Within a few hours of receiving custody of Saddam Hussein from American authorities, the Iraqi government put him to death. Doubtless this will cause howls of protest from leftists everywhere, that a man proven to be a mass murderer on a most gruesome scale would himself be executed without years of delay and double-talking meant to subvert justice itself or at least deny the victims’ families the chance to believe that such men as Saddam would ever be treated as they deserve. But the execution of Saddam Hussein served a compelling notice, one the Left will deny but which is true for all their bitterness; the Rule of Law has come to Iraq.
The Left has tried very hard to deny that truth. The mainstream media revels in showing video of bombings and reporting kidnappings, never noting the stability and economic growth in many parts of Iraq. Kevin McCullough has written a compelling article to show that Iraq is, by any reasonable standard, a clear success. The notion that Iraq is becoming a foothold for democratic republicanism is terrifying for the Left. Enough so that they will denounce even its possibility, much less the growing evidence for it.
The Middle East has not enjoyed many attempts at freely elected government. Small wonder. Without turning this essay into a history lesson, the region has historically been a target for conquering empires. That’s one big lie the Left doesn’t want folks to learn, that even if none of the world’s oil came from there, there would still be wars and unrest. For thousands of years, the Middle East has been the juncture between three continents (which comprised the entire known world for most of our written history) and control of key locations meant military and economic success. That truth meant that tyrants, emperors, and puppet leaders controlled by invaders were the norm, all the way through the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, Great Britain tried to establish some nominal national identities, but in many places the lines drawn were too artificial and ignored critical demographics. The resulting mess allowed the Germans and Italians to invade the region with little trouble, which is one reason Mussolini tried to colonize Ethiopia through invasion. Following World War 2, the immediate polarization between Soviet and Western spheres meant that the Middle East was denied a chance to build truly representative governments; the governments in place were largely free to continue as they had. It is only in very recent years, therefore, that the tide of young Arabs and Farsis and Kurds have begun to demand their right to vote on popular candidates instead of figures hand-picked by mullahs or oligarchies, and it is only recently that the region began to show signs of universal law. That is where Saddam’s fate makes such a difference. For many years, a man who became a tyrant might be killed by another tyrant taking his place, but more often passed on his wealth and power to a chosen successor, or if deposed was often allowed to simply live in luxury somewhere else. The south beach of France is still littered with relatives of the former Shah, of the entourages of former strongmen and would-be aristocrats from oil-producing nations. The reader may recall that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offered such a package to Saddam and his family in hopes of avoiding the war. This was because the Saudis recognized a signal shift in the order of things, and were becoming desperate to deny or delay that change. The arrest, trial and now the execution of Saddam Hussein were all accomplished in a manner which undeniably demonstrates that the new government in Iraq intends to conduct itself through universal law, law which applies to all Iraqis regardless of station. No other government in the region, save Israel, is so committed to the Rule of Law. This demonstrates a clear victory in the development of democratic republics in the Middle East.
I personally took no pleasure in the death of Saddam Hussein. I watched the video of the noose being put around his neck, and I could read in his face that he knew his death was coming, final and irrevocable. It would be a cruel man indeed who could look at that and not feel a tug of compassion and pity for a man so condemned, alone and hopeless. Especially knowing the many evils he committed in his life; if Saddam believed in even half of Islam, he knows that a terrible fate awaits him. But his death proved the truth of Iraq law, that no one, not even the former absolute ruler of Iraq, still followed by thousands of ruthless minions, can escape answering for his crimes.