Saddam Hangs…Video at 11
Posted by PintofStout on January 4, 2007
A very important lesson in the nature of government, power, and justice was played out last week. It also shined a spotlight on the golden rule; namely, he who has the gold makes the rules. Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging in a sloppy, rushed operation last Saturday morning (Baghdad time) for the killing of lots of people after a failed assassination attempt. There are several other crimes he was still supposed to stand trail for, but his guilt in those cases seems less important now that he’s dead. But what makes Saddam any different than the murderers now in charge? The answer is that they are now at the reigns of government and he is not.
I contemplated this difference a few weeks ago when I wrote about ‘Exceptional Government.’ When a particular action is condemned when performed by mere individuals, the group of individuals who proclaim themselves as a government go about it without perceived repercussion. Could it be the projection of power that halts weaker entities from condemning the government? Bloggers and pundits can condemn state actions until they’re blue in the face (probably not from being mostly drowned on a waterboard; built in the USA!), but what is to actually be done? Our words don’t do much to stop the state(1).
Government is defined by force. They claim to stop others from using force by using force themselves. But a sickness can’t be cured with more of that sickness. The actions perpetuated by the state are all illegal if done outside of that fantasy. Saddam’s execution is a perfect example of this. Was he removed from power and immediately tried for the murders he was eventually hung for? No, because he was part of the fantasy at the time. He was still recognized by “civilized” governments who entered into negotiations with him. When he was ousted from the position of favor within the fantasy, his acts became crimes and he was punished.
Ironically, it could be said he was ousted from power due to an attempt at the life of George H.W. Bush. To bring him to “justice,” G.W. Bush has slaughtered tens of thousands without regard to perceived guilt or innocence. Saddam was hanged – brace for the irony – for killing a bunch of people without regard to guilt or innocence after a failed assassination attempt on his life. Is G.W. Bush next on the gallows? No, not while he’s still in the fantasy.
The bearing of scale in acts of the state versus the acts of individuals are also counter-intuitive. Consider a single serial killer killing –gasp! – a dozen people. That would be a horrible crime. Consider also any war in which hundreds or thousands are killed. That is apparently just history. Is it the intimacy of the one that makes it worse or is it the size of the group perpetuating it? It is the same with stealing, corruption, torture, you name it.
Perhaps it was justice to find Saddam at the end of a rope – in lynching style – at the hands of “legitimacy.” Most would think so. I would disagree. Victims are still paying for their victimhood and a new set of prowlers is stalking them. The video of Saddam’s execution, from what I’ve heard (I’ve not and don’t plan on seeing it), exposes the hidden face of any government. It was a mob, a violent mob that killed without remorse, no matter how much he deserved it. It could have just as easily been you or I.
(1) What our words do, though, is build our numbers. When a large enough number of people are fed up with the hoax of state – freed from the matrix, if you will – then that group starts to equal the power and influence of the other and something real can be done. Changing minds in a meaningful way is rather hard in the face of the giant parade balloon of government, which appears large and powerful but can be ravished by a small breeze. With the exception of Dick Cheney the order-givers in the government, by themselves, are pretty much impotent against even a modest group of determined opposition, and when enough of the military (including our militarized police force) decide to stop licking the hand of their masters, that’s just what they’ll be: by themselves.