There's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a monster.
Richard Nixon was, too. Both men committed many crimes against humanity. Among his atrocities, Hussein waged a bloody eight-year war against Iran, gased the Kurds, and even tortured his own people. Nixon covered up the burglary of Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel, bombed Cambodia (thus propelling the murderous Khmer Rouge into power) and ordered the removal of democratically elected Salvador Allende from the presidency of Chile, which led to Allende's assassination and the slaughter of millions. It's impossible to know who is responsible for murdering more people.
Hussein is now dead, executed for his crimes. Nixon left this world a hero. He was pardoned for his heinous deeds by former president Gerald Ford, who recently passed away. Ford was being praised for that pardon and buried with full honors, even as Hussein was being led to his death. American presidents decide which dictators pay for their sins, and which do not.
The man responsible for Hussein's demise, President George Bush, "justified" the invasion and bombing of Iraq by saying that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was somehow connected to 9/11. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Hussein had nothing to do with the tragic events of September 11, 2001. How many people (both Iraqis and Americans alike) have died as a result of Bush's lies?
Bush is not facing charges that he committed crimes against humanity. He is not being impeached. In fact, newly elected Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says that impeachment is not even on the table. At this point, it looks as if Bush will walk away from the White House in two years without ever having answered for his many lies and deceits. Not to mention the deaths (so far) of 3,000 American servicemembers and countless Iraqis. Just like Nixon left office without ever being held accountable for what he did.
It's obvious: Hussein's execution was not about justice. It wasn't about ridding the world of a dictator. The U.S. has supported many dictators. Especially in Latin America. There was Anastasio Somoza Garcia in Nicaragua, General Maximilio Hernandez Martinez in El Salvador, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and General Efrain Rios Mont in Guatamala, just to name a few. Hussein's downfall was engineered by George Bush and company for their own purposes, not the least of which was control of the oil in that country. It may even have something to do with a longstanding Bush family grudge against Saddam.
In the early 80's back when he was vice president, Bush Sr. tried to get along with Hussein, even advising him on the war with Iran. In 1990, Saddam invaded the oil-rich Kuwait, which pissed off Bush Sr. who was then president. He responded with the six-month Gulf War. Saddam's invasion was stopped. In 1993, Hussein reportedly tried an assassination attempt against Bush Sr. and his wife when they were visiting Kuwait.
There may be many reasons that George Bush wanted Hussein dead, but justice was not one of them.
Tommi Avicolli Mecca is a radical, working-class, southern Italian, queer performer, writer and activist whose work can be seen at www.avicollimecca.com and www.myspace.com/peacenikssf.