Saturday, January 20, 2007

Of Taunts and Torture

It is not often a story in the news makes me chuckle. But just recently I came across a New York Times headline: Iraq To Review Hussein's Execution. Hmm...ok. I read on: "Iraq’s Shiite-led government said Tuesday that it had ordered an investigation into the abusive behavior at the execution of Saddam Hussein, who was subject to a battery of taunts by official Shiite witnesses and guards as he awaited his hanging." (NYT, 1/3/07) Insert giggle here.

It goes on to say, "In an unofficial cell phone video recording that was broadcast around the world and posted on countless Web sites, Mr. Hussein is shown standing on the gallows platform with the noose around his neck at dawn on Saturday, facing a barrage of mockery and derision from unseen tormentors below the gallows." I love the word "tormentors" here because that is certainly one of many horrible nouns to which Mr. Hussein holds.

I couldn't believe what I just read. Are people serious? Have they not read any news on Iraq for the past quarter century? Let’s recap:

Saddam Hussein seized power in 1979. The list of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Saddam Hussein and his regime is a long one. It includes:

• The use of poison gas and other war crimes against Iran and the Iranian people during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Iraq summarily executed thousands of Iranian prisoners of war as a matter of policy.

• The "Anfal" campaign in the late 1980's against the Iraqi Kurds, including the use of poison gas on cities. In one of the worst single mass killings in recent history, Iraq dropped chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988, in which as many as 5,000 people -- mostly civilians -- were killed. Another 10,000 were injured. The attack is part of the government's campaign to suppress rebellious Kurds across northern Iraq. The campaign leaves 180,000 Kurds missing and presumed dead.

• Crimes against humanity and war crimes arising out of Iraq's 1990-91 invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

• Crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq. This includes the destruction of over 3,000 villages. The Iraqi government's campaign of forced deportations of Kurdish and Turkomen families to southern Iraq has created approximately 900,000 internally displaced citizens throughout the country.

• Crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against Marsh Arabs and Shi'a Arabs in southern Iraq. Entire populations of villages have been forcibly expelled. Government forces have burned their houses and fields, demolished houses with bulldozers, and undertaken a deliberate campaign to drain and poison the marshes. Thousands of civilians have been summarily executed.

• Possible crimes against humanity for killings, ostensibly against political opponents, within Iraq.

Even at Hussein's trial, more atrocities were demonstrated. Ahmed Hassan Mohammed detailed the killing of 148 people in the village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982. The Iraqi forces' torture equipment included a mincing machine sometimes fed with living human bodies, he said. But heck, he could be making it all up! Maybe he watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre one too many times.

And with that thought, Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases on the grounds that it is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. "Saddam Hussein and his aides should certainly have been held to account for the horrific human rights crimes committed by his government but this should have been through a fair trial process and without recourse to the death penalty. Reports that Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti had his head severed during the hanging only emphasis the brutality of this already cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment," said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme. Nothing wrong with a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment for cruel, inhuman and degrading men.

Even 'our fearless leader' Bush chimed in on the execution: "It basically says to people, "Look, you conducted a trial and gave Saddam justice that he didn’t give to others." But then when it came to execute him, it looked like it was kind of a revenge killing." No, Mr. Bush, a proper ‘revenge killing’ would be if we could kill him 20,000 times...for starters.

If you still share a similar viewpoint to that of Amnesty International, then let me leave with a little bedtime story…

Once upon a time in 1988, a 12 year-old boy named Taimour was taken prisoner by the big back Iraqi forces that burned down his village of more than 4500 villagers. Separated from his family, he was thrown in jail with other children. Many of who died because they were hungry. After surviving there for 30 days, he was whisked away on a bus with no windows, struggling to breath the entire ride to the majestic border of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. After they arrived, they were allowed to have some of the 'magic' water that turned his body numb. Surrounded with 30 other busloads of people, the Iraqi forces had them climb down in over a hundred holes dug specially for them.

Waiting there till it got dark out, the Iraqi forces then starting shooting at the people. All men, women and children. Goodness, was little Taimour frightened. There was one woman Taimour noticed that was pregnant and about to give birth. They threw into the hole too and shot her so many times her stomach got ripped and the baby fell out. Taimour was then shot multiple times in the back and shoulder but survived and played dead until the soldiers eventually left. And then he woke up! What a horrible nightmare.

Kids certainly have a vivid imagination, wouldn’t you say?!

Note: I would gladly 'pull the trigger', 'secure the noose', 'flip the switch', 'inject the needle' kill Saddam Hussein…one less psychopathic scumbag to worry about!

-Bush Widens Iraq Criticism Over Handling of Executions
-Saddam Hussein's Iraq


Anonymous said...

Great rant!
Really I had no issues with him being killed. I believe in Capital Punishment as long as it is no doubt that the convicted is guilty. It think today with DNA and other CSI tatics I think capital punishment is not only a valid way to handle guys like Saddam but it is very cost effective. Something both parties can like. Anyway I think we need to stop worrying about how mass murders and terrorist feel about their punishments and put Political Correctness in the Hang man's Noose and let that die right along side them. I hope in Jan 2009 we have leaders that have our country in the right direction.

BTW how is Bin Laden doing? Did someone forget about him? From what I remember didn't he mass murder some people in NY and Washington a few years ago?

Today's Rant said...

Luckily I have never been in the position to have to "pull the trigger" so no, I do not know if I really would be adversely affected but people like Hussein do not deserve to draw breath on this earth. They have taken away countless lives and personal liberties. There are too many scumbag on this earth destroying and overshadowing the good. They do not have the right to continue to live on this earth. And while some might argue that executing someone then was not God's will...I do not believe God intended to have a hand in people's death. He gave people free will...including the free will to kill one another, as Hussein did.

Sick people like Hussein can not be reasoned with. They do not believe that what they did was wrong nor do they have any remorse, so you can not even hope to rehabilitate them. Hmm...I feel another rant coming on...