Wednesday, January 10, 2007

George W. Bush Mocks Condemned Prisoner

George W. Bush Mocks Condemned Prisoner

I have not yet seen the notorious Saddam Hussein cellphone video, the one which shows the mob cursing Saddam and telling him to go to hell. I do not have infinite time to scour the Internet for the desired download, so I resorted to just two sites, both of which failed to provide satisfaction.

The first was, which I would never normally visit, because it specializes in ghastly stuff, and I get my ration of ghastly stuff from the daily newspaper, and that's quite enough ghastly stuff for me, thank you very much.

But I was aware of, although I have no recollection of ever having visited it before, so went there and punched "Saddam Hussein execution" into the search box, and was rewarded by a link which led me to something which purported to be Saddam video, though it was not the video I was looking for.

The link, if you are interested, is:

What opened in my copy of Microsoft's Media Player was a video with an English-language voice over narration, very decorous, no mob either in sight or in earshot. We were told that Saddam, "defiant to the last," refused to wear a hood, and declared that he was afraid of nobody.

The video does not show the moment of execution and provides no audio from the actual scene. The English-language voice over speaks of "one camera rolling," no mention of any cellphone, so I'm left wondering about the provenance of this video.

Is this the rewriting of history already underway, the chaps at the Ministry of Truth substituting a more palatable execution scene for the one running loose on the Internet?

The one other place I went to, again for the first time ever, was But their "favorite" videos did not feature the Saddam video, and at that point I gave up.

I'll look for the cellphone video again in a couple of months, once everything has been properly indexed and yo can Google your way to a download.

Meantime, the Saddam story continues to run and run, and in the International Herald Tribune, as published in Japan on Tuesday 9 January 2007, I found an article on page 7 originally published in The Boston Globe.

The article is by one James Carroll and tells us of one Karla Faye Tucker, a death row inmate who was in Bush's power when he was Governor of Texas. She appealed to him for mercy, and his response, apparently, was to mock her.

Details of this case, if you are interested, can be found at:

At first I misconstrued the event as having taken place in 1999, but then, rechecking, I saw a link to a memorial for Karla Faye Tucker Brown, which gives the execution date as February 3rd 1998.

The link I followed to get this information was:

As indicated above, the Karla Tucker story (or Tucker Brown story, as the case may be) goes back to 1998, to the era in which Bush, as Governor, permitted the execution of no fewer than 152 human beings. The man who is now the imperial president had the power of life and death over 152 individuals, and it was his choice, in each case, to have that person suffer death.

Returning now to the International Herald Tribune article on page 7, an article headlined THE LYNCHING OF IRAQ, which outlines Bush's execution record, James Carroll's view of Bush is not just scathing but vitriolic. He writes, in part, as follows:

"Bush is the impresario of unnecessary violence. America has followed him into the death chamber of this war, and now he wants us to believe that the way out is through more death."

Carroll notes the impact of the war on the Iraqis, and does not minimize it, but the truest concern of his heart would appear to be the American dead, the young soldiers, of whom he writes, affectingly:

"They were heroes, not criminals, yet Bush dragged each one of them up on the gallows. He positioned them on the trap door, hardly wincing as they fell through."

I was more than a little awed by the rhetorical power of this onslaught. In following the pages of the International Herald Tribune in recent weeks, I have increasingly taken note of the fact that the American media most definitely seems to have found its voice when it comes to the Iraq issue.

In closing, Carroll goes one step further than I would have ventured to go, and equates Bush with Saddam:

"With his lies at the beginning of this war, and his fantasy now than an honorable outcome remains possible, the president is a taunting killer, caught in the act. He lacks nothing but the black hood. Stop that man."

The leading serial killer from the state of Texas (actually, as one Texan reminded me some years back in an angry e-mail, not a Texan at all but a frat boy from New England), the man who the site characterizes as the "Texecutioner," is, in the opinion of a couple of experts cited in another article featured on the same page 7, out of touch with reality and well into the realms of the delusional.

The article, headlined QUAGMIRE OF THE VANITIES, is by Paul Krugman, raises the question of whether Bush and his adherents are cynical or delusional when they propose, now, escalation. Or, in the parlance of the day, a "surge."

Krugman's answer is that it doesn't matter either way. The key point is that Bush is quite simply not going to concede error and admit that he is wrong.

These days, the IHT, as a rule, is focused pretty heavily on Iraq, but it still finds time for news from other places. In particular, I've noticed quite a few articles about India, a place on which newspapers in New Zealand, which is where I come from, almost never report.

I almost never look at the International Herald Tribune online, where you can find it, if you want, at, because I find it more convenient to buy a paper at the newsstand at the station and then read it on the slow train to work, often spending two days of home-work commuting to get through one paper.

It is, for my money, the best newspaper around, at least from my perspective, that of someone who is from the Western world but who is living outside it, and who wants, if possible, a global view rather than a regional viewpoint, which I think the IHT provides.

I plan to revisit the Saddam execution debacle sometime, once I have found it wherever it is hiding out online. Meantime, I find it a bit creepy that the cellphone video, which we have heard so much about, is not immediately available to me, a substitute provided by the Ministry of Truth up there on the World Wide Web instead, masquerading as the truth, giving us a decorous execution in which Saddam's last bequest was to someone to whom he wanted a copy of the Koran to be given, the copy in question being the one which Saddam had with him on the occasion of his execution.

My take on Saddam, the emulator of Stalin, is that, knowing the end was heading in his direction, he deliberately chose to recast himself as the religious Islamic jihadist. If he were to succeed in being accepted as exactly that, then such a reception would be the execution result which would give Bush the worst possible outcome.

But, that said, given the pickle that Bush is in, things can hardly get much worse. For Bush. Or for America.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:40 AM  

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