"It was said in the Sunni strongholds of Iraq, and in the Arab capitals, that
it had been bad form that the dictator had been dispatched at dawn, on the first day of
Id al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice that marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
But those protests came from people who had never shed a tear for Saddam's victims.
Their loyalties are atavistic: They are motivated by a dread of the Shiites, and by a
reflexive, unthinking anti-Americanism.
A big thing happened, it has to be conceded, when Maliki affixed his signature to that
death sentence. Sunni rulers had been hounding Shiite rebels for centuries in Arab
lands; Saddam himself had put to death some great men of standing in the Shiite
religious establishment. In April 1980, in a deed that is still recalled with terror by the
vast majority of Shiites, a great figure of the Shiite seminaries, Ayatollah Muhammad
Baqir al-Sadr, was put to death by the Hussein regime-along with his immensely
talented sister, Bint al-Huda, a poet and a writer of exquisite sensibility. Sadr had
become the great martyr of Iraqi Shiites; he is said to have been the intellectual
inspiration behind the Dawa Party to which Maliki belongs. Saddam's execution was an
act of fealty to that beloved man. For the Shiite faithful, justice had been slow in coming.
It had taken a foreign war to decapitate that tyrannical regime in Baghdad, it is true. But
the judgment that mattered was an affair of the Iraqis. We have been asking them to
claim responsibility for their country, bemoaning their political abdication. On that
morning in Baghdad, three years after he had been flushed out of his spider hole,
Saddam Hussein came face to face with the wrath and hurt he had bequeathed Iraqis.
Those vengeful men taunting him as he fell through the gallows' trapdoor were in the
most direct way the children of his cruel reign of terror."
I remember a post by As'ad Abu Khalil (Angry Arab), who seemed to be a fan of the "legitimate" resistance in Iraq, in which he said of Maliki: "here is a man who has just signed two death sentences: one for Saddam, and the other for himself."
But all the Arab "resistance" has done is murder Iraqi police and ordinary Iraqi civilians.