[On the news-ticker on the BBC news website, it reads: "Reports say that nine US soldiers have died in violence in Iraq. More soon." Which about sums it up.]
Is the Bush administration manipulating the timing of Saddam Hussein's trial so as to help the GOP hold on to Congress? So reckons Tom Englehardt, writing in The Nation (November Surprise?). The trial-judge's verdict has been delayed until November 5th, and the mid-term elections are just two days later. Englehardt was tipped off to this possibility by a law professor called Scott Horton, who has worked in Baghdad. In correspondence with Englehardt, Horton wrote:
"For sure. That November 5 date is designed to show some progress in Iraq. This is the last full news-cycle day in the US before the elections. It'll be Monday. And the American public will see Saddam condemned to death and see it as a positive thing.
"When you look at polling figures," Horton said," there have been three significant spike points. One was the date on which Saddam was captured. The second was the purple fingers election. The third was Zarqawi being killed. Based on those three, it's easy to project that they will get a mild bump out of this.
Could this explain why Bush and Rove are reportedly so confident about the outcome of the mid-terms, despite the pundits and polls?
The phrase 'sentenced to death' always makes me laugh - we are all sentenced to death. Killing someone before they're due is murder, whether it be judicially sanctioned or not. It does not help that Saddam is not even getting a fair trial. The proceedings are a showbiz production, a psyop operation, aimed at the US electorate and it'll probably be effective.
I'm reminded that the American political system is deeply Lockean and that John Locke's theory of government was founded on murder.
POLITICAL POWER, then, I take to be a RIGHT of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common-wealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good. [Chapter 1, Sec 3, Second Treatise]
The unnecessary phrase, 'with penalties of death', fundamentally ties-in the practice of judicial homicide, i.e. murder, with the nature of political power. Locke's political vision still permeates US political thinking, and this, IMO, partly accounts for the survival of judicial homicide in the American legal system. It's not just a Republican thing; when Clinton ran for president, he had executed a prisoner in Arkansas to bolster his law and order credentials. Rhetorical question - is it as easy for Bush and Rove to manipulate the minds of the American people as it is for Kim Jong Il to control those of the North Koreans?