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Friday, September 17, 2021


A few weird men


Why do we allow anti-US dictators to die, while friends of US live...
TSI | Issue Dated: January 14, 2007
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A few weird men According to eyewitnesses, there was defi ance and bravado even moments before he was hanged. Trading insults and abuses with the guards who executed him, Saddam Hussein was vocally critical of the 'Americans and the Persians' (Iranians); till the bitter end. But by the time he was hanged, Saddam was no longer a factor that counted for much in benighted Iraq. So, even as the media writes reams and reams on how Iraq is disintegrating and descending into civil war, not many are paying attention to the interesting relationship between the US and tyrants across the world.

Th e fact is: Presidents, Prime Ministers, dictators and military strongmen and their regimes oft en come to an inglorious end. But how inglorious and violent the ends are depends on whether Uncle Sam has been supporting them or opposed to them for ‘strategic reasons’. Saddam's death by hanging is just one more instance of how leaders not liked by Washington oft en come to a violent and inglorious end. Conversely, friends of Uncle Sam manage to survive even if their regime is overthrown.

A few weird men Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in a popular uprising aft er lording it over the Philippines for two decades with overt and covert support from America. He eventually died in exile. Something simisimilar happened to the Shah of Iran, another American favourite who was ousted in a popular uprising. He died in exile. Yet another dictator favoured by the US was luckier. Despite evidence of gross human rights violations bordering on crimes against humanity, Augusto Pinochet of Chile died a peaceful death in his country; though he was overthrown during the 1990s aft er decades of brutal rule. Now, look at some towards whom Uncle Sam was not so favourably disposed. Th e popularly elected Salvadore Allende of Chile was assassinated by ''mysterious'' forces. Saddam, we all know. A former head of Afghanistan, Najibullah, was publicly executed and his private parts stuff ed into his mouth.

Th ere was once a President of Panama, Manuel Noriega, who was a fi rm US ally. Th e Americans lost trust in him aft er Noriega got involved in the Colombian narcotics trade. Noriega refused to pay heed; the US invaded Panama and Noriega has been cooling his heels in a Florida jail for 20 years! Th at’s why Fidel Castro infuriates the Americans. Despite their best eff orts, they haven''t been able to ‘take care’ of this openly anti-American leader in their backyard Cuba! Whether we agree with Saddam or not, the US can''t be allowed to get away. Criminals can''t be free because they are friends of the US.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017