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January 18, 2007
A Telling Set Of Values

The Washington Post reports today on the wave of anger and outrage sweeping the Arab world after the hangings of Saddam Hussein and two of his key henchment over the last three weeks. The accidental beheading, the rush to the gallows for Saddam, and his execution during Eid have gotten them pretty steamed -- and believing that executions were handled better under Saddam:

Beirut's daily an-Nahar newspaper ran a caricature Tuesday of the Iraqi flag adorned with three nooses. At the center of the red, white and black banner, the outline of the coiled ropes appears similar to the word "Allah" in Arabic script.

The cartoon appears under the caption "The New Iraq."

That gallows humor reflected the swelling tide of Arab anger and revulsion at the Iraqi government's execution Monday of Barzan Ibrahim, who was beheaded as he was hanged, and the cellphone recordings of the taunts and gloating that greeted Saddam Hussein before his execution Dec. 30.

Many in the Arab world questioned whether the beheading of Ibrahim, Hussein's half brother and his onetime intelligence chief, was a premeditated slight or, as the government has insisted, the accidental consequence of a sloppy execution. He was put to death along with Awad Haman Bander, leader of Hussein's Revolutionary Court, and the hangings evoked widespread condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union and human rights organizations. ...

The Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper, published in London, quoted a former Iraqi judge as saying that during his time in office, people on death row such as Ibrahim, who had cancer, were usually pardoned or given amnesty because of their ailments. Hussein preferred executing opponents of his regime by firing squad.

Oh, please. Only the "Arab world" could long for the days of rape rooms, people having their tongues cut out and their hands amputated, and genocides against the Kurds and the Shi'ites just because of three executions after the closest thing to due process that Iraq has seen in decades. While the Sunni world wails about poor Saddam getting executed on Eid, none of them mention the mass murders that Saddam committed with the power of the state behind him, and the mass graves he left as evidence of them.

Could the Iraqis have done a better job with these executions? Of course. Saddam got rushed to the gallows, and the scene that the Iraqis allowed to unfold (and videotape) cheapened the event, turning it into a rally for Moqtada al-Sadr. They eliminated the Sadr cheering section for the next executions. Barzan's beheading resulted from rank incompetence; the executioner used too long of a rope despite the expertise at hand from the American military.

All of that is just circumstance. The executions would have happened eventually anyway, and despite all of the outrage from the Arab street, all three of them richly deserved their fates. They went out a lot easier than the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis they dispatched during their reign of terror. And where were all of these outraged Arabs when Saddam and his henchmen brutalized and murdered all of these Kurds, Shi'ite Arabs, and even fellow Sunnis? Did they erupt in outrage and anger over those countless deaths through gassing, torture, and other unsavory means? Where were their voices when Saddam committed his genocides and atrocities?

The only deaths Arabs appear to protest are those of mass murderers and psychopaths. That tells us all we need to know about the values of the "Arab street".

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 18, 2007 5:07 AM

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