The United States has no real friends. The United States only has "interests." With the exceptions of Number 10 Downing Street and the militant Israeli leadership, it’s all business.
Not only are friends people who care about you, but also they are those on whom you can depend when times are tough. The maintenance of friendship requires goodwill and honor. Alliances can be made between nations to address enemies in common and to serve economic goals.
Should a nation abandon goodwill, honor, economic integrity and rational defense plans, that nation risks losing friends and allies.
Much has been written about the execution of Saddam Hussein. Soon he will fall into little understood pages of seldom read history. I find profoundly disgusting the closing of his chapter in President George W. Bush’s "Mission Accomplished."
Don’t misunderstand me. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator whose execution may well have been deserved. Unfortunately, the same country that installed Saddam, a country currently led by another vile excuse for a human being, orchestrated Saddam’s downfall and death. Sadly, there are plenty squabbling, ruthless men eager to take Saddam’s place.
However, the manner of his capture, trial and termination is beyond reproach for a nation, which swaggers about pretending to be a beacon of justice. Has justice been served? Or, was Saddam essentially "whacked" by one powerful crime family asserting its strength over a boastful, operator encroaching on forbidden turf. No offense Saddam. It was only business.
Control of "interests" is paramount. America’s one-time friend and ally, Saddam Hussein, became dispensable when he ceased to uphold his part of the bargain. Saddam’s failed war against another U.S. demon, Iran, his 1990 invasion into Kuwait threatening U.S. oil interests, and his alleged plot to kill former president George H. W. Bush, sealed the fate of "Don" Hussein. He had to go. He had outlived his usefulness. It was in the best "interests" of The Bush Dynasty. Today, the interests of the Bush clan take precedence over those of the U.S. With some media encouragement, Bush runs the US government like a "family" business.
After a decade of carefully executed demonizing, it was easy to sell a gullible U.S. public on the mission to remove Saddam. Never mind the fact that many of Saddam’s shockingly oppressive murders of Iraqi citizens were sanctioned by the White House which chose to turn a blind eye as long as Saddam served "American" interests.
When he became less useful, Saddam was portrayed as "Public Enemy Number One." Overnight, Saddam’s use of torture, Geneva Convention—banned substances on his own people, and his possession of and intentions of using weapons of mass destruction were the biggest crimes against humanity. What changed? Hadn’t those crimes always been heinous?
A good, old-fashioned war was convened, the "mission" was declared "accomplished," and the bad guy was captured, locked up and made to face "justice."
No WMDs were found, no rose petals were strewn on the path of the triumphant "liberators," no democracy formed in Iraq and no one in Iraq believes they are safer today than they were before Bush’s March 2003 invasion.
Saddam was subjected to a show trial more in keeping with "Uncle Joe" Stalin. Then the US military handed over "physical control" of Saddam to the Iraqi government which entity proceeded in thirty minutes to lynch him. No blood on U.S. hands! What corrupt backdoor deals and secrets have been silenced with him? We’ll never know. Looks like someone thought it was best to play it safe and make sure Saddam, the rat, didn’t squeal. The interests of The Dynasty must be protected… oil.
In a pathetic last-minute attempt to stave off execution, Saddam’s lawyers actually resorted to a desperate plea for mercy to the United States! Unbelievable. Had they not read the statistics on Texas executions during George W. Bush’s tenure as governor? Was George’s reaction another mocking "please don’t kill me?" Not only does George talk to God but also he thinks he is… the Old Testament God of vengeance. This is what is so revolting.
Bush has used the furor about the execution to distract the media from the real issue at hand: his plan to ignore the Iraq Study Group Report and to escalate the war. In the past Bush has used Saddam to justify a variety of crimes. Even the Hussein verdict date was "rigged" to help Bush’s party in the recent mid-term congressional elections. How will Bush function without Saddam? Go after Osama bin Laden?
Well, Saddam is gone. For Bush interests, Saddam dead may be more dangerous than Saddam alive. For the Sunni minority in Iraq, the memory of Saddam may become a rallying point. In the Guardian newspaper, Brian Brivati argues that Saddam’s "death may well come to be a defining moment in which the terrorists are given their symbolic martyr to avenge. An evil genocidal dictator dies and, in death, perhaps becomes more powerful than he ever was in life."
Being the leader of Iraq has rather lost its charm. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamel al-Maliki wants to depart the office as soon as possible. Would you want that job?
Eventually another version of Saddam Hussein will gain sufficient dictatorial control of Iraq to end the civil war through the exercise of another iron fist aided by popular, secular support. As long as American interests are protected, will Washington turn a blind eye to a new Iraqi dictator’s brio and send over yet another envoy eager to shake the hand of the ruler of the new regime? Most likely.
Ironically, that would be a happy ending to the Bush family adventures in Iraq. Less salubrious prospects such as a protracted Sunni-Shia fight to the death could spill over into and unsettle other Middle East countries. And that would be bad for business.
Meanwhile, woe to America’s few remaining "friends and allies" who fail to serve U.S. and Bush Family "interests."
Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.
Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.