committee we have installed in Iraq, to see him actually put on trial. Any legitimate, fair trial would permit Hussein to speak in his defense. Every one of his current enemies has been compromised by contacts, agreements, support and conspiracies which stretch back 30 years, many continuing even until only months before the hostilities which began in March.
From Bloggy, writing about our own government's relationship to the man we now describe as a monster:
Are they going to allow his defense to bring up things like the fact we provided satellite intelligence to him when he was gassing Iranians and others during the Iraq/Iraq war, or that Rumsfeld was happy to meet with him during that time? I doubt it.
There will of course be no fair trial. There may in fact be no trial at all.
At least one blogger has suggested that there's a possibility that the former dictator has actually been in U.S. custody for some time. Then why weren't we told about it?
Easy. Early reports describe the captured Hussein as appearing bewildered, disoriented, perhaps in some kind of stupor, even "broken." The circumstances of his discovery and arrest were anything but public. It all happened under cover of darkness, and the 600 troops which were part of the task force did not know the nature of the operation. Could the events of Saturday night have been an invention? But to what end?
I'm sure many hypotheses might be advanced, but my own should appeal to more than just those who revel in conspiracy theories. I think Saddam Hussein may have been captured some time ago, and the reason we are only hearing about it now, the reason it is being described as if it had just happened is that his captors first needed some time with him in private. I think there's a good chance he's now been "modified."
Ok, too fantastic? Perhaps, especially since the same purpose would be served if Hussein didn't get to testify in the first place. Any number of people could be found to see that he was murdered first, but maybe it would be neater if he managed to die of some unfortunate medical condition. No matter how the arrangements are handled, we're never going to hear what he has to say.
So in fact his life is already over. Only the details have to be worked out.
How did we get to the point where we could imagine the very worst in the conduct of our own goverment? In fact I think we now can actually expect the very worst.
And I think this means it's all over.
[image and caption from George Washington University, The National Security Archive]