Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.
Just returned from a trip to China, where he was soliciting assistance for his countryâ€™s nuclear energy program, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak announced on November 9 that the execution of Saddam Hussein would cause further turmoil in Iraq and increase anti-American hostilities across the Arab world. With the question of his succession the number one topic of discussion among Egyptâ€™s political elites these days, Mubarak is clearly trying to make himself look less like a US quisling in order to aid the imminent grab for power of his son, who was in Washington a few weeks ago for â€˜off the recordâ€™ talks with members of the Bush administration. But the prospect of Saddamâ€™s hanging must also make Mubarakâ€™s silk necktie seem uncomfortably tight. After all, one false move â€“ or a change in Washingtonâ€™s ideas about Egyptâ€™s future -- and he could well find himself vilified by US-controlled media paving the way for regime change and a show trial in Cairo.
It is a pity that Mubarak did not cite the real reasons we should all object to the trial and death sentence of Saddam Hussein --- but this would have entailed far too much criticism of his American masters. As recipient of Washingtonâ€™s third-largest foreign aid hand out, Egypt is not expected even to nibble at the hand feeding it, let alone bite (Iraq, at $20 billion, gets the most, followed by Israel at some $2 billion. Egypt is close behind). And the circumstances of Saddamâ€™s trial expose an aspect of US foreign policy no one in the West seems willing to discuss, since it reveals such transparent hypocrisy with regard to the same much-vaunted rule of law that is so frequently brandished as an ultimate authority in the pursuit of Western goals.
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