What could possibly have been the benefit of hanging Saddam before the lengthy history of his heinous crimes (i.e. the wholesale gassing of Kurds) could have been officially and legally documented? His execution for the murder of 148 Shiites was bound to stoke the flames of sectarian violence in the country, as the hanging appeared to be nothing more than legalized revenge at the hands of the Shiites now in power for past crimes against their brothers. Why then would the “autonomous” government of Iraq rush Saddam off to his death? Was this perhaps due to the fact that the US (and others) could have been implicated during courtroom proceedings for the other, more serious, crimes he was charged with?
Well evidently others have had the same thoughts. Famed columnist for the British paper the Independent, Robert Fisk, not surprisingly, pondered similar questions:
But would the Americans and British dare touch a trial in which we would have not only to describe how Saddam got his filthy gas but why the CIA – in the immediate aftermath of the Iraqi war crimes against Halabja – told US diplomats in the Middle East to claim that the gas used on the Kurds was dropped by the Iranians rather than the Iraqis (Saddam still being at the time our favourite ally rather than our favourite war criminal). Just as we in the West were silent when Saddam massacred 180,000 Kurds during the great ethnic cleansing of 1987 and 1988.