Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein Brought to Justice - The Indian Response

In an official statement, the Indian Government has expressed disappointment over the execution of Saddam Hussein. How many are willing to bet that the statement of disappointment is due to internal reasons (read this as an attempt to play to internal compulsions) rather than any actual concerns over how the reconciliation in Iraq between the Shias and the Sunnis may get affected. Previously, I believe that the Government also expressed concern that this may end up being perceived as victor's justice.

What are the grounds on which the Government of India expressed concern over the execution? I am reading a news story which quoted the statement by the External Affairs Minister. A small excerpt captures the main point of the statement:

"We hope that the unfortunate event will not affect the process of reconciliation, restoration of peace and normalcy in Iraq," he said.

The government had earlier expressed opposition to Hussein's execution and cautioned that no steps should be taken which could delay restoration of peace in the troubled country.

This government has plenty of people well versed in the details of international affairs, so one would expect that they will know far more about the situation in Iraq than what this bland statement conveys. There can be no reason for them to not know the amount of negative passion which he brings out among the majority of his countrymen. They would certainly know the extent of his brutalities. In fact, the crime for which he has been sentenced has been the summary torture of hundreds and killings of 148 men and boys after an assassination attempt on his life. Even in a country under a military dictator such as Pakistan, assassination attempts on the life of the president have been followed by court cases and civilized behavior, not by the full scale sweeping pick up of all adult males in the vicinity and the summary trial and execution of them. Such an brutality was made more famous by the Nazis. Secondly, the transitional government and thus the court has been accepted by India as a valid authority, so this objection to their justice seems a bit misplaced.

If you want to read more, here is a detailed life history on Wikipedia. Saddam did a few good things as well for his people, but that was quickly over-shadowed by his self-interest.

People tend to forget that Saddam could be classified as one of the mass killers of the century, just a shade below Stalin, Hitler and Mao. He is certainly equal in level with other dictators such as Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and the like. From start, Saddam's regime had been a brutal regime, ruling the country with the help of a small clique and terrorizing everybody else. It started with a show of force where people were picked out in a televised party meeting and twenty-one quickly executed. He killed other sects in Iraq such as the Shias and the Kurds with immense brutality and committed mass murder. If there is indeed such a thing as reconciliation, the way in which he was tried by his countrymen from his own country's legal service and then sentenced was as fair as it could be. It will bring closure to the majority of his countrymen who suffered immensely under his rule.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 7:43 AM