Saddam Hussein will appear before an Iraqi tribunal today, Bloomberg Europe is reporting.
This is the first move since we left town a little ahead of schedule a couple days ago. Close associates say L Paul Bremer returned the keys to his palace room, but "probably won't be getting all of his security deposit back," as the country is roundly regarded to be materially non-improved over it's pre-invasion state. Tough luck there, Jerry.
But fear not, Hussein's court case is a chance to turn over a new leaf. According to the Iraqi Condi--I mean National Security Advisor, the courtroom drama would, "demonstrate to the outside world that we in the new Iraq are going to be an example of what the new Iraq is all about.''
That's right, tomorrow's court hearing is the official launch event for the new Soverign Iraq. Let freedom reign:
The venue for the hearing hasn't been revealed and only a few journalists are being allowed to attend. Video footage of the proceedings will be made available to the media, the U.S.-led military coalition said.
Hmmm... that's curious. You'd think that if this were really a demonstration to the world they would, you know, invite the world to come and see, not just stand around waiting for some dude to bring back a report on what was going on. If this is an Iraqi trial demonstrating the vurtue of the new Iraq, then why is the Pentagon one doling out access and video?
The likely stock answer is that it's about security. I don't think I buy it. For starters, it's not like you're going to be able to keep the locaiton of the trial secret. If Insurgents want to shell the thing, they'll do it, ok? They shot mortars into the Green zone every week. It's not like you can really stop them. Security through obscurity doesn't meet the military standard.
The likely second answer is they don't want to give Saddam a pedistal to grandstand on. Ok, but hold up; don't the people over there hate this guy? I mean, wasn't he a fucking dictator who starved them, sent them into a senseless war with Iran, gassed them, let his psychopathic sons run free in the streets of Baghdad and generally make every moment of life a living hell? I think he was; so why not let people see the man on trial unfiltered? By all accounts, his reign was almost as dependent on media manipulation as the Bush Gang's, so putting him on the spot and out of costume would be just the thing to let the people of Iraq see him as mortal and get over the whole thing. Maybe that Irish reporter can grill him too; that should finish the job.
No. My nose tickles and what I smell is fear. The CPA people know they've screwed the pooch. No matter what the people in Iraq thought of Saddam after the invasion, they mostly dislike the US now too, and they're starting to remember the good old days too. This is scary for the US.
Look, our poeople know Hussein's a powerful figure, and they know they fucked it up. They're afraid he might touch a chord. After all, this is the guy who ran the country singlehanded for about 30 years. He took a beuraucratic state party apparatus and turned it into his little Stalinist playground. Sure that's fucked up, but ask any honest historian what the Russian people thought of Stalin. There were a lot of people who really liked Uncle Joe, dispicable man that he was. Our people over there, Ambassador Negroponte and whoever else they've got over there pulling strings and cutting deals, they're afraid some of that old Hussein flavor might make a comeback.
For Saddam's part, it's his only out. If he's not broken out of jail by crack Republican Guardsmen or popular revolt, he's going to be put to death. All he can do is call for the people to rise up. Only card the sleazy mofo has to play, and don't doubt that he'll do it.
And that, my friends, is why we've got to let him do it on TV. He's got to call for it, and the people of Iraq need to turn his ass down. We need to line up a string of the most poetic, folk-hero, neighborhood-leader Iraqi citizens to get up there and shoot him full of fucking holes. (update: I'm speaking metaphorically here; they should shoot the idea of his appeal to the people of Iraq full of holes. Not his body.) We need truth and reconcilliation in Iraq, and that means the people there deciding to bury their cruel old master for themselves.
If they can do that, they'll soon have no need for us. That day can't some soon enough.