YES! Weekly errs in saying Saddam’s sons were executed

by Patrick Mayo

I realize YES! Weekly runs editorials. I also realize opinions differ widely and that is one of the greatest benefits of being an American. My main gripe is not with Molly Ivins’ largely unpatriotic column or Jordan Green’s fueling the protest bandwagon. I have a serious problem with the YES! Weekly editorial staff’s column bashing the war and Saddam finally receiving a small fraction of the justice he deserves [“Vengeance not justice message of hanging”; Jan. 8, 2007].The staff at YES! Weekly obviously has no perspective on the issue so please allow me to provide some.

Uday and Qusay were raised to be more brutal than their father. Saddam Hussein is without a doubt one of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century. He ordered the killing of untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Saudis and Americans. The fast death he received is only a tiny fraction of what he deserved. The killings are only where it started. Hundreds of thousands were also brutally tortured by the orders of Saddam.

He rewarded his sons by letting them watch videos of political prisoners being raped, beaten, tortured and killed. A common birthday present for his sons was a loaded pistol and a shackled prisoner. They were permitted to unload the entire clip in to the tortured, but still living, prisoner. Uday punished the Iraqi Olympic athletes by such means as locking them in iron chests under the hot sun for hours on end simply for losing a game. They deserved their deaths as well. And they were not “executed” as YES! Weekly has accused the military of doing. We arrived to arrest them and they refused through the means of gunfire. We have our rules of engagement and according to those we are permitted to fire in this situation. They were killed in a gunfight, not executed.

Saddam, on the other hand, was arrested as we had tried to do with Uday and Qusay. He was tried, convicted and rightfully executed by Iraq. YES! Weekly’s implication that the video on the internet or the means by which it was conducted is the fault of the USA is blatantly wrong. He was killed through much more humane means and allowed more dignity than he gave to those he executed for far less crimes, if any crimes at all.

As a recently separated US Marine and a new business owner in Greensboro I am disgusted by the lack of knowledge and accusations by those who know far too little to be making them. Fox News and CNN are not accurate situation reports, they are “news.” If they were to report on the many positive aspects of the current situation ratings would drop because, as YES! Weekly stated, the president’s approval rating is under 30 percent. The moneymaker for any news source, present company included, is blood and hate. Appeal to the masses that hate the president and you will succeed. I am tired of my brothers in arms being dragged down so media outlets can make a buck. It is disgraceful that YES! Weekly said, and I quote, “Uday and Qusay, were executed in 2003 by US forces.” They were shooting at us and you imply we had no right to bomb the house they were using as a fort.

Politics aside, while there are a very, very select few bad apples in the military, the force as a whole is honorable. I can speak more specifically for the US Marine Corps’ core values, the first of which is “honor.” Just because you opted to run an editorial two pages later about the gratitude owed to the military does not give YES! Weekly the right to call us executioners.

I would be appeased with a simple retraction of this statement and the use of a little more perspective and understanding in future op-eds. Please realize what little right one has to make blind accusations until you fully understand the culture, laws, politics and other mitigating factors.

Patrick Mayo lives in Greensboro.

Editor’s note: According to Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez of the US Central Command, Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed in a four-hour firefight in Mosul July 22, 2003 by US 101st Airborne Division troopers. YES! Weekly regrets the error.