It does not matter whether the video recording was authorised or not. It does not matter whether the "powers that be" in Iraq conduct another wishy-washy to find a low ranking scapegoat or conduct an actual investigation.

The events on video were real, the process shameful, the truth bearer hanged and buried, the results tragic for Iraq.

Tragic because Saddam's killing proved that the only available system is the one he perpetuated, a system he himself used to govern Iraq, a system the new governors of Iraq and their foreign overseers, despite their claims to the contrary, miserably again failed to replace. A system built around Kangaroo courts, followed by prisoner abuse and subsequently, lynching. All reminiscent of an era they claimed to have closed by lynching Saddam. The shouts and taunting in the hanging room was symbolic of mob "justice" that is still very much alive.

Last week I had a conversation with my 24-year-old son explaining to him, the very clear but often ignored line, between mob justice and the rule of law, arbitrary judgments and due process and ultimately between revenge and retribution. Saddam, regardless of who he was or how heinous his crimes, was entitled to the latter, but got the former. Equally important, Iraq deserved better.

In the haste to bury the truth while taking a pound of Saddam's flesh along the way, Iraq, tragically, has been denied, again, the opportunity to move on to the opposite side of its dark history. Not just Saddam, Iraq was hanged one more time, this too in a case that offered it the most visible opportunity to manifest to itself and the world that it is indeed able to make the distinction between revenge and retribution.

As he dangled from the neck Saddam must have mocked us one more time, "Today you yourselves proved, I have always been right and you are wrong, my way is the only way to do things in Iraq. Nothing will ever change".

Indeed, he might, catastrophically, be proven right.

Watching SkyNews, I listened to yet another one of those self appointed "biographers" who opportunistically spring out of the woodworks on this type of occasions. He told us that Saddam fared better than those he killed. I suppose for him and many like him, this is meant to be a contest between versions of lawlessness!

Tragically, many seem oblivious to the implications of this process on Iraq's future. Those who expressed anger were sadly more concerned about the "etiquette" of hanging Saddam on Eid Al Adha.

Yet we must remember that those who hastily silenced Saddam, Mafia style, and thereafter have shed crocodile tears about the etiquette of hanging him on a Muslim holy day, have unholy reasons to want the truth buried. At the time of writing this piece Saddam's co-prisoners are also awaiting their turn at the hangmen's noose. With their elimination we will forever loose the opportunity to ask them about:

- Halabjah where thousands were gassed to death.

- The real story behind Saddam's unjust war against Iran.

- Their account of the events leading up to Iraq's Kuwait debacle.

These are only some of the many cases that Iraq and the world have a right to know about.

Dujail, the only case heard and for which Saddam was hanged, is not the only case for which he should have accounted for. Saddam's accomplices, those who supported his wars then, but hypocritically condemn his wars now, the colonial powers of Iraq and their allies, all of whom are Saddam's former comrades-in-wars, have silenced him and by doing so have denied the families of the victims in many other atrocities the right to bring Saddam to account and have closure.

Throughout the Dujail trial Saddam and the whole world had the impression that the trial was only the first of many to come and from which a lot more will be learned. Yet, suddenly everything ends with Saddam's swift hanging after the first trial. Nothing more to be heard, the truth bearer buried.

This travesty of justice was unfortunately committed by a government dominated by one of Saddam's victimised communities.


Yesterday it was Saddam and his Sunni minority which controlled Iraq and committed untold atrocities against those they ruled.

Today the Shiite who rule Iraq seem intent on matching or even surpassing Saddam's record.

If we are to uphold the rule of law and justice that the culprits trespassed and for which we judge them today, then travesty should not be the altar upon which due process is sacrificed.

A student asked his teacher once, "Master, we repay good with good, should we repay evil with evil"? The teacher responded, "Repay good with good and evil with justice".

This ancient wisdom is the foundation upon which peace and harmony can be built in Iraq and elsewhere. This is also the bitter pill we must swallow, despite the occasional strong temptation to do otherwise.


Munir Daair is a Yemeni political writer.