Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bush, the anti-Midas

David Seaton's News Links
Midas, mythical king of Phrygia was known for turning everything he touched into gold. George W. Bush seems to have the opposite faculty of turning everything he touches into "excrément" (that's French for shit). Bush and his Straussian friends, with their curious celebration of "manliness" have taken America's image of its own masculinity (think: Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart) and trashed it beyond recognition. For his latest trick Bush has managed to convert a genocidal dictator, Saddam Hussein, into the hero of a Hemingway short story; a lion surrounded by jackals. "Grace under pressure" was the Hemingway obsession. In the presence of death, pretense evaporates and what remains is truth. The truth is that Saddam died very well. Bush, poor fool, gave him that opportunity and Saddam had the chops to make the most of it. Are we permitted to doubt that Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney... and yes, even the boy emperor himself, would ever go to the gallows with such stoic dignity, would ever die so bravely and so well as Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti? DS
Hijacking Eid and Hanging Saddam - IraqSlogger
Abstract: Saddam's hanging at the hands of chubby Iraqi men wearing ski masks is likely to be perceived by many as an American execution and as part of a trend of American missteps contributing to sectarian tensions in Iraq and the region. The trial of Saddam was viewed by detractors as an event stage-managed by the Americans. According to Human Rights Watch, the Iraqi judges and lawyers involved in prosecuting Saddam were ill prepared and relied on their American advisers. American minders shut off the microphones and ordered the translators to halt whenever they disapproved of what was being said by the defendants. The important Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha was due to begin over the weekend. For Sunnis it began on Saturday the 30th of December. For Shias it begins on Sunday the 31st. According to tradition in Mecca, battles are suspended during the Hajj period so that pilgrims can safely march to Mecca. This practice even predated Islam and Muslims preserved this tradition, calling this period 'Al Ashur al Hurm,' or the months of truce. By hanging Saddam on the Sunni Eid the Americans and the Iraqi government were in effect saying that only the Shia Eid had legitimacy. Sunnis were irate that Shia traditions were given primacy (as they are more and more in Iraq these days) and that Shias disrespected the tradition and killed Saddam on this day. Because the Iraqi constitution itself prohibits executions from being carried out on Eid, the Iraqi government had to officially declare that Eid did not begin until Sunday the 31st. It was a striking decision, virtually declaring that Iraq is now a Shia state. Eid al Adha is the festival of the sacrifice of the sheep. Some may perceive it as the day Saddam was sacrificed.(...) One thing that is clear, is that the death of Saddam did not bring closure or peace to Iraq. Sunnis are now gathering at Saddam's grave, demonstrators are now showing his iconic image and revenge has been threatened. President George Bush declared his nemesis' death "a milestone" and it may just be the clearest message that is there will be no mercy for Sunnis in a Shia and Kurdish dominated Iraq. READ IT ALL (hat to Juan Cole)

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