Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

BEAU ELLIOT
The Daily Iowan
University of Iowa

(U-WIRE) IOWA CITY, Iowa — So Saddam is guilty.

And sentenced to death.

Man, I am, like, so surprised.

I can hardly contain my astonishment. You know how it is when a dictator finally gets his deserved comeuppance.

I mean, it’s just like when the United States overthrew the Greek neo-fascists generals back in the day, with their death squads. Or the Brazilian generals, with their death squads. Or the Argentine colonels, with their death squads. Or the Guatemalan generals, with their death squads. Or the Chilean generals, with their death squads. Or the South Vietnamese generals, with their death squads. Or the Taiwanese generals. Or the South Korean generals. Or the Burmese generals.

Thank god for the United States, protecting freedom and promoting democracy everywhere.

Just one little question: Why was Saddam’s verdict and sentencing delayed for three weeks?

The verdict and sentencing for the Great Dictator were originally scheduled for Oct. 16, but that date was inexplicably changed to Nov. 5 – which is, as it turns out, wholly coincidentally of course, a mere two days before the American elections.

Republicans couldn’t have been hoping for a “Saddam bounce” immediately before the vote, could they?

U.S. government officials deny that they had any hand in delaying the verdict and sentencing. And I believe them. Sure. I mean, just because the United States financed the trial, and just because American lawyers helped to write the laws under which Saddam was tried, and just because Americans provided the security and ran the day-to-day operations of the trial, and just because U.S. Justice Department attorneys advised the court from the beginning to the end — none of that is any reason to think that the Americans had any part in delaying the verdict from a nondescript day in the middle of October to two days before the elections.

Oh, no, of course not. Karl Rove would never think of something like that.

And, of course, there’s no history of this administration ever trying to manipulate the news for political gain.

You could almost — almost — believe that the administration had nothing to do with delaying the Saddam verdict, given the shocking and awing incompetence it has demonstrated pretty much everywhere, from the occupation of Iraq to the response to Hurricane Katrina. Another example surfaced last week, when it turned out that the U.S. government had been posting the recipe for making a nuclear weapon on a website.

No, really. The website had been set up, according to the New York Times and other reports, because of pressure from congressional Republicans who wanted the government to release the vast trove of Iraqi documents the United States had snatched during the war. Those Republicans wanted to “leverage the Internet” in order to discover evidence of those pesky Iraqi WMD, which simply refuse to show up.

Personally, I think Saddam hid the WMD in a “Doonesbury” cartoon. But then, I am also the person who wonders why, if dictators are bad and should be taken out by the U.S. military, the United States doesn’t invade Burma.

No oil there?

In any case, recently on the website, the U.S. government has posted Iraqi documents from pre-1991 that, according to the Times, “weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research ã®´ The documents, experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atomic bomb.”

After the International Atomic Energy Agency complained to the U.S. government — an anonymous diplomat told the Times that the agency’s weapons experts were “shocked” that the information was being made public — the United States shut down the website.

But still. What were those people thinking? Yeah, we’re against nuclear proliferation, and oh, by the way, here’s how you do it.

Geniuses. We’ve got geniuses on our team. No wonder the Cowboy in Chief thought that FEMA was doing a “heckuva job” immediately after Katrina.

And then there’s this note on Iraqi reconstruction from Paul Krugman of the Times. Parsons Corp. got $1 billion for reconstruction efforts, and it spent around $75 million on building an Iraqi police academy.

But the facility was so rottenly constructed that it leaks urine and feces from the ceilings in the barracks.

Now, there’s a symbol of American know-how in Iraq for you.

Heckuva job, fellas.

Beau Elliot doesn’t really believe that Saddam hit any WMD in a “Doonesbury” cartoon. We think.