It appears that Saddam Hussein, ex-employee of the American Government, has been extracted from his metaphorical “haystack” in Iraq ? that is, if that which all the worlds media have leapt upon during the past week is true to appearances, rather than the equally feasible possibility that expert work, accomplished courtesy of high-tech “Hollywood-style” special effects teams, presented a long US incarcerated Saddam to domestic American and world media as a much needed Christmas present in the face of escalating Iraqi insurgencies.
For a while, the world?s media played its own Christmas charade, convincing itself and most of the public that resistance in Iraq was over.
As the festive season in the West approaches, and as life becomes increasingly ugly for coalition troops facing an insurgency of increasing intensity, the coalition is not only gloating over it’s latest acquisition and praising it’s own efforts, but those nations such as Great Britain and Australia - who have long opposed the death penalty - are happily agreeing to it’s application in this “perfectly ordinary” example of “extraordinary” human rights abuses by yet another of histories “evil men”. There is much relief for all the wrong reasons for George W Bush and his team of empire builders, and all the right reasons for a world desiring peace and security.
Questions of crime and punishment are bringing to light some interesting contradictions from those who profess to be Christian states, and who have long abandoned the death penalty, such as the USA?s two key allies in Iraq, Great Britain and Australia. Jesus Christ reportedly said, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. Australia’s Prime Minister has already eagerly consented to stamp his seal of approval to put Saddam Hussein to death, should that be the verdict of any trial. How ironic indeed that he who is eager to cast the first stone is he who blatantly lied to the Australian people regarding Iraqi asylum seekers “throwing their children into the ocean”, and who went on to campaign on the slogan “we don’t want people like that in this country”, in order (believe it or not) to persuade a nation to re-elect him and his far right wing government for a third term in office.
There is a well known (to Australians) piece of comic film in which two characters, one full of over-the-top ideas, the other a realist who in response to every grand scheme of his cohort replies in a dry monotone, “your dreaming”. It puts me in mind of the Bush Administrations latest attempt to quell the violence and insurgency in Iraq. Quite plainly, “they’re dreaming”. Those filmed for the worlds eager media corps celebrating the fall of Saddam?s statue at the beginning of the present occupation, and now the similar scenes of jubilation of a “chosen” crowd of cheering Iraqi’s, although guaranteed to manipulate world opinion once again, do not reflect the reality in this occupied state. This is such a fundamental point, but one which so many refuse to acknowledge.
It is simplicity itself in terms of propaganda. People by nature en-masse will be moved and emotional. Many can even display euphoria without being aware of what it is that is moving them. Such has been proven in studies of crowd behaviour. Close range cinematography of isolated groups of the most emotive and active sends a powerful message, but what proportion of the population of Iraq do such scenes represent?
Few of those who read the non-mainstream press are un-aware of that which is at play beyond the publicly sanctioned propaganda, used to distract from the real political and geo-strategic agenda, but those realists amongst us face a difficult task, being as it were up against the highly effective, no expense spared state propaganda apparatus. There are so many important contradictions and ?facts? that do not hold up to the mildest scrutiny, but for most, such hardly seem to make any difference. Thus the question is raised as to whether dissent, no matter how well researched, verified and promoted it may be, will impact upon, let alone change, the status quo. Can it penetrate the wall of disengaged, fatalist, self-obsessed individuals, concerned only with their own personal survival? It may well be that words are no longer enough for such mind numbing complacency in the face of a ruthlessness that threatens the future survival of humanity.
An important point of particular interest is that relating to Great Britain and Australia, the only two countries that committed military forces to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Both of these states have abandoned the death penalty as the ultimate punishment, yet both condone such, should any court impose it upon Saddam Hussein. In reality Saddam may have been a tin-pot dictator of an impotent Middle East state - due largely to Western sanctions, which caused the deaths of millions, and immeasurable suffering, and arms embargoes over the past decade since Iraq fell foul of US foreign policy - but Saddam is being held up to the world as the embodiment of the evil that the fraudulent “war on terrorism” is hoped to evoke in the psyche of the worlds peoples. In other words, Saddam Hussein is but a small player in a far bigger agenda.
"Hear how he clears the points o’ Faith, wi’ rattling an’ thumpin’!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath, he’s stampin’, and he’s jumpin’!”
Robert Burns, Holy Fair
That the Christian world finds no contradiction in its treatment of this man is difficult to reconcile, and as for Christians themselves, I would be interested to hear them justify their stance. The principal teachings of Jesus Christ as written by the apostles in the Bible state clearly: “forgive thy enemy”. Christian teaching in the West has become, like so many things, corrupted and meaningless. Christians, such as Australian Prime Minister John Howard, see no contradiction in refusing refugees asylum from oppression, persecution, and war. He believes that to lie, deceive, and knowingly condemn a people is acceptable Christian behaviour. The West is spiritually corrupt, the Church is ridden with Priests who sexually abuse minors, and widespread decadence is an irrefutable fact of modern Christianity. It is simply not possible to maintain that in the 21st century the USA is “Christian”, “Democratic” and “Peace-loving”.
Let us briefly reflect upon the proceedings that have led us to the present point. The push for war long before March 2003 was based upon Hussein’s arsenal of 26,000 litres of Anthrax, 38,000 litres of botulinum toxin, 1,000,000 pounds of sarin gas, along with 30,000 munitions capable of delivery to the streets of America - not to mention Uranium from Niger, to be used in nuclear weapons. Also, Al Qaeda terrorists were supposedly closely associated with Iraq, who was ready and willing to use the listed weapons against Americans and it’s allies.
Absolutely none of these agents have since been discovered. There is also no evidence of Al Qaeda affiliations. Hussein, contrary to State Department and Presidential claims, had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks in the US - a fact that prompted President Bush to make such a declaration himself. It is now widely accepted that such “evidence” was invented to scare the American people into supporting and condoning an unjust, illegal, and immoral war against a harmless state. The “war” has thus far made a few Bush cronies, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and other neo-Conservatives, rich beyond they?re wildest dreams of avarice. Halliburton, Cheney’s global multi-national corporation of choice, has had the pick of the crop of Iraqi reconstruction contracts.
The lies, adapted as the claimed evidence failed to materialize, became predictably one of “humanitarian concern for an oppressed Iraqi people”. The powers of good, the peaceful, freedom loving, altruistic USA changed the ground rules to matters regarding human rights abuses. The century old American propaganda system did not fail to convince a brainwashed world (for generations in the West Russia was spelt E-V-I-L and America G-O-O-D).
The sign above this smug G.I. reads in Arabic: “What God wills, and there is no power but the power of God”.
Does he know?
One resisting Iraqi, named Kashid Ahmed Saleh, was reported as saying in the New York Times a week ago, “we are fighting for freedom and because the Americans are Jews. The governing council is a bunch of looters and criminals and mercenaries. We cannot expect that stability in this country will ever come from them. The principal is based upon religious and tribal loyalties. The religious principal is that we cannot accept to live with infidels. The prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, said, ?hit the infidels wherever you find them?. We are also a tribal people. We cannot allow strangers to rule over us.” Such words could be interpreted equally valid within a Western anti-Islamic fundamentalist context.
The “capture” of Saddam Hussein will entrench among moderate Iraqi’s, and Arabs in general, the belief that there is now no good reason for the US and coalition forces to remain in Iraq - yet four permanent military bases are intended for the country. The Americans have no intention of departing. I am sorry to report that the war may now begin in earnest.
Saddam Hussein cannot be put on trial publicly by the Americans, for the obvious reason that he may very well start citing American complicity in his crimes during the past thirty years, and the “back pay” he is owed by the US government.
Saddam Hussein, as is now abundantly clear, was never a threat to the US or the world. His capture will not increase the prospects for the peace and security, of the planet, or (more specifically) for the US. If anything, we can expect a contrary scenario to develop. This world will remain an increasingly dangerous place for you, your children, and future generations, until the number one aggressor and terrorist State learns to use it’s global hegemony taking into consideration issues of morality, ethics, altruism, equity, and human rights.
William Hardiker is a journalist and writer living in Australia.