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Saddam Hussein: Hero or Villain

- Joe Davison

(Wednesday, November 3, 2004)

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"Over two thousand years separate the ignominious end of Vercingetorix and Saddam Hussein at the hands of an imperial power, yet the parallels are striking. Simply put, both men stood up to the prevailing global power and both were destroyed." - Joe Davison

In 46 BC the captured Gallic leader, Vercingetorix, was paraded through the streets of Rome by Caesar to mark the fifth anniversary of his victorious campaign to quell revolt in Gaul and Germania, a campaign which secured the Roman Empire's European possessions.

On Sunday, December 14, 2003, pictures of freshly captured and bedraggled Saddam Hussein were beamed around the word in triumph by the forces of the current American Empire as evidence of the progress being made in their stated objective of "securing peace and freedom in the Middle East."

Over two thousand years separate the ignominious end of Vercingetorix and Saddam Hussein at the hands of an imperial power, yet the parallels are striking. Simply put, both men stood up to the prevailing global power and both were destroyed.

Of course, the mighty propaganda machine the US government has at its disposal would refute any insinuation that the real objective in the war on terror is the advancement and consolidation of US hegemony, underpinned with an ideology of Christian fundamentalism. President Bush's press conference, broadcast live to the nation two days after Saddam's capture, apart from his usual excruciatingly painful attempts to master the English language, would not have been out of place in 12th century Europe to an army of Christian crusaders just before they set off to do battle with the heathen for the Holy Land.

At one point he proclaimed: "The Almighty has blessed all his children with the gift of freedom."

Notwithstanding the fact that the people whom he purports to be bestowing with freedom and democracy in the Middle East are of the Muslim faith, whatever happened to the secular ideal at the heart of the formation of the United States and the drafting of its Constitution?

The answer to both the first and second parts of this question is of course that this campaign was carried out by religious fanatics in order to secure the control of not only Iraq, but the entire Middle East. The huge, unprecedented firepower brought to bear against the demoralised and weakened Iraqi forces which attempted to resist had another purpose in addition to the successful prosecution of the war: namely to intimidate any and all who may offer resistance and dissent either now or in the future to the new reality of US global dominance. Not only have the Iranians, Syrians and North Koreans been put on notice as to this reality, but also the Russians and the Chinese.

France and Germany, having already recognized the threat of US global hegemony, introduced the Euro back in 1998 to combat the dollar as the international reserve currency. When Saddam had the temerity to switch Iraq's reserve currency to the Euro in 2000, he set a dangerous precedent which other oil producing nations might follow, more or less inviting the occupation of his country by the United States and the end of his regime. In years to come, as the Chinese, Indian and Russian economies grow and place even more demands on the world's steadily depleting reserves of natural resources, US economic hegemony will be placed increasingly under threat. If history reveals anything, surely it's that when US imperialism finds itself under threat, military conflict follows.

Meanwhile, the people of the Middle East and the developing world shall continue to suffer the poverty, humiliation and degradation offered by the free market economy brought to them courtesy of the United States of America.
Let them all bow to the power of Rome.

Joe Davison, originally from Scotland, where he was a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, has lived in the U.S. for 5 years. He continues to be active in left wing politics. He currently is a member of the IRSM (Irish Republican Socialist Movement), and has been an organiser in the anti-war movement. Davison wrote this piece struck by the fact that everything happening today in Iraq and around the world, namely the march of one power as it attempts to dominate the globe culturally, economically, politically, and militarily, finds its antecedent in history.

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