Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddam's Years of Playing Footsie with the United States

* Henley:
"And it’s also true that the US and its Iraqi allies chose to try Saddam on one of his relatively minor crimes because if they did so they could get him safely hung before they had to try him for the major ones, the gas attacks and massacres that happened during The Years of Playing Footsie with the United States. The Dujail reprisals were a war crime, no doubt about it, a bigger sham of justice than Saddam’s own trial, by two orders of magnitude. They were also the sort of war crime that people like Ralph Peters and a hundred other pundits and parapundits think the United States should be committing. Every time you read a complaint about “politically correct rules of engagement” you are reading someone who would applaud a Dujail-level slaughter if only we were to perpetrate it. Those are the people who are happiest of all about tonight’s execution. Smells like - victory! "

* also, FAIR, from 2004:
"How easy it is to praise your own country for the same actions you condemned when performed by its enemies."
* lgm:
"Excuses for war are like buses; there's always another one coming. The problem with war against Iran is that it's a terrible idea on its merits. It's a high risk, no payoff maneuver. Indeed, in spite of the mental gymnastics of such luminaries as Arthur Herman, there's almost no way to sketch out a scenario in which war gets us what we want from Iran without also incurring exorbitant costs. "

* chs has a lovely post about saddam, defendants, and the death penalty - she ends thusly:
"The search for justice comes in the little actions, the difficult choices, the close cases, the ones where you have a difficult defendant who has committed heinous atrocities, and you still have the character and the moral standing to treat that person with the same standing as anyone else would be given under the rule of law. Was that the case for Saddam Hussein? History will long-from-now look back on this and judge it, kindly or harshly, but in the meantime, the world looks on and we will know their judgment soon enough. But it is my own doubts about our role in this process that are causing me to ask questions — and I am not certain that the answers will bring me much, if any, comfort.

But, search we all must, because that is our duty as citizens of this nation. For it is in the accounting of this and every other case that the true search for justices lies. Especially where those answers seem as difficult as these may be."

* jonathon:
"I realize I shouldn't be shocked by anything anymore...but I am shocked and frightened by the way this has happened. I honestly never believed the Bush administration could get away with preventing Saddam from speaking about his longtime collaboration with the U.S., which started in the late fifties. (Of course, Saddam may have had his own reasons for not, uh, emphasizing this.) And I really didn't think they could off him with no trial for the large-scale crimes we assisted with. But apparently they can. It's just a few steps short of an intra-mob hit."

* here's a comment from gatewaypundit's site - just for fun:
"Liberalism is a mental disorder wherein any absurd and bigoted belief that supports its agenda must be tolerated, promoted by force and revered as doctrine by its fanatical partisans. Any and all means will be employed to achieve its despotic and tyrannical objectives, even the embracing of an enemy sworn to destroy its own existence and the sacrifice of its unborn infants."

* glenn:
"For the Bush apologists who require them, help yourselves to all the meaningless caveats you want. Saddam Hussein was far more brutal, more tyrannical, more liberty-abridging than George Bush. When it comes to internal repression, the two should not be compared.

Those who take comfort in comparisons like that, who think that these sorts of rationalizations constitute some kind of mitigating argument -- "hey, American behavioral standards still hover above those of Saddam's Baathist Iraq, so only deranged Bush-haters would object to America's treatment of its detainees!" -- are precisely the people who have no understanding of what kind of country America is supposed to be."


USpace said...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
admire brutal dictators

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
mourn evil tyrants

Simon said...

Jim Henley says:

The Dujail reprisals were a war crime, no doubt about it, a bigger sham of justice than Saddam’s own trial, by two orders of magnitude.

Whilst I've got to preface this by saying that Jim is coming from the right side of the street here, he certainly isn't seeing the level of traffic passing by.

Dujail wasn't a war crime, it was an act of brutal reprisal aimed at the members and families and supporters of the Dawa party, a group very strongly opposed to the rule of Saddam. Dujail was a stronghold of that party and what happened there only occurred as a result of the actions of anti-Saddamists attempting assassination.

The truly sad thing is that the reprisals there are far from over. Indeed, more now may die there than did in 1982.

Dujail Pays for Saddam Verdict

Residents of Dujail say Sunnis are out to get them, following Saddam’s conviction.

By Nesir Kadhim in Dujail (ICR No. 203, 24-Nov-06)

Saddam Hussein may have been sentenced to death, but the people of Dujail are not at peace.

They have mixed feelings about the conviction of the former dictator and his aides for ordering the mass executions of men from Dujail after a failed assassination attempt against Saddam in 1982.

The predominantly Shia village, 65 kilometres north of Baghdad, is surrounded by Sunni settlements who have vowed to avenge Saddam's conviction, according to Dujail residents.

From the very beginning of the trial last year, local Shia urged the Iraqi government to protect them from possible retaliatory action which had been threatened in the event of Saddam being found guilty in the Dujail trial.

After the verdict, even those who'd lost members of their family in the mass executions did not dare cheer the verdict in public.

Dujail residents say it's now very risky for them to commute to Baghdad. The highway is notorious for abductions and assassinations, but they feel particularly vulnerable because of their village's associations.

Mohammed Jawad, a trader from Dujail, was kidnapped on his way to Baghdad near al-Mishahada, a Sunni village close to the village, only a week before the trial verdict.

Jawad said his abductors accused Shia from Dujail of treachery. When he told them that he is Sunni, they asked him to prove it by praying in front of them. So he did, and they let him go, with a message to deliver to his neighbours.

"They told me to tell them that their judgement day is coming soon and that they will be killed one by one if Saddam is executed," he said...

Saddam's demise was handled so badly that the outcome for those that were supposed to be avenged will instead suffer far more vengeance than they faced in the first place.

The sad thing is that we probably aren't going to hear anything more about this. It will all be lost in the midst of the fog of civil war.

Victors justice? No - there are no winners to be found anywhere, either inside or outside Iraq.

Superteemu said...

I've been too busy to read the reactions of other writers, but I wonder if any mus-com sympathizer has yet actually compared Dujail 1982 to Fallujah 2004 or Lebanon 2006.

(And happy new year from us still in 2006.)

Simon said...


...but I wonder if any mus-com sympathizer has yet actually compared...

You're stretching it a bit with this one. I had to do a google to find out what mus-com even meant, and still came up with a complete blank even then!

(I don't honestly think that there's even a valid comparison here. The situations were too completely different to allow for one to be made.)

This is good though, and offers educated perspective from Paul Wolf, one of Saddam's defence team:

...The President and other members of his government were convicted for the execution of about 140 persons from the Iraqi town of Dujail, found guilty of treason in 1982. After two years of interrogation, many had confessed to collaborating with Iran during its war with Iraq, and of trying to kill their own President. A trial of some sort was held, and 140 people were found guilty.

Details of the 1982 proceedings are sketchy and were not permitted into evidence in Saddam's own trial. This is the irony of the trial of Saddam Hussein - he was just executed for approving the executions of others, 24 years before, without affording them fair trials, yet was not able to use transcripts of those trials in his own defense.

Irony upon irony...

(HNY 2 U 2!)

Superteemu said...

I thought it as a severe case of collective punishment, something one sees happening by peace-loving nations too - and being advocated by pundits, like Henley said above. While the events haven't been similar, I'd like to hear from some pro-kill pundit the arguments that apply to Saddam case but not to these acts by others.

(I adopted mus-com, or muslim-commies, from Jesus' General. Apply the term like "dirty liberal hippies".)

I'm off to see some rockets, celebrate safely. :)