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The sentencing of Saddam Hussein

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by Craig Murray

I hold no brief for Saddam Hussein. He is a gruesome dictator who is much better out of power, and a dangerous man who is much better in captivity. I am nonetheless sorry he will be murdered by the State. Iraq has seen quite enough death already, and like so many of the others, this will merely engender more. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died already due to the Bush/Blair invasion. The vast majority of them were totally innocent. If you kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, you are bound to kill the odd guilty one from time to time, whether by accident or design. That is the measure of the Bush/Blair achievement.

This death, just like that of al-Zaqarwi, will be hailed as a "Turning-point" by the invaders, their leaders, puppets and media spokesmen. So was the capture of Saddam, so were the elections, so was the formation of the government, so was the disbanding of the army. It is unsurprising that there have been so many - a downward spiral is just an unending circle of turning points, and Iraq has been embarked on a helter-skelter ride to Hell. Given what came after him, Bush/Blair have achieved the near impossible feat of making Saddam Hussein look like a comparatively better leader for the Iraqi people.

The trial itself was a political charade with the Americans as puppeteers. Judges were repeatedly changed if they showed any sign of independent thought. Defence lawyers who looked too effective were simply murdered. The TV cameras were turned off on the show trial if it got sticky for the US - with an American hand on the button. And the ultimate in stage management, the verdict was handed down two days before the US mid-term elections. Who honestly does not believe that timing was contrived?

I am all in favour of Dictators and War Criminals being punished. I wish Saddam had received a fair trial, and think the Hague would have been much better - he would have been seen to get a fair trial, and I am pretty sure a fair guilty verdict. We should not lose sight of the need to hold justice over the mighty. Bush and Blair are responsible for the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state, against the wishes of the UN Security Council. They have on their hands the blood of hundreds of thousands of people. I live hope that I will see the day when they are in the dock.

I will still be against the death penalty.

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