Saddam’s Execution — a Grim Tale

The execution of Saddam Hussein is retold in a grim article from the New York Times that appeared in the U.S. on December 31. The story includes a strange exchange of curses between Hussein and one of the guards present. No video of the actual execution has been released, the opening of the trap door. And that’s for the best. I have no doubt that Drudge will try to find it and air it if it exists. Or Fox News.

But we don’t need to see that.

The account in the NYTimes says volumes:

At 6:10 a.m., the trapdoor swung open. He seemed to fall a good distance, but he died swiftly. After just a minute, his body was still. His eyes still were open but he was dead. Despite the scarf, the rope cut a gash into his neck.

His body stayed hanging for another nine minutes as those in attendance broke out in prayer, praising the Prophet, at the death of a dictator.

Iraq No Better Off Today

An editorial from Friday’s New York Times talks about the rush to execute Saddam Hussein, and suggests that Iraq is no better off today than it was under the former dictator. The reports are:

This week began with a story of British and Iraqi soldiers storming a police station that hid a secret dungeon in Basra. More than 100 men, many of them viciously tortured, were rescued from almost certain execution. It might have been a story from the final days of Baathist rule in March 2003, when British and American troops entered Basra believing they were liberating the subjugated Shiite south. But it was December 2006, and the wretched men being liberated were prisoners of the new Iraqi Shiite authorities.

These tortures are being committed by a government our soldiers fought to establish.

Turn the page.

Saddam’s Dead — One of America’s Troops Get Quote of the Day

With the death of Saddam Hussein, many are worried about the propensity for more violence in Iraq — and here in the States. The Associated Press reports at least 56 people died and scores were wounded in the immediate aftermath of his hanging. There were two nearly simultaneous explosions in one Baghdad neighborhood, and other south of the capital.

But the quote of the day belongs to one of our fine soldiers on the front line in Iraq:

U.S. troops cheered as news of Saddam’s execution appeared on television at the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. But some soldiers expressed doubt that Saddam’s death would be a significant turning point for Iraq.

“First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial,” said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. “So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?”

It’s impossible to predict what will actually happen in Iraq, as the president has seen time and time again. One thing is certain, whatever happens, it will not be what Bush planned.

Bring them all home now.

Bush Administration Supressing Science — Again

Stop by The Bad Astronomy Blog today, and take a look at this excellent entry/rant by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer. There exists a book at Grand Canyon National Park titled Grand Canyon: A Different View. Different, yes. It tells the story of how the Grand Canyon was formed in a matter of days during, you guessed it, Noah’s Flood.

Poor Noah. The Hebrew Creation Myth is destroyed yet again.

I penned a review to this book at Amazon.com:

A true wolf in sheep’s clothing. I can’t believe that people of faith — any faith — would believe this garbage. And, what, if we don’t like this book we’ll burn for all eternity? I don’t recall reading that in the Bible anywhere.

Because it’s not there.

Virtually every Scripture Scholar in the world understands the beautiful teachings of the Christian Creation Myths, and their importance. If you really believe that the story of Adam and Eve is really about two naked little people running around in the woods stealing fruit, well, you won’t burn for all eternity — you’re just missing the many profound points of the Creation Myths in the Bible.

This book is an insult to believers everywhere.

Paid for with your tax dollars.

Woodward reports Ford Opposed Iraq War

Gerald Ford SeatedThanks to Ron Chusid for drawing our attention to this story from Bob Woodward at The Washington Post:

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. “I don’t think I would have gone to war,” he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford’s own administration.

Ford was definitive in his disagreement with the current administration. Ford stipulated that he would have pursued alternative courses of action, like sanctions, much more vigorously than Bush did.

“Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction,” Ford said. “And now, I’ve never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do.”

And he made it clear that war was not chosen as a last resort, nor did he believe for an instant the lines about spreading democracy or protecting our national security:

“Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people,” Ford said, referring to Bush’s assertion that the United States has a “duty to free people.” But the former president said he was skeptical “whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what’s in our national interest.” He added: “And I just don’t think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security.”

Our hope is that this just adds fuel to the fires already burning in the middle and the left, and that the right begins to fume as well. There must be more on the right besides Gerald Ford who disagree with the current policies.? Enough is enough.

The End is Near for Saddam

It’s going to happen any day now. The New York Times reports:

Iraq Prepares to Execute Hussein

By MARC SANTORA
Published: December 29, 2006
Iraqi officials prepared the last legal notice necessary before the execution of Saddam Hussein, a red card that will be presented to the former dictator to inform him that his end is near, Iraqi officials said.

The execution will likely take place tonight or tomorrow, according to the article.

Apparently the Iraqis have yet again surprised the Americans. The article continues:

The pace of events left some of the American legal advisors working on the case stunned, according to one Western official. For all the guidance the Americans provided, in the end the dictator’s demise did not go the way they expected, the officials said.

“It just goes to show that the Iraqis call the shots on something like this,” the official said.

My only hope is that this will not incite further violence. No doubt “W” is dancing behind closed doors right now. Fiddling, more likely, while Iraq burns. And First Twins Jenna and Barbara are most likely passed out in a bar someplace, losing a purse again. We’ll read about it all in the society pages.

While more lives are lost on both sides, and Iraq burns.

I miss Gerald Ford

President Gerald Ford

I miss Gerald Ford.

When Ford was president, the world was still largely black and white. I’m not engaging in whimsy, longing for those golden days of yesteryear. Nah. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

What I mean by black and white is that, literally, the world was reported in black and white. My newspapers were printed in black and white. And Gerald Ford appeared on my television in black and white. He did bring us to the precipice of the world of color, however. The day after he was sworn in as president, the Pittsburgh Press (Defunctus est, R.I.P.) printed his picture in color on page one. That’s the first color image I remember on the cover of a newspaper. Ever.

But, the next day, the world was back to black and white.

I know that pardoning Richard Nixon was controversial. I know I too felt betrayed that Nixon was let off so easy. But I don’t agree with these guys that Nixon’s pardon had some ill-effect on the possible impeachment of George W. Bush:

If we look at the remainder of the 1970’s it is certainly possible that the country was calmer than if faced with the trial and possible imprisonment of a former President. However it is not the 1970’s I am concerned about now but the present. The pardon established a terrible precedent that the President is above the law and should not be punished for crimes because it would be too hard on the country.

No, I disagree that that action had such an adverse effect on any possible action against W. If Congress can go after a man for lying about a blowjob and some quick cigar foreplay (who thinks of these things?), then Congress can go after a man for lying about a war.

I disagree with the presumption of some that because we’re on the left, we’re supposed to attack those on the other side of the aisle at all costs. Ford had some redeeming qualities. At the very least, he was great for Chevy Chase. I’ll never forget Chase decorating that Christmas tree on SNL, and falling headfirst into it.

“Live! From New York!…”

But what I most admire Gerald Ford for is his ability to change. I admire his ability to speak out when his party was drifting so radically to the right in recent years. Consider this story published yesterday in eNews Park Forest:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Mourns Death of Gerald R. Ford

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27–(ENEWSPF)– The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the death of former President Gerald R. Ford, who died Tuesday at the age of 93.

Statement by Matt Foreman,
Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

“We mourn the death of former President Gerald R. Ford, a good, decent and principled leader. Because he espoused true conservative values, he consistently advocated for the rights of individuals and condemned those who sought to impose conformity of thought and behavior. These beliefs led him to support women’s rights and to publicly support federal legislation to prohibit anti-gay discrimination in employment. When, in 2001, he said, ‘I think they [same-sex couples] should be treated equally. Period,’ he became the highest-ranking Republican ever to publicly support equal treatment for our families.

“In recent years, he decried the growing coarseness of American politics and called for bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems, something he always sought while in office.

“We express our condolences to Mrs. Ford, his children and other members of his family and to all who knew and loved him.”

That took chutzpah. That took spunk.

Hell, that took balls. “W” stuffed his crotch and declared victory in Iraq. Phony message. Phony balls. Congress needs ’em some now.

I miss Gerald Ford.

Memories of Fallujah – a weird funk

I got into a weird funk this morning while giving finals to students.

I was grading some papers, making sure the grades in my computer were accurate, when I started thinking about my son, still set on joining the Army.? And I remembered scenes out of Fallujah, and pictured that happening to my son.? I pictured him surrounded by a crowd, and those things happening to him.

And I froze.? This has never happened to me before.? I don’t want it to happen to him.

It’s all too real now.

My God.? They were real people.