Nov 13, 2006
On Sunday, November 5, Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, was condemned to death by a special tribunal in Baghdad for the assassination of 148 people in the village of Doujail in the year 1982.
Saddam Hussein, who began his career as a bounty hunter for the Baath party, then became head of the police on his rise to power. Finally, he exercised a personal dictatorship between 1979 to 2003. He ordered the execution of all opponents, justified the massacre of entire villages and populations and unleashed terror against the people of Iraq during 24 years. Under these circumstances, one wonders why this tribunal tried him for “only” 148 assassinations and not for the totality of his crimes – that is to say, those carried out during all of his political career.
But this tribunal, like the government and the entire Iraqi state apparatus, is the creation of the American occupation army. And the leaders of the United States, like those of the other imperialist powers, don’t want to recall the past.
Not only did the imperialist countries not do anything to stop Saddam Hussein from establishing his dictatorship, they sold him arms, they bought Iraqi oil, and they established fruitful commercial ties and friendly diplomatic exchanges with his regime.
Beginning in 1980, the United States, France and England supported Iraq in its war against Iran. Some 750 American companies were authorized by the U.S. government to sell arms to Hussein. These same companies are the ones that made still more money equipping the U.S. army in its two wars against and its occupation of Iraq.
The dictator who is condemned today served the interests of imperialism. He was given free rein to bear down upon his own people, even when this meant his hands were bathed in blood.
It was only later, with the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, that Saddam Hussein was declared to be public enemy #1. Even then, the U.S. government left him in place after the war so that he could maintain order in Iraq through additional massacres.
President Bush declared that the conviction of Saddam Hussein carries Iraq through the passage “from a tyrannical regime to a country of law.” But Iraq has never known a “rule of law” other than the law of the strongest. And the strongest, at least up through today, has always been imperialism, and particularly the oil companies and the arms merchants. Their rule has been imposed through the intermediary of Saddam Hussein when he was in power; or under the direct surveillance of the U.S. army now that he is in prison.