Sources, Context, Comments & Links
MetaMap Saddam Hussein 1937-2007: a visual navigator to on-line representations of power & violence in graphs, maps and ceremony

by Tjebbe van Tijen/Imaginary Museum Projects, October 2006

Iraqi cartoonist Amer Rashad at work, he lives in exile in Jordan

For a short article on him in the St Petersburg Times click the picture above

This cartoon by Bennett originally published by the Christian Science Monitor was found on one of those 'political humour web-sites that I need not describe, I just give the name: "America's Mad As Hell Humor Page" Humor in a time of grief". Bennett's work is one the more subtle examples of humour that can be found there...
One more cartoon from Fritz Behrendt, published in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf; could not yet find the precise date and occasion of this drawing, but the message is clear anyhow... This picture was found on a cartoonist index web-site (cagle.msnbc.com)

The cards come from one the several sites that have and keep documenting details of the military operations in Iraq. I have used the site www.psywarrior.com from which this explanation is taken:

The U.S. military issued an illustrated deck of cards depicting the 55 "most wanted" members of the Saddam Hussein regime to thousands of U.S. troops in the field. They printed the same data on posters and leaflets for the Iraqi public. The four aces showed the most wanted fugitives, Saddam Hussein, his sons Uday and Qusay, and the presidential secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud Al-Tikriti. Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz adorns the eight of hearts. The only woman in the pack is Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, AKA "Mrs. Anthrax." Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf did not make the list. The other cards showed lower ranking officials of the regime. The Coalition forces have orders to pursue, capture or kill each of the fugitives.

clcik cards for a direct link

Reprints have been made of these playing/search cards... and there is trade on sites like Ebay in original sets.

Millions of leaflets have been dropped over Iraq, most of them have been well documented. A good site with many examples I used is psywarrior.com
"He lives in splendor as your family struggles to survive"
Airborne propaganda has a history and several sources can be found on the subject. This is just one of them (slate.com), detailing a bit how you throw leaflets from an airplane: I'm Covered in Leaflets!The secrets of airborne propaganda distribution. By Daniel Engber A more thorough study on the dropping of leaflets can be found in: "READY . . . READY . . . DROP! A Content Analysis of Coalition Leaflets Used in the Iraq War Andrew M. Clark and Thomas B. Christie" in the GAZETTE: THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR COMMUNICATION STUDIES... the pdf is on-line

This one came through a Google search from a Blog and they refer to the NYT... "By now, everyone and their dog must know that Saddam Hussein has been caught by the U.S. military. Most of the coverage and press has discussed the hole where he was found hiding, but pictures have been sparse"
Picture comes from one of the many on-line time lines of Saddam Hussein: "Saddam's Violent Road to Trial"

The caption of the picture reads: "Saddam Hussein visits the clay home in which he was born near Tikrit. His daughter Raghad (front row, wearing yellow sweater) is now directing his team of defense lawyers. This undated photo was taken by an official regime photographer"

The idea for the mud hut and hole section of the scroll came from this "psychological" study I found on the net: "Saddam Hussein of Iraq: A Political Psychology Profile Jerrold M. Post, M.D.
Not that I am very fond of this kind of interpretations, but it triggered my inspiration... better read the quote yourself:

"It was predicted that Saddam would not take the path of Idid Amin, who recently died, waiting in exile. He remained concerned with his historical reputation and would not take any steps to diminish his stature as heroic pan-Arab leader. For the same reason, it was not anticipated that he would suicide as Hitler did in the last flaming bunker or permit himself to be taken alive, but would likely go out as his sons did, in a blaze of guns. In fact, he was taken alive, and without a struggle. How ironic that it should have come to this: Saddam Hussein, who began life in a mud hut near Tikrit, ended his political career in a so-called “spider-hole” in the ground, beneath a mud hut near Tikrit. But considering Saddam’s psychological makeup, his end was, if not inevitable, certainly fitting. From mud hut to mud hut, this represented the economic and psychological poverty at Saddam’s core, his wounded self. Indeed, as the mud hut is the architectural motif for the inner layer of Saddam’s psychology, in projecting the likely conduct of Saddam Hussein in the second trial of the (new) century, after that of Slobodan Milosevic, it is necessary to understand his complex psychology. In these regards, it is useful to consider the three principal layers of Saddam’s psychology, layers for which the architecture of his three principal residences provide an apt metaphor. The mud hut represents the wounded self at his very core. He has devoted his life and career to overcompensating for this profound insecurity.

[source is a pdf]

and the quest for detail is unlimited (thanks to dessert-voice.net) that copied it to their site... (it is like a newspaper cutting without source and date in the old days)

The following picture map of portraits and related iconography of Saddam Hussein is ordered quasi chronological. The pictures comes from many different web-sites. Only a few web-sites have a meaningful contextualization of Sadam's pictures, so I have not taken too much trouble in giving sources and links everywhere. Some less known captions and links have been added though: just move your mouse slowly over the gallery and see if a link/caption appears....
Below two rarely shown pictures of Saddam that do not fit todays vision of Saddam Hussein - as a kind of monstrous beast - taken in the 70's of last century (pictures are from an interesting web site by Frontline: "the survival of Saddam, how has Saddam Hussein survived so long and what explains his hold on the Iraqi people")
Saddam "promoting women's education and literacy" His policy was secular, forcing unity on a nation with a potential of religious strive. He was also a writer (or had his ghosts to do it for him) and even Dutch libraries preserve the fruits of that activity. The national Dutch Catalogue gives 43 entries with Saddam as an author. It is curious to name some of his Western publishers: Crrom helm 91979); Longman (1977); Le Sycomore (1980); Sartec (1978).

Each war is also a war of statistics... depending on the position and situation numbers have to raised or lowered, or simply not be given at all. The debate about the number of dead as result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 can not come to any final conclusion. For a while there seemed to be some commonly accepted magnitude, ranging in the tens of thousands, but since 2004 and the study published by the medical journal The Lancet, a huge difference in estimations exist. The update of the 2004 Lancet study that has been presented recently gives even a number that is tenfold higher than the number given by other researchers and institution, ranging from army related organizations to anti-war activists like the web-site 'Iraq Body Count'.

Below are several examples of this fight of figures... the soldiers seem to be neatly counted, but it is the Iraqi civilians that fail to be rightly accounted for. In between the highest and the lowest estimates (600.000 and 60.000) there roams a whole big city of dead souls or ghost victims that never existed.

One is puzzled when looking at the number of initiatives that count the non-Iraqi dead in Iraq (Iraq Coalition Casualty Count is just an example of a self appointed amateur organization, with a very neat web-site) but there seems to be a bit less enthusiasm when it comes to counting dead and wounded Iraqis, though such initiatives do exist. (and by the way I never heard of a Dutch initiative to count the dead Afghani... but these are mainly very bad Talibans I suppose, so ...)

2006 October 11: Second publication by "The Lancet" Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey by Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, Les Roberts from John Hopkins University. (the first Lancet survey was published in October 2004).
Summary Background An excess mortality of nearly 100 000 deaths was reported in Iraq for the period March, 2003–September, 2004, attributed to the invasion of Iraq. Our aim was to update this estimate. Methods Between May and July, 2006, we did a national cross-sectional cluster sample survey of mortality in Iraq. 50 clusters were randomly selected from 16 Governorates, with every cluster consisting of 40 households. Information on deaths from these households was gathered. Findings Three misattributed clusters were excluded from the final analysis; data from 1849 households that contained 12 801 individuals in 47 clusters was gathered. 1474 births and 629 deaths were reported during the observation period. Pre-invasion mortality rates were 5·5 per 1000 people per year (95% CI 4·3–7·1), compared with 13·3 per 1000 people per year (10·9–16·1) in the 40 months post-invasion. We estimate that as of July, 2006, there have been 654 965 (392 979–942 636) excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war, which corresponds to 2·5% of the population in the study area. Of post-invasion deaths, 601 027 (426 369–793 663) were due to violence, the most common cause being gunfire. Interpretation The number of people dying in Iraq has continued to escalate. The proportion of deaths ascribed to coalition forces has diminished in 2006, although the actual numbers have increased every year. Gunfire remains the most common cause of death, although deaths from car bombing have increased.

San Francisco Chronicle gives o.m. dit commentaar: oktober 12:

The study, funded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, drew on data obtained by eight Iraqi physicians during a survey of 1,849 Iraqi families -- or 12,801 people -- in 47 neighborhoods of 18 regions across the entire country. The researchers said they based the selection of geographical areas on population size, not on the level of violence. Then they projected the findings to the 26.1 million Iraqis estimated to be living in the survey areas. The surveyors put Iraq's prewar mortality rate at 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people per year. In the post-invasion period, according to the survey, the rate grew to 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people per year. The surveyors used the difference between these rates to calculate deaths that were not brought on by natural causes. The survey suggests that of more than 650,000 Iraqis who died since 2003, 601,000 were killed since the war began. Polling experts supported the methods used by the surveyors. "The sampling is solid. The methodology is as good as it gets," said John Zogby, whose Utica, N.Y.-based polling agency, Zogby International, has done several surveys in Iraq since the war began. "It is what people in the statistics business do." Zogby said similar survey methods have been used to estimate casualty figures in other conflicts, such as Darfur and the Democratic People's Republic of Congo. Ronald Waldman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University who worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for many years, told the Washington Post the survey method was "tried and true." He said that "this is the best estimate of mortality we have."
The U.S. president stated that he believes that the study methodology "is pretty well discredited", and added: "I stand by the figure a lot of innocent people have lost their life. Six hundred thousand - whatever they guessed at - is just not credible." Mrs. Beckett (British government spokeswoman) said: "No-one disputes that there have been many deaths in Iraq and that all of those deaths are regretted and tragically many of them are deaths of civilians," she said. "That doesn't mean that one has to accept every figure someone comes up with. "All I can say is that the [Lancet] report gives a figure which is orders of magnitude different from that which comes from any other source.
Two graphs from the Lancet study published in 2004
September 21, 2006: -Iraq Body Count: War dead figures The number of civilians reported to have been killed during the Iraq war and subsequent military presence is being recorded by the campaign group Iraq Body Count. On 15 September 2006 it put the total number of reported civilian dead at 40,775 to 45,559 and the number of police dead at 2,437.
Say we know more or less the number of casualties, how many deaths, how many wounded, one needs to know who was killed for what reason to get to an understanding what is taking place.. An example of this can be found in a discussion on a seemingly |nice| graphic of a bad situation and the arguments that arose from it... the picture somewhat shrunk it does not really fir an average size computer screen). The original introduction text in the New York Times was: Op-Chart; 31 Days in Iraq By ADRIANA LINS DE ALBUQUERQUE AND ALICIA CHENG Published: February 6, 2006 In January more than 800 people -- soldiers, security officers and civilians -- were killed as a result of the insurgency in Iraq. While the daily toll is noted in the newspapers and on TV, it is hard for many Americans to see these isolated reports in a broader context. The map below, based on data from the American, British and Iraqi governments and news reports, shows the dates, locations and circumstances of deaths for the first month of the year. Given the fog of war, the information may be incomplete. Nonetheless, it is our effort to visually depict the continuing human cost of the Iraq war. Adriana Lins de Albuquerque is a doctoral student in political science at Columbia University. Alicia Cheng is a graphic designer at mgmt.design in Brooklyn.

This chart published in the New York Times has been criticized in an article in the magazine Seven Oaks, a magazine of politics, culture and resistance:

Lins de Albuquerque's introduction to the chart asserts: "In the first two weeks of January, at least 202 people died as a result of the insurgency in Iraq. The killings have been indiscriminate."2 As Dave Lindorff notes, however, the chart conceals more than it reveals, as it admittedly "does not include Iraqi civilians accidentally killed by coalition forces,"3 and the US and coalition troops have been killing civilians at "a rate both higher than the rate they are being killed by insurgents and higher than the rate that the U.S. forces have been killing insurgents."
While it is clear that the US and coalition forces have been killing more civilians than combatants and that more civilians have been killed by the US and coalition forces than by guerrillas, questions still remain. First of all, do Iraqi guerrillas themselves in fact attack more civilians than combatants, as the corporate media regularly suggests? M. Junaid Alam published an excellent article in LeftHook to answer this question: "Does the Resistance Target Civilians? According to US Intel, Not Really."7 Drawing upon Anthony H. Cordesman's report "The Developing Iraqi Insurgency: Status at End-2004"8 and "A Report Card on Iraqi Security"9 that accompanied Eric Schmitt's article "U.S. Commanders See Possible Cut in Troops in Iraq" in the New York Times,10 Alam graphically illustrates the fact that "the number of attacks on 'Coalition Forces' far exceeds that of any other category. . . . Indeed, attacks on military occupying forces, and by extension mostly US military forces, accounts for 75% of all attacks. Meanwhile, civilian targets comprise a mere 4.1% of attacks."
A newer study by the Brookings Institution for the period 2003-2006 comes to the same conclusion: most attacks are on the coalition forces In other words: who are the coalition troops protecting, apart from themselves?
One of the web-sites (iraq-kill-maim.org) with American soldiers that died in Iraq ... just some screen shots from one page; click the picture below for a direct link ...
As numbers are growing, representations are compacted ... like this US army personnel casualties web poster
Examples of visualization how the forces casualties hit back at home in the USA ... different from the Vietnam War blacks do not seem to have a higher casualties range ...

The web-page (Blo Cadre.com) that posted it has the following technical comment:

"I just came across a Google Maps hack that geocodes the home towns of Iraq war casualties and displays a visual timeline of the progression of U.S. soldier casualties throughout the war. This is the most recent in a whole slew of Google Maps hacks, where the service has been tweaked and augmented to map things such as housing, cheap gas, crime occurances in Chicago, and sexual predators in Florida."

Click map for direct link ...

Here I have lost the link and context... but will try to find it again...
The expansion of the Ottoman empire from 1300 till 1699
[1997 Encyclopaedia Brittanica maps that can be found on many educational web sites]
The decline of that same empire from 1807 till 1924.
A map of the 1916 agreement between Britain, France and Russia on the carving up of the Ottoman empire, establishing on forehand their zones of interest and power. The Ottoman empire was on the side of Axis power. The agreement is named after the main negotiators, Mark Sykes and rancois-Georges Picot: "The 1916 Syjkes-Picot Agreement".

[This map and further comments can be found at the web site of israelipalestinianprocon.org.]
Rado, Alex (1899-1981): - Atlas fur Politik Wirtschaft Arbeiterbewegung : I der Imperialismus (1930) [Verlag für Literatur und Politik; Wien/Berlin] This atlas made by a Hungarian geographer (who later became an important spy for the Soviet Union) shows how some of the strategic spots of today had that kind of importance already in the twenties of last century. One can see an early airline hopping from Great Britain to Gibraltar, Malta, Cairo, Baghdad and Basra ultimately to British India, Malaysia and Hong Kong. A curious thing is the partly realized, partly projected railway line: Berlin-Byzantium-Baghdad with an extension to Basra ... This was an old plan form the time that the Ottoman and German Empire were closely collaborating. The plan would have given the Germans free access to Iraqi oil, the Persian Gulf and their East African colonies, without passing the British controlled Gibraltar and Suez. The railway was only partly build and feared by the British, Russians and French, so after the defeat of both empires in World War I, only the Baghdad Basra part was build (by British troops) but the connection through the mountainous border region of nowadays Turkey and Iraq was never completed. This story of failed long distance railways in this part of the Middle East tells something of the lack of cooperation and integration and a long history of strive...

More information on the atlas of Rado can be found at my web pages about "Mapping Human Violence" (2.19)
To get an understanding of the economic scale of these oil into weapon affairs a map from one of the neo-Marxist atlases on world affairs published by Kiron at the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties of last century (curiously the Dutch publisher is the well established educational publisher Wolters Noordhoof, while the original Brutish publisher is the Left wing firm Pluto).
[more pages from this atlas on my web pages on "Mapping Human Violence", clcik map for link]
This map on the Iran Iraq war of the eighties of last century is a my scan from "Zones of conflict : an atlas of future wars" (1986) [Cape; London; XVII, 158 p. : ill., krt., tab.; 26 cm] I have not yet put this one on-line yet...The introduction - now twenty years ago written - is interesting:

Chess was, originally, a 'war game' and the board a simplification of the battlefield on which the ancient armies of cavalry and footmen met each other. Is it possible, in this apparently all-threatening world of military power in which we live, to apply a similar technique of simplification to its military geography? We believe it is. For all that there are now 140 armies in the world, a dozen major navies and air forces, five strategic nuclear forces and the beginnings of a military apparatus in space, the places in which military power can actually be applied are comparatively few. Geographical or climatic factors prevent military action over wide areas of the world. In many areas, where military movement is possible, the absence of targets worth capturing or destroying, or mere distance itself, makes strategic action unlikely. Many states, moreover, pursue good-neighbour policies or, even when they do not, are too weak to put bad intentions into effect. The result is to reduce to a mere handful the spots on the globe where the strategic chess-player will focus his attention. 'When' and 'how' trouble will happen he cannot predict. But 'where' is something he can identify with considerable accuracy.

The original book can be found at the University Library of Amsterdam: UB : Kaartenzl: V 2 D 1
Just some pictures of one of the most murderous post World War II conventional wars fought: total victims between 650.00 up till 1,5 million dead. Trenches, mustard gas, rocket attacks and the like ... hardly anybody demonstrated against this crime of two regimes... the answer why is hard to hear, but many must have thought: "it is only Muslims, let them kill each other..." In a way we (us Dutch, Westerners) pay now the price for this attitude of non-involvement.

Below a statistical overview I made this summer during what I call The Holiday war between Palestine, Israel and Lebanon. I felt that the reactions to this war were out of proportion, as it was a minor case and it brought back to me the bad feelings of the eighties concerning the Iran Iraq War... here as another addenda to the map this exercise... for the full context of that ongoing research click the graph for a direct link ...
Part of Iraqi oil is found in a nation without a state: Kurdistan. This map and cartoon taken from one of the many Kurdish nationalist web-sites show what the borders of Kurdistan would be if they could manage to establish their own state

The web site from which I took this map is one of the many personnel initiatives on the web. Let me quote the introduction to the web page to understand the picture above to understand something of the prevailing mood:

"Welcome To My Site. Here are pictures of my country, Kurdistan. Kurdistan is located in Meddle East, it is not a country because we are surrounded by enemies. Four countries make up Kurdistan and they are Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq."

Click cartoon map above for link...

The map on the left (telling how Kurdistan was before the Arabs, Persians and Turks reduced it) comes from an American Kurdish site www.kurdmedia.us;click the map for a link ...
This map shows where the Kurdish hold a majority, were they are mixed with other nations and where they are a minority population.

When one compares the two maps (maximum size Kurdistan above with these demographic realities below) it becomes clear that the creation of a Kurdish state could generate a lot of bloodshed. Just think about the recent and actual strive in the Balkans and the Caucasus...
This is one the many available maps showing ethnographic diversity and distribution of Iraq. The web site calls itself "MidEast Web GateWay and provides a great variety of maps and other sources on Iraq...

click map on left for the link to the map section

Directly below a small map that shows the Post Gulf War "No Fly Zone" from 1992 that would somehow protect the Iraqi minorities in the South and the North from aggression by the Saddam regime. One notices how ethnic areas are roughly translated in American Air Force flying strategies... By the way it did not stop Iraqi governmental from perpetrating violence in those areas
The Anfal Campaign against the Kurds in 1988 one of the crimes for which Saddam Hussein and his associates are on trial now...
This seems to be a Human Rights Watch map, which I found on a Kurdish site with the following comment:

Kurdish Genocide Just a few example of a narrative account of a campaign of extermination against the Kurds in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) is presented in this homepage. It is a product of tons of captured Iraqi government documents and carried out field interviews with more than 350 witnesses, most of them survivors of the 1988 campaign known as Anfal. It concludes that in that year the Iraqi regime committed the crime of genocide against the Kurds. Like Nazi Germany, the Iraqi regime concealed its actions in euphemisms. While Nazi officials spoke of "executive measures", and "special actions," as well as "resettlement in the east," Ba'athist bureaucrats spoke of "collective measures," a "return to the national ranks," and "resettlement in the south." Beneath the euhemisms, however, Iraq's crimes against the Kurds amount to genocide, the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such."

Click map for a link to the web site

The map below comes from this site... click logo or map
Another world view on oil from a brochure of the ARAMCO oil company - using the distorted scaling of world areas to express quantity - the major importance of the Arab countries made visible in relation to other parts of the world. What is interesting in this map is that in several cases 'grand' geophysical entities are used instead of national borders, indicating the irrelevance of national borders from a transnational, imperialist view. (this map comes from a personal Japanese web-site by Kanzo Kobayashi with an astonishing wide range of subjects

It is well known that oil and gas are finite resources representing stored solar energy. Consumption of these resources is reaching recently huge dimensions. Yearly we are consuming so much oil and gas as the nature produced in several million years. In the light of different, particular  contrary statements to the availability of oil and gas the question arises, how long the hydrocarbon era will continue? Figure 1 shows  schematically the oil production in the time frame between birth of Christ and the year 2500.  In this scale the hydrocarbon era is a short episode.

(from web site oilcrisis.com:
"Will the hydrocarbon era finish soon?")
"OPEC Ability to Offset Lost Iraqi Oil Doubted: Watchdog Implies Reserve May Be Tapped in a War; Ministers Fear a Price Drop," [3.13.03, A2]. "The International Energy Agency said OPEC alone won't be able to make up for lost Iraqi oil exports in the event of a war. The statement suggests that the agency, the oil-supply watchdog for the industrialized world, may need to tap into emergency oil reserves to maintain adequate supplies of crude and keep prices from skyrocketing. The IEA said the global oil-supply system is 'running on empty.' The warning countered a pledge made Tuesday by Ali Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, that 'there will be no shortage of oil in the event of a war. Yet the IEA data showed that Saudi capacity to offset losses was less than many had thought.

(source infoimagination.org)
The background image of this section of the scroll is Kuwait oil fields at the Persian Gulf, taken from one of the amateur satellite picture collectors sites... click the thumbnail to see the full scale version

Protesters carried pictures of people who lost their lives in the war in Iraq at a demonstration on May 1, 2004 in San Francisco

click picture for link
A US military ceremonial to honour those who died and express grieve, boots helmet and weapon are set up to represent the victims. This symbolism is later taken over by activists against the pursue of the Iraq intervention...

U.S. Marines line up during a memorial service for 31 servicemen at Korean Village, near Ar Rutbah, western Iraq Thirty Marines and one sailor died on Jan. 26, 2005 when their helicopter crashed near Ar Rutbah while conducting security operations

2004 January: Creative protest - 500 pairs of Army boots stand empty in Chicago Fed. plaza 2005: Eyes Wide Open: An Exhibition on the Human Cost of the Iraq War" hosted by St. Mary's University in San Antonio
Combat boots bearing the names of US soldiers killed in Iraq form an exhibit called Eyes Wide Open The Human Cost of War in Iraq, which has been displayed in 30 US cities. The author is surprisingly neither a demographer, historian, nor polemologist, but a business and market researcher who did get gripped by the eerie subject of 'mass death'. It is a unique and pioneering book on a subject that is obviously of great importance, but few have dared to touch. At first it seems beyond comprehension to speak about all violent death of a century, one runs the risk to drown in the foggy swamps of uncertain numbers and never well established facts. It will be easier to find out the number of air raids, the tonnage of bombs thrown, the number of tanks employed in such and such a battle, the millage of barbed wire produces, than to get to know the number of victims wrought by all this killing hardware. But most things can be measured, even on the basis of foggy facts, the margins that need to be employed may be wide, but after study of many sources and conflicting interpretations there must come a moment where one can establish the dimensions of what happened: at least so and so, certainly not more than... in the end "an order of magnitude" can be established.

For more details, links and quotations see my web pages on Mapping Human Violence; click cover of book for link...
understanding the moral significance of scale

What is the moral context in which we should see those killed by violence? There exists a view that one violent death has the same moral value as a thousand or a million deaths. Presumably 'moral value', in this view, is kept in jars of concentrated essence on the shelves of philosophers, or in the divine pantry. The killer cannot add to his sin by committing more than one murder. However, every victim of murder would claim, if he could, that his death had a separate moral value. Thus there is an accretion of moral significance in quantity of deaths. There is no doubt that this is difficult for the imagination to compute. After a certain stage in assimilating casualties, the rest seems an ( indigestible piling-on of horror and numbers. So long as the moral significance of scale is not understood, only the crudest relationships can be made in the discussion of macro-violence: the Nazis were wicked, Stalin was a monster, and so forth. How then are we to understand scale? As we have seen, it is absurd to look upon the hundred million or so man-made deaths of the twentieth century as the 'cost' of conflict, as though they were the casualty returns of a field commander. They are more directly comparable with the scale of death from disease and plague which was the accepted norm before this century. Indeed, man-made death has largely replaced these as a source of untimely death. This is the kind of change that Hegel meant when he said that a quantitative change, if large enough, could bring about a qualitative change. The quality of this particular change becomes clear if we connect the present total of deaths with the scale of death inherent in the weapons now possessed by the large powers. Nuclear strategists talk in terms of hundreds of millions of deaths, of the destruction of whole nations and even of the entire human race. The moral significance is inescapable. If morality refers to relations between individuals, or between the individual and society, then there can be no more fundamental moral issue than the continuing survival of individuals and societies. The scale of man-made death is the central moral as well as material fact of Our time. The 'historical necessity' of Marxist materialism as well as the individual morality of Christianity must bow to its significance. [p.5-6; Elliot (1972) Twentieth century book of the dead]

Kanan Makiya: The Monument. art and vulgarity in Saddam Huseins Iraq. A quote in the right hand column:
During the 1970's and 1980's money from oil revenues was allocated to building of new monuments in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein laid out new ceremonial avenues and ordered large monuments raised at the city's major -intersections. He has built two victory arches in the capital, an unknown soldier's tomb, a martyrs' memorial and dozens of small statues and fountains. An amusement park is located at the martyr's memorial, a playground is next to the triumphal arches, and a theater is located within the complex of the triumphal arches. According to Kanan Makiya [writing under the pen name Samir Al-Khalil], author of The Monument: Art, Vulgarity and Responsibility in Iraq (1991), many of Iraq's war memorials were commissioned before the supposed victories they celebrate were even declared. Certain types of property are identified by the laws of war as exempt from attack (unless misused) or seizure. The exemptions are made on both an humanitarian (schools and hospitals), cultural (museums and monuments) and legal order (prevention of looting and pillaging) basis. The following sections deal with those exemptions based upon property types. Note, however, that the protection is not absolute. There must be some reasonably close connection between the destruction of property and the overcoming of the enemy's army. during the Gulf War the Allies avoided bombing numerous Iraqi cultural monuments, including the statute of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. According to General Schwarzkopf [It Doesn't Take A Hero, (Bantam, 1992) p. 455] "I had spoken to Powell regularly throughout the day. ...At ten p.m., I called to give him a final update. I was tired; at the end of the conversation I heard myself say how much I'd like to blow up the giant Saddam statue and the Victory Arch in downtown Baghdad. The Victory Arch, a monument to the war against Iran, was a huge sculpture of two hands, said to be Saddam's, holding two swords crossed. We'd spared both the statue and the Victory Arch during the air campaign because they weren't military targets. To my surprise, Powell was all for it-- although he suggested we check with the president first. Pentagon lawyers vetoed the idea a couple of days later..."
Tuesday March 4 2003: I went with Trish and Muhammad (our driver) this afternoon to see the Monument of the Martyrs, an enormous structure honoring the Iraqi soldiers that died in the war with Iran.  From a half-mile away as we approached the site, we saw a blue sphere, shaped like an upside-down heart, broken into two parts, forever divided. ~ Once we arrived, we passed through a gate into a one hundred yard marble court leading to the monument.  We passed two Iraqi soldiers along the way that were happy to pose for photographs. At the base of the upside-down broken heart was a fountain that filled a basin, which overflowed into a waterfall that landed one level below. The stairs we descended wrapped around the waterfall and led us to a dimly lit, subdued, marble interior, where a wall loomed before us. ~ Name after name of dead Iraqi soldiers from the Iran-Iraq war was etched from floor to ceiling on this wall that curved around and seemed to go forever. Around a million Iraqis, I'm told, died in that war.  From a population of 20 million at the time, the staggering loss was felt in every home in this country, and the senselessness and grief was palpable all around me as the water falling from the broken heart rang in my ears.  I asked Mohammad what he was feeling (he fought and was injured in this war), and he seemed confused at first.  Nobody had ever asked him this question, perhaps. He said, "it's like Vietnam."  In broken English he explained that he fought because he was told to, and after eight years both countries were destroyed. (Description on an American peace oriented web-site, Louisvile.peace.org of a visit by a peace activist Doug Johnson)

Some sources say that there are (only) 200.000 names etched in the monument, although the death toll of the Iran-Iraq War just on the Iraqi side has been much higher.
Monument for the approximate 5.000 inhabitants of the Kurdish village of Halabja killed by a poison gas attack in 1988. In the inside names of the victims have been engraved in stone.
For detailed photo-documentation see the Hellebje web-pages
Some more monumental works initiated by Saddam Hussein: the victory arch and the unknown soldier tomb ...

The small collection of artworks at show on the web-site maps the mood of the country under Ba'thist rule during the last quarter of last century. The picture to the left below is by Iraqi artist Baldin Ahmad, made in 1979. The full collection can be found at the web-site of the Iraq memory Foundation

This picture comes from an exhibition of contemporary Iraqi book art in the USA: Kareem Rissan, Pilot Vision of Baghdad, 2003 35 x 25 cm. Mixed media on handmade paper. Click picture for link
1986 Godhar: untitles 1995 Jabber Alwan: uprising 2000 Ismail Khayat: the death in Halabja

Saddam had a great admiration for pre-Islamic Mesopotamia culture... he has studied some law in Cairo when in exile from Iraq and later posed as Justitia with sword and scales. One of the oldest known written law is the Codex of Hammurabi (1728-1686 BC) , it has 282 articles engraved in cuneiform script in stone. The original codex pillar has been robbed by the Persians and landed in the beginning of last century in the Louvre in Paris.
When Marduk sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right to the land, I did right and righteousness in . . . , and brought about the well-being of the oppressed

 If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.

If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.

If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.

 If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.

VOS, Marten de (b. 1532, Antwerpen, d. 1603, Antwerpen) The Tribunal of the Brabant Mint in Antwerp 1594 Oil on panel, 157 x 215 cm Rockox House, Antwerp.

click picture for a link to a bigger version on the excellent Hungarian Web gallery of Art...

The painting, which is a tableau representing justice, was painted in 1594 to hang in the Law Court of the 'Minters' of the Duchy of Brabant. Such paintings were intended to remind both Judges and those seeking justice of their duty and responsibilities.

The members of the Brabant League of Minters commissioned the painting, and had themselves depicted (from the waist up) in the background, behind the symbolic figures from classical antiquity surrounding Justitia herself. Justitia, crowned with laurels and holding the scales of justice and a sword, triumphs over deceit and violence, symbolized by a masked woman caught in her own web and a violent miscreant who has been disarmed. In the foreground on the left, Moses is depicted with the Tables of the Law, and on his right the Emperor Justinian, the codifier of Roman Law. On the right there is the bearded Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, who compiled sacred laws inspired by his wife, the nymph Egeria. On the far right, Pliny the Elder can be seen, with his left hand resting on the 37 scientific works he wrote.

In a nutshell, the message of this scene is that justice triumphs over deceit and violence, and that judges should judge according to sacred and civil law, guided by knowledge and science.
The first forensic investigation into the murder by Saddam Hussein of hundreds of thousands of his people was made public yesterday after the excavation of a mass grave containing the bodies of blindfolded women, some with babies in their arms. An American-led team has been secretly investigating a mass grave near the village of Hatra, in northern Iraq, where about 300 bodies have been found. Thousands more may be lying undiscovered.   Michael Trimble and Greg Keboe at a mass grave near Hatra The Iraqi government has identified 40 mass graves. But this is the first time that a proper study has been carried out because previous graves in the centre and south of the country were generally excavated by distraught relatives determined to give the victims a decent burial. The findings will be used by investigators for the Iraqi special tribunal which is seeking evidence to try Saddam and other leading Ba'ath Party members for crimes against humanity. (...) Since July 5, investigators from the tribunal have been compiling evidence from documents seized after the fall of Saddam's regime, as well as first-hand accounts and mass graves that have so far been unearthed. Human rights groups say the former regime killed an estimated 250,000 Shia Muslims and 50,000 ethnic Kurds.
But... on the side..., also this must be noted...
-July 18, 2004: Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered. The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves. In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'

Jacques Iraq aka Jacques Chirac: French Policy Against Ousting Saddam Hussein in 2003, is a pro Israel, anti Iraq view on the friendship between these two man of state..

click image for link to Australian site
I can leave the old friendship between Chirac and Saddam to the reader... one search and titles like this pop up constantly

-La France est aussi responsable que les Etats-Unis de la guerre qui s’annonce

- L'amitié franco-irakienne

- IRAK: Saddam Hussain a trop de sang sur les mains..

- Saddam Hussein: le bal des faux-culs

This book was first published in the USA in 1991 by an American journalist Kenneth Timmerman (1953-) who has been following the wars in the Middle East since 1982. The book details among other subjects the French and USSR arms sales to Iraq. Some excerpts are on line.

"A devastating and persuasive indictment of Governmental stupidity, bureaucratic incompetence and corporate greed that enabled the Iraqi war machine to become the monster we had to face in the fall of 1990." Frederick Forsyth
Published in 2001 with the subtitle "The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons" By Jeff Stein and Khidhir Hamza: "The Iraqi scientist who designed Baghdad's nuclear bomb tells how he did it in secret with the cynical help of U.S., French, German, and British suppliers and experts, and kept it hidden from U.N. inspectors after the Gulf War. Today, he says, Saddam Hussein is only months away from making a workable bomb and has every intention of using it."
You can access the SIPRI database directly to check this or other findings. There is also a more detailed version of this graph relating it to membership of The United Nations Security Council and the decisions related to the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Solport web site)

Quiet another perspective (February 1998) on the Iraq positions in relation to arms in the Middle East comes from what seems to be a moderate (critical on Israel but not overtly anti-zionist) American Foundation called 'The Wisdom Fund' (to advance social justice and interfaith understanding by presenting The Truth About Islam.) The title of the article reads: "Iraq's Arsenal Dwarfed by Israel's Weapons of Mass destruction".

Mass graves in the aftermath of the Gulf War, a product of false promises of protection and a call to revolt by Bush senior (who is neither on trial himself, nor a witness in the tribunal of Saddam Hussein).
Recently we visited Human Rights Watch of Karbala (HRWK), an organization founded on April 5, 2003, immediately after the fall of Saddam's regime. HRWK was the first organization to discover mass graves in the region, and has been involved in opening them, documenting the identities of the victims, and notifying the families of the victims' whereabouts. Forty-one of the forty-three mass graves near Karbala date back to 1991, when Saddam crushed a Shiite uprising seeking to depose him shortly after the first Gulf War. Estimates of the total number of victims in mass graves throughout the country range as high as 300,000. Many Americans would agree with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who commented that, "Once the war was over and I saw the mass graves and the true extent of Saddam's genocidal evil, my view was that Mr. Bush did not need to find any W.M.D.'s to justify the war for me." But unlike Friedman, many of those Iraqis whose relatives were murdered and dumped in these mass graves had something other than praise for the US government. As one Iraqi from HRWK told us, "The U.S. let Saddam's regime do what it did and therefore the mass graves are also the responsibility of the United States. For this reason we don't believe the US came [in 2003] to bring freedom to Iraqis."

See for details Christian Peacemaker team web site CPT.org
Open burial trench
Remembering the dead
One of the grave markers
Some graves have only numbers to identify them


This long, long page with links ends here and the choices I have made of images and texts are nothing more than desperate attempts to make some sense out of a mass of information and desinformation that is beyond the capacity of any of us... You need not approve of my choices; I may have quoted a bastard here or forgot about a very good person elsewhere; it is hardly possible to get a complete understanding of a subject so complex as Iraq and its former leader who stands on trial now...

Tjebbe van Tijen/Imaginary Museum Projects 17/10/2006