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January 06, 2007

Saddam: From Monster to Martyr?

"It takes real genius to create a martyr out of Saddam Hussein."  Patrick Cockburn, writing at the British newspaper, The Independent, ponders how Bush and Blair could have been so stupid. 

Here is a man dyed deep with the blood of his own people who refused to fight for him during the United States-led invasion three-and-a-half years ago. His tomb in his home village of Awja is already becoming a place of pilgrimage for the five million Sunni Arabs of Iraq who are at the core of the uprising.

As soon as I heard that Saddam was going to be hung on a Sunni holy day, the start of Eid al-Adha, I knew we were in trouble.  Two weeks earlier, I had posted an article about the historical schism between the Sunnis and Shias and noted that 85% of the Muslims in the world are Sunni.  Thus for the Shia leaderships in Iraq to hang Saddam on a Sunni holy day was a horrible mistake.

Then came the terrible video of his actual hanging, which I never watched.  Just hearing about it was bad enough.  You have to know that Sunnis, the world over, watched that video over and over and got more and more steamed.  The implications are likely to be horrendous and with us for years to come.

Cockburn considers the hanging a continuation of a set of decisions that have made the situation worse with each passing month.  He continues:

Saddam should not have been a hard act to follow. It was not inevitable that the country should revert to Hobbesian anarchy. At first the US and Britain did not care what Iraqis thought. Their victory over the Iraqi army - and earlier over the Taliban in Afghanistan - had been too easy. They installed a semi-colonial regime. By the time they realised that the guerrilla war was serious it was too late.

Hat tip to Wolcott

Posted by Lynn Allen on January 6, 2007 at 01:34 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink

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