The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding

Was treating Bush and his dead end supporters the grisly spectacle of Saddam Hussein’s death worth the death of 80 Iraqis and 6 more American deaths. 80 Iraqis killed; deadly month for U.S.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – At least 80 Iraqis died in bombings and other attacks Saturday as they prepared to celebrate Islam’s biggest holiday, their first without Saddam Hussein.

The bombings came hours after Saddam was hanged in Baghdad for ordering the killings of 148 Shiites in the city of Dujail in 1982. Despite concerns about a spike in unrest, Saturday’s violence was not unusually high for Iraq, nor did it appear to be in retaliation for the execution.

The AP, the Right’s favorite news outlet claims “nor did it appear to be in retaliation for the execution”. Who knows maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, it was just a normal day in Iraq. Either conclusion doesn’t bode well for the administartion’s ability to weigh action and reaction. We’re left wondering along with the families of those killed if it wouldn’t have been better to just let Saddam rot away in a cell.

Robert Fisk is even more blunt then me, Robert Fisk: He takes his secrets to the grave How the West armed Saddam, fed him intelligence on his ‘enemies’, equipped him for atrocities – and then made sure he wouldn’t squeal

We’ve shut him up. The moment Saddam’s hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington’s secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States – and Britain – gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support – given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War – is dead.

Gone is the man who personally received the CIA’s help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union’s influence in Iraq. Saddam’s mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment – extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib.

There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 – both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border – and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq’s military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad – at America’s request.

“Mr Fisk… at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon,” he said. “There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments – thousands of them – all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!”

Many liberals will go so far as to say despite the calamitous consequences of their actions that many conservative mean well. I find that a hard case to make looking over the history of the last forty years. There is a level of malevolence that can only be described as the knife in America’s back. All their machinations have come back to haunt us. Rather then thinking about foreign policy in terms of balance they have been blinded by their own zealous delusions. Conservatives have had a kind of perverse success, a success at undermining the long term interests of America. Is it any wonder that they wrap themselves so tenaciously in the flag.

For Whom the Bell Tolls:Top Ten Ways the US Enabled Saddam Hussein

5) The second Baath regime in Iraq disappointed the Nixon and Ford administrations by reaching out to the tiny remnants of the Communist Party and by developing good relations with the Soviet Union. In response, Nixon supported the Shah’s Iran in its attempts to use the Iraqi Kurds to stir up trouble for the Baath Party, of which Saddam Hussein was a behind the scenes leader. As supporting the Kurdish struggle became increasingly expensive, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlevi of Iran decided to abandon the Kurds. He made a deal with the Iraqis at Algiers in 1975, and Saddam immediately ordered an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan. The US acquiesced in this betrayal of the Kurds, and made no effort to help them monetarily. Kissinger maintained that the whole operation had been the shah’s, and the shah suddenly terminated it, leaving the US with no alternative but to acquiesce. But that is not entirely plausible. The operation was supported by the CIA, and the US didn’t have to act only through an Iranian surrogate. Kissinger no doubt feared he couldn’t get Congress to fund help to the Kurds during the beginnings of the Vietnam syndrome. In any case, the 1975 US about-face helped Saddam consolidate control over northern Iraq.

The poor Kurds the Right when not using the flag likes to use the Kurds as a shield against any criticism of Republican policies. The Right has screwed them over and abandoned them so many times it kind of a wonder they’ve had anything to do with Dubya. Their distrust of Republicans was probably subordinate to their hatred of Saddam.

I have my fingers crossed that Democrats will stick to their guns and rectify some of these, The Bill of WrongsThe 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006.

The Black Dahlia: Failed Film Noir?

Just released on DVD, the Black Dahlia was widely criticised and examined as a film. Partly because of the promise of its director Brian de Palma, director of such notable films as Scarface, and partly because of the charisma of its leads, particularly its female leads and partly because of a longing for someone to repeat the success of LA Confidential and give modern film goers something of a sense of the sophistication and style that their parents and grand parents enjoyed in the classic era of forties noirs, the Black Dahlia got a drubbing from the critics.

The Black Dahlia is a failure as a film but it is a glorious failure.

I can’t comment on the specifics because I haven’t seen this version of The Black Dahlia ( there have been several movie versions of the story and several non-fiction books written about Elizabeth Short’s murder), but the film’s mediocre box office might speak to a problem that seems to be growing with Hollywood’s big films. What can Hollywood put up on the big screen in the way of narrative that TV shows like Law and Order or the CSI mega-series cannot. It is too much to expect people to shell out seven bucks for something that they can see at home. So in order for the non-special effects movies to succeed they better have especially tight writing, takes chances, and be visually extraordinary to get people into the theater. I suspect this this version of The Black Dahlia will ultimately enjoy a certain cult status because the genre itself is so wanting in recent years. Something else Hoolywood might want to consider; how can they churn out dozens of mindless comedies and action movies and ignore a whole genre like film noir.

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” – Albert Camus