The Common Good

Ryan Beiler: Dirty Deeds Not Done Dirt Cheap

Thanks to Christianity Today for quoting Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, and Shane Claiborne's blog entries in a recent round-up of Christian leaders' views (scroll down to topic #3) on the execution of Saddam Hussein.

But with respect to my colleagues (who focused more on the moral/spiritual aspects), one salient point that I've found missing from most commentary on the execution is that the specific crime of which Hussein was convicted - the 1982 massacre of 148 Iraqis in the town of Dujail - occurred while Hussein was being aided by the United States.

The infamous photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein was taken in 1983. What's more, the U.S. actively supported Hussein throughout the '80s in spite of reports of such atrocities, including the use of chemical weapons. This isn't conspiracy theory - the report linked above is drawn almost entirely from mainstream media sources like The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. Of course, this isn't news to anyone who's followed Iraq-U.S. politics for any length of time. The joke about how "the U.S. knows Iraq has WMDs because we have the receipts," isn't far off.

It just seems especially ironic that so many Americans are celebrating the death of a tyrant who was executed for a crime committed while he was "our S.O.B." Iraqis had long suffered because of U.S. support for Saddam, and now American servicemen and women have joined them in paying dearly for the war to remove him.

Ryan Beiler is the Web Editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.

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