Who killed Cock Robbin?–Saddam, Bush, and Moktadr al-Sadr

“Moke-Ta-Door, Moke-Ta-Door.” You can clearly hear people chanting this on the bootleg cellphone version of the film only seconds before Saddam’s execution. It’s a reference to Moktadr al Sadr, who has been described as an extremist Shiite warlord.

The chanting reminded me of the part in George Orwell’s Animal Farm where the sheep are taught to bleat in unison, “Four legs good, Two legs bad.” Instead of dropping cluster bombs and depleted uranium on Iraq, we should have showered them with copies of Animal Farm, translated into Arabic. It’s not too late, if someone out there is looking for a winter project.

The pictures of Saddam on the gallows weren’t a surprise. Everyone sort of expected it, especially after the way the photos of Uday and Kusai, then Zarkawi, were released after their deaths. It’s a sort of visual proof of the event that transcends language barriers.

30saddam_promo.jpgAlso expected were the less tasteful bootleg cellphone versions of the event that swept the blogosphere afterwards. I suppose some were looking for a “war porn” online, but it was the sectarian nature of the execution that really surfaced on those films. It was hardly a somber state occasion. For some reason I had expected Saddam would be turned over to other Sunnis, but accounts are pretty clear the executioners, although hooded, could be identified as Shiite by their southern accents. From what happened at the execution, it looks more like Saddam was executed for being Sunni than for signing the order for a mass murder.

Speaking of sectarian feuds, what of the role of the Bush family in Saddam’s execution?

The Bush family has a long-standing family feud dating back to an assassination attempt on the older Bush attempted by Saddam when the 41st president was in Kuwait after the first gulf war. According to the New York Times:

“There’s no doubt his hatred is mainly directed at us,” the current president said, speaking to a Republican fund-raising crowd in Houston on Sept. 26, 2002. “This is the man who tried to kill my dad.”

For his part, Mr. Hussein referred to the younger Mr. Bush as “son of the viper.” He delivered a famous snub of the 41st president, constructing a mosaic of the elder Bush’s face on the floor of the Rashid Hotel, perfectly positioned to be repeatedly stepped on. After the American troops reached Baghdad, they crushed the mosaic.

The President’s press release following the execution begins, “Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial…”

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