Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Beautiful Thing

Just friggin' beautiful:
BAGHDAD, April 6 (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein watched the election of Iraq's new president on video on Wednesday and was shaken by what he saw, the country's human rights minister said.

"He was clearly upset. He realised that it was over, that a democratic process had taken place and that there was a new, elected president," Bakhtiar Amin told Reuters.

"It was not just the fact that there was a new president, but that the president was a Kurd. And the previous interim president became a vice-president. What's more, it all happened without bloodshed," he said.

Iraq's parliament earlier elected Jalal Talabani, a veteran Kurdish leader, as president. Ghazi Yawar, the previous president, became one of two vice-presidents.

Saddam watched a video recording of the election, broadcast live on Iraqi television, in his prison cell at Camp Cropper, a U.S.-run high security facility on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Later, 11 of his senior lieutenants, including two half-brothers and former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, watched the same video together, Amin said.

It was the first television that Saddam and his former deputies had seen since being taken into custody.

Because they watched a recording of the live transmission, which also contained a rolling strap of news across the bottom of the screen, Saddam was able to catch up on various news items from around the world, the minister said.

He said seeing the footage is likely to have hammered home to the former president and his deputies that Iraq has moved on since they were captured.

But Amin, a Kurd who was forced to flee Iraq under Saddam, said it could have an even greater impact.

"I feel this will affect how they respond when they go to trial," he said. "Now they know a government's being formed, a democratically elected government, they know for sure that they are not coming back and my feeling is that they may be inclined to be more honest when they go before the tribunal."

Saddam and his 11 top aides are due to go to trial later this year, although the process is expected to begin with one of his lieutenants.

Amin, who specifically asked for a television to be put in Saddam's cell so he could watch the election, said he may also be allowed to watch Talabani's swearing in ceremony on Thursday. On Friday, Iraq's new prime minister should be sworn in.

"We wanted the former dictator to know that Iraq has moved on, that there's a new Iraq, and that he is not part of it," Amin said, relishing the irony.
I am so glad this bastard was captured alive.


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