is snuggled into West Rock atop a high hill in New Haven, CT. There’s a park, an historical marker and a fabulous view, painted foliage in autumn, Yale, New Haven and the Atlantic Ocean year around. Judges Cave is said to be the place where two of seventy-six judges who signed a death warrant for Charles I of England in 1649 hid when, at regular intervals, the long arm of the British Royal family sent King’s officers across the ocean to find and kill them. The judges were called Regicides, and the winding road from town to the top of West Rock is called Regicide Drive in their honor. We used to go up there to picnic, smoke, enjoy the view. I used to try to imagine a world in which Judges had to hide in caves.
On the day Sadaam Hussein was executed, George and Laura Bush were holed up in an armored car next to an underground shelter. There was a tornado watch, not even a warning, just a watch.
After 911, when GW spent the day in Air Force One instead of on the ground dealing with the enormity of the attack on our country, he wasn’t actually hiding in a cave.
But Sadaam Hussein was hiding in a hole in the sand when he was found in mid-December 2003, hiding from a deck of cards, and the long arm of Bush-style justice, which bombs people to free them. Iraqi officials gave Sadaam a red card, like the ones he gave to people he was about to execute, initially at the request of CIA officials who gave him a list of sixty plus people to off after we helped him accomplish the coup that brought him to power. When Hussein’s attorneys asked for a reprieve yesterday the US officials said it was out of their hands, Hussein had been turned over to Iraqis for execution.
The hundred and fifty people executed in Texas when Bush was Governor all asked for clemency. One (an admitted mass murderer) got it — because it had been proved he wasn’t in the state at the time of the murder in question. Except for that, Bush had full confidence in the system, plus executions are finalized by a Board of Pardon’s and Paroles in Texas, an appointed committee of eighteen people who rarely meet or review death penalty cases, yet are a firewall behind which our Governors hide so they don’t have to face the moral and political fallout of refusing clemency to innocent people, ones who have reformed, are mentally retarded or insane. They say, "It's out of my hands."
George Bush has no problem killing people. He didn’t when he was Governor of Texas and he doesn’t now. Never mind the United Nations, the European Union, the UK and most of the civilized world have outlawed executions because they are barbaric and do not deter crime — they guanantee it.
When trouble comes in the form of an horrific attack on America, or a natural disaster like Katrina, for instance, you’ll find George Bush holed up, or hovering near shelter, vacationing or fund raising, ready to disappear until it’s time to blame the victims. Global incompetence makes sure there are lots of them.
Sadaam Hussein was hanged on an American military base after being found guilty of executing most of an Iraqi village in the 80s after an attempt was made there on his life, a charge carefully selected to avoid implicating the United States. He deserved to die for crimes against humanity if anyone ever has, but as Robert Fisk writes, was executed for the wrong reason. He killed a million Iranians, but we helped him. He killed his own people with chemical weapons, which we gave him. Those pieces of information weren’t part of the case against him because they would have implicated the United States, who happens to be occupying the country he used to rule. It wouldn’t have looked right.
He was executed on Eid al Adha, a day holy in the Islamic world and observed by universal acts of mercy, clemency and forgiveness. Even Sadaam used to let people out of prison during this holiday — proving once again that ruthlessness and stupidity are lovers.
When I think of George Bush I often think of Judges Cave, the difference being — those judges in the 1600s wanted a bad king to be executed, and G.W. Bush is one, one still compiling a vast toll of the dead and maimed, a bad king I ( having no appetite for regicide or execution) would be content to simply Impeach.
With his last breath Sadaam Hussein praised himself, then God.
©Susan Bright, 2006
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
Eric Blumrich offers up a wild assessment of US/Sadaam memories. Thanks to Cindy Symington for sending this.
Here's the Truthout story. Send them a contribution if you can.
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