Workers Vanguard No. 883

5 January 2007


Imperialists Execute Their Former Henchman Saddam Hussein

DECEMBER 31—In the early morning yesterday, the hangman’s noose choked the life out of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, onetime tool of the imperialists. George W. Bush, who has the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on his hands, declared, “Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial—the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.” The “fair trial” was a show trial orchestrated by the imperialist butchers who have raped Iraq and turned it into living hell. It was presided over by a regime out of whose police and military offices run death squads that slaughter Sunnis, as well as criminal gangs that terrorize the entire population. This execution of the former head of the Iraqi state by Washington’s puppet government was nothing more than barbaric “victor’s justice.”

While Kurdish leaders wanted to put Hussein back in the dock for the mass killing of Kurds, Shi’ite prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki rushed the execution so that it would take place on the morning when Sunnis begin celebrating Id al-Adha, a Muslim holiday when executions are prohibited. As a calculated insult to the Sunni population, the Shi’ite judge who presided over the “appeals court” that upheld the death sentence sneered, “The official Id in Iraq is Sunday,” referring to the day that Shi’ites begin celebrating. The masked executioners further tormented Hussein as he tried to pray by calling out the name “Moktada, Moktada, Moktada,” referring to Shi’ite militia leader Moktada al-Sadr. With Iraq spiraling deeper into civil war between Shi’ite and Sunni Arabs, more than 70 people were killed in separate car bombings in predominantly Shi’ite areas in the hours after Hussein’s hanging.

With ghoulish glee, CNN and other American television networks have been repeatedly playing video images released by the Iraqi government showing Saddam Hussein being led to the gallows, and today’s New York Times, the U.S. rulers’ “newspaper of record,” plastered four separate images of the execution on its front page. The whole obscene march toward Hussein’s execution, an all-but-inevitable outcome of his seizure by U.S. forces three years ago, had the markings of a lynch mob. As Marxists, we are opposed on principle to the barbaric death penalty, everywhere.

The three years that have passed since Hussein’s arrest have only underlined what we wrote in “Imperialists Gloat over Capture of Former Henchman Saddam Hussein” (WV No. 816, 26 December 2003):

“The architects of imperialist war and mass murder in the White House and Pentagon and 10 Downing Street hail the capture of Saddam Hussein as a great day for ‘world peace’ and ‘justice’ while they intensify their brutal war against the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein was Washington’s bloody bastard. He was Washington’s close ally and client while he massacred tens of thousands of Kurdish people. He was a mainstay of U.S. imperialist policy in the Near East while he arrested, tortured and executed thousands of Iraqi Communists, workers’ leaders, leftists, ethnic minorities and religious opponents, and waged eight years of bloody war with predominantly Shi’ite Iran. But when Hussein slipped his leash and made a grab for Kuwait in 1990, this former ally and flunkey for U.S. imperialism in the Near East became Washington’s all-purpose bogeyman.

“Now the main enemy of the world’s working people, the U.S. imperialist state—which killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which butchered over three million Koreans, which burned the flesh off Vietnamese villagers with napalm, which wreaked destruction in the former Yugoslavia in the 1999 war in the Balkans—just had its Iraqi stooges set up a tribunal which will likely try Saddam Hussein. This shameless hypocrisy should steel the resolve of all genuine fighters for social justice to sweep away the whole rotting system of imperialist capitalism and its lackeys and to create societies where those who labor rule. When workers tribunals of a victorious socialist revolution in the United States try America’s capitalist exploiters for their crimes against the oppressed masses of the world, black America, labor, immigrants and the poor, and when Iraqi Kurds, leftists and workers rip the oil wealth out of the hands of the military occupiers and judge them and their former henchmen, then we can start talking about justice.”