The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The execution of Saddam Hussein

Jan 8, 2007

Declaring that the execution of Saddam Hussein was “an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy,” Bush nonetheless was forced to admit that it “will not end the violence in Iraq.” In other words, Bush admitted that the U.S. government does not intend to end the war.

Saddam Hussein was executed for the death of 142 people in one village. His execution means there will be no examination into all the other deaths, in particular the hundreds of thousands he decreed as the direct and official agent of imperialism.

Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq through intrigue and the use of force, with support from the representatives of imperialism. He collaborated with the Shah of Iran and the U.S. in carrying out fierce repression against the Kurds. After the Islamic revolution in Iran, all the great powers and their Arab supporters gave Saddam Hussein military and financial aid to unleash a war against Iran in 1980. Hussein’s official reason for attacking Iran was to take back disputed territory, but his clear goal was to bring about the fall of the Iranian regime. The war lasted eight years and caused a million deaths, mainly among Iranians, but also Iraqis.

During all that time, the U.S. and the other big powers left Saddam Hussein free to assassinate his opponents, which everyone knew and could see. At the time, he was presented as the “defender of democracy and the free world,” confronting Iranian barbarism.

In 1991, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The elder Bush and the other imperialist leaders reproached Saddam Hussein for demanding repayment for his good and loyal services to them. For a dozen years, they waged war on the Iraqi people with sanctions that caused hundreds of thousands of victims. But they left Saddam Hussein in power. In fact, they depended on Hussein to keep the Kurds, the Shiites and even part of the Sunnis in check – with the deaths of many thousands more.

When Bush and his allies again invaded Iraq in 2003, it certainly wasn’t to “reestablish democracy,” but only to satisfy their appetite for Iraqi oil wells. That’s what sealed the fate of Saddam Hussein – not his monstrous crimes.

The great powers didn’t want these episodes brought out in any trial. They wanted only a caricature of a trial, with very limited accusations. They could care less about legal niceties or the assassination of three of Saddam’s lawyers during the trial. The U.S. wanted a rapid execution, cutting short any new trial capable of shedding light on their complicity and their overt or hidden agreements with Saddam Hussein over the decades.

Certainly there were poor Iraqi Shiites and Kurds, who had relatives ruthlessly gassed and exterminated, who rejoiced at the death of the dictator. But those who ordered this execution, like the ones who carried it out, are their worst enemies and the ones who will massacre them in the future. The pretended justice which was applied in Iraq was the law of the strongest, the dictatorship of imperialism which imposes its order on so many of the oppressed, certainly in Iraq, but also in many other places. That imperialist order is the real criminal, and at the end of the day it is responsible for all the crimes of Saddam Hussein and his butchers.