officials are denying that the intent of showing captive Saddam
being poked, prodded, and shorn of his locks was to humiliate
the fallen Iraqi tyrant. But other supporters of this war
openly gloated at the sight of the lion de-maned, as the San
Francisco Chronicle reported:
Lerman, Israel director for the American Jewish Committee,
said: 'The humiliation of Saddam in the video at the press
conference carried a very important message. Here is the great
braggart, with his whole fantasy world, disintegrating in
front of us.'"
was left to the Vatican, in the person of Cardinal Renato
Martino, to defend
felt pity to see this man destroyed, (the military) looking
at his teeth as if he were a cow. They could have spared us
these pictures,' he said. "Seeing him like this, a man in
his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a
sense of compassion for him."
New York Times reports
Rummy's contention that "no aspect of Mr. Hussein's handling
came even 'up on the edge' of violating the Geneva conventions,"
but that is completely wrong. The Geneva Conventions plainly prohibit:
upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading
anyone in the West doubts that this display was meant to humiliate
and degrade the defeated Iraqi dictator, then the Iraqis present
at Paul Bremer's press conference the other day, during which
the video of Saddam's "medical examination" was shown for
the first time, had no doubts. Just listen
to their Banshee screeching and cries of savage triumph
as Saddam is ritually abused.
was a cold, calculated act of sadism. Choosing to broadcast
images of a werewolfish Saddam being shorn of his beard, his
mouth opened and examined – for what? Drugs? Bombs? Cavities?
– was part and parcel of the Americans' "shock and awe" campaign. A phony
"medical examination" became a symbolic subjugation in which
Saddam represented an entire people. As Egyptian writer Sayyid
felt extremely humiliated. I felt it was not only a humiliation
of Arabs but of all humanity. By shaving his beard, a symbol
of virility in Iraq and in the Arab world, the Americans committed
an act that symbolizes humiliation in our region, where getting
shaved by one's enemy means robbing him of his will. It's
also a humiliation for all Arab leaders and a message telling
them that he who does not enter the poultry yard of the Americans
will experience the same fate."
Saddam is displayed like a wild animal in captivity, the braying
triumphalism of the War Party marks a low point, not only
in our conduct of the war, but in the annals of modern military
history. I have every confidence, however, that we'll go much
lower before the occupation is over.
getting uglier and uglier. This is the theme song, the Zeitgeist
of the post-9/11 era: a triumphant braying, a sound halfway
between a jeer and a cheer. It's the Muzak that accompanies
the show trials, the propagandistic "news" coverage, the Orwellian
hate campaigns directed at war critics. No decent human being
can long exist in such a poisonous atmosphere without choking.
the gods for the Vatican, the voice of reason and ethical
clarity in world that is not merely morally adrift, but
Satanic. We may live in a pagan age, where power
is the chief god in the American pantheon, but there are some
who still uphold the old ways of our Christian forefathers,
who afforded dignity and humanity to defeated
enemies. It's the right thing to do, as well as a smart
strategy. But that is not the course we are taking in Iraq,
where vulgar chest-beating and Israeli-style
tactics are the order
of the day.
Americans are constantly claiming that they want to win the
"hearts and minds"
of the Iraqis. But that's a polite fiction now entirely debunked
by the release of this footage of Saddam's treatment at American
hands. If you're trying to win over the defeated, why release
what looks like an S&M video, with the fallen Iraqi leader
in the role of the victim?
truth is that the U.S. occupation is not about winning
hearts and minds, no more than it is about implanting "democracy."
In the wake of our Pyrrhic
victory, the President announced his "forward
strategy" for the Middle East – a clear indication that
Iraq is considered a forward base in what will be an ongoing
military campaign in the region. As the former Mossad chieftain
Danny Yatom put
would be very worried if I were (Syrian President) Bashir
Assad tonight. President Bush has just signed a law which
allows him to take drastic steps against Syria if it refuses
to accede to the American request to ... cease its support
for Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. ... The Americans
are showing their determination. Despite more than 400 dead,
they are still there and they intend to act. That should worry
war was always about advancing Israel's
agenda in the Middle East, with the mythical "weapons
of mass destruction" merely a pretext, a Potemkin village
of disinformation behind which the real motive for the invasion
was concealed. The 200 or so soldiers who have died in Iraq, and the
thousands seriously wounded or otherwise disabled, were sacrificed
to make the world – or, at least, the Middle East – safe for
Defense Secretary Douglas Feith, Defense Board
member and prominent war profiteer Richard Perle,
and David Wurmser – newly appointed
to a high position on Vice President Dick Cheney's staff –
are among the authors of a 1996 strategic plan developed for
then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for
Securing the Realm" – that proposed an effort to take
out Iraq as a way to get at the ultimate prize: Syria. The
road to Damascus, the authors averred, runs through Baghdad.
of the "Syria Accountability Act," pushed by the Democrats
such as Tom Lantos and Nancy
Pelosi, recently signed into law by a somewhat
reluctant President Bush, marks a new stage in the escalation
of the Mideast conflict. This Act is the prelude to a new
round of warmongering, provocations, and bullying – possibly
leading up to the culmination of the "Clean Break" plan, as
the pressure is taken off of Israel not only from Syria but
isolated, and finally targeted for destruction, the Syrians are next on
the Americans' hit list, as composed by the not
so hidden hand of the neoconservatives, such as
Perle and Feith. The same cabal that lied us into war in Iraq
is intent on luring us into making war on Syria, and the capture
of Saddam Hussein could be a key part of this scenario.
report in Ha'aretz:
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein could be offered a deal in which
he would give his captors information on if and how he hid
weapons of mass destruction and if he smuggled some of them
into Syria. In exchange, he would face life imprisonment and
not be executed for war crimes, senior Iraqis attending a
conference here on the future of the region have hinted."
Syria, and we'll spare your life. Will Saddam take the deal?
The President is already proclaiming that Saddam deserves
the death penalty. Throughout a good part of his career
as a tin-pot despot, Saddam played cards dealt to him by
the U.S. He has nothing to lose by playing one last hand.
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