Monday, January 15, 2007

Are the quick executions in Iraq a way to save those who served in the Reagan administration?

Today two more of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants were executed, for the same crime he was, the killing of 136 men and boys in the village of Dujail.

And even with the eyes of the world on it, after the hanging of Saddam showed how little control the al-Maliki government has over its own security forces, they still managed to botch today's execution, with the drop being too long (resulting in the decapitation of one of the executed men). There are precise formulas for figuring this out, which is why there has not been such a mistake made in the United States since the turn of the last century (although with lethal injection replacing hanging and other methods of execution in the U.S. that record is likely to remain intact.) But hey, given the ineptness of the Bush administration it is only logical that the President still expresses confidence in the five-thumbs fumbling of al-Maliki's government, suggesting that somehow they are the answer to the problems of Iraq.

Beyond the apalling incompetence though, there is a darker question that shows itself through these rushed executions. It is whether those in charge even want to follow up on the rest of the trial. In particular the gassing of the Kurds.

It is no secret that the U.S. helped supply Saddam Hussein with the components and knowlege that helped him build chemical weapons in the 1980's. The Reagan administration was very helpful to Saddam in his war against Iran, providing him with everything from satellite intelligence photos to actively taking part in a secret naval war with Iran in the Persian Gulf. And most damning, it has been alleged that members of the Reagan administration, possibly including Vice President George H.W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, knew of and consented to Saddam's use of poison gas-- for the first time since such weapons were banned after World War I-- against the Iranians and later against the Kurds.

It may be that the quick executions in response to the Dujail incident have been prompted by a desire on the part of the al-Maliki government and their supporters to not even get to the Kurdish case-- or if they do, to make sure that anyone who might be able to confirm American support for the gassing of the Kurds is safely 'silent.'

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