Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been executed, a witness said.

“Saddam’s body is in front me,” said an official in the prime minister’s office when CNN telephoned. “It’s over.”

In the background, Shiite chanting could be heard. When asked about the chanting, the official said “These are employees of the prime minister’s office and government chanting in celebration.”

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not attend the execution, according to an adviser to the prime minister who was interviewed on state television.

The execution was videotaped and photographed, state television reported, and those images will be distributed to the media.

Al-Arabiya television network reported that Barzan Hassan, Hussein’s half-brother, and Awad Bandar, former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were hanged after Hussein. All three were convicted of killings in the Iraqi town of Dujail nearly 25 years ago.

Now, Saddam is no more, let us try analyze what lead to this in views by Noam Chomsky in a recent interview.

Q. From invasions to reasons for staying. What would constitute ‘victory’? What are the motivations guiding US policy? What went wrong? What explains the calls for withdrawal? Impact of anti-war campaigns and comparisons with Vietnam? What are the options? Is division a solution?

Noam Chomsky: The official reason was what Bush, Powell, and others called “the single question”: will Saddam end his development of Weapons of Mass Destruction? The official Presidential Directive states the primary goal as to:

“Free Iraq in order to eliminate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and associated programs, to prevent Iraq from breaking out of containment and becoming a more dangerous threat to the region and beyond.”

That was the basis for congressional support for the invasion. The Directive goes on with the goal of cutting “Iraqi links to and sponsorship of international terrorism,” etc. A few phrases are thrown in from the standard boilerplate about freedom that accompanies every action, and is close to a historical universal, hence dismissed as meaningless by reasonable people, but there to be dredged up by the doctrinal system when needed.

When the “single question” was answered the wrong way, and the claims about international terrorism became too much of an embarrassment to repeat (though not for Cheney and a few others), the goal was changed to “democracy promotion.” The media and journals, along with almost all scholarship, quickly jumped on that bandwagon, relieved to discover that this is the most “noble war” in history, pursuing Bush’s “messianic mission” to bring freedom and democracy to the world. Some Iraqis agreed: 1% in a poll in Baghdad just as the noble vision was declared in Washington. In the West, in contrast, it doesn’t matter that there is a mountain of evidence refuting the claim, and even apart from the timing—which should elicit ridicule—the evidence for the “mission” is that our Dear Leader so declared. I’ve reviewed the disgraceful record in print. It continues with scarcely a break to the present, so consistently that I’ve stopped collecting the absurd repetitions of the dogma.

The real reason for the invasion, surely, is that Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, very cheap to exploit, and lies right at the heart of the world’s major hydrocarbon resources, what the State Department 60 years ago described as “a stupendous source of strategic power.” The issue is not access, but rather control (and for the energy corporations, profit). Control over these resources gives the US “critical leverage” over industrial rivals, to borrow Zbigniew Brezinski’s phrase, echoing George Kennan when he was a leading planner and recognized that such control would give the US “veto power” over others. Dick Cheney observed that control over energy resources provides “tools of intimidation or blackmail”—when in the hands of others, that is. We are too pure and noble for those considerations to apply to us, so true believers declare—or more accurately, just presuppose, taking the point to be too obvious to articulate.

There was unprecedented elite condemnation of the plans to invade Iraq, even articles in the major foreign policy journals, a publication of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and others. Sensible analysts were able to perceive that the enterprise carried significant risks for US interests, however conceived. Global opposition was utterly overwhelming, and the likely costs to the US were apparent, though the catastrophe created by the invasion went far beyond anyone’s worst expectations. It’s amusing to watch the lying as the strongest supporters of the war try to deny what they very clearly said. There is a good review of the “mendacity” of neocon intellectuals (Ledeen, Krauthammer, and others) in The American Conservative, Jan.

More on this detailed interview here .

What do you think on Iraq and the way Saddam was brought to justice.