Sunday, January 14, 2007

Saddam's crimes and US collaboration

Have a look at an excellent slide show about Saddam Hussein and US complicity in his crimes and read the interesting article by Gwynne Dyer about the reasons for Saddam's hanging and the dirty secrets of US foreign policy he took to his grave.

"... They actually hanged Saddam for the judicial murder of 144 villagers in the town of Dujail who were allegedly involved in a plot to kill him in 1982.

Dujail? Here is a man who began his career in power in the late 1960s by exterminating the entire (mostly Shia) leadership of the Communist party in Iraq, went on to launch an invasion of Iran in 1980 that cost up to half a million lives, massacred his own Kurdish population in 1987-88 when some of their leaders sided with the Iranians, invaded Kuwait in 1990, and massacred Iraqi Shias in 1991 when they rebelled against his rule at the end of that war. And they hanged him for Dujail?

It’s as if they had taken Adolf Hitler alive in 1945 but ignored his responsibility for starting the Second World War and his murder of six million Jews and just put him on trial for executing people suspected of involvement in the July 1944 bomb plot. With all of Saddam’s other crimes to choose from, why on earth would you hang him for executing the people suspected of involvement in the Dujail plot?

Because the United States was not involved in that one. It was involved in the massacre of the Iraqi Communists. (The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency gave Saddam their membership lists.) It was implicated up to its ears in Saddam’s war against Iran—to the point of arranging for Iraq to be supplied with the chemicals to make poison gas, providing Baghdad with satellite and AWACS intelligence data on Iranian targets, and seconding U.S. air force photo interpreters to Baghdad to draw Saddam the detailed maps of Iranian trenches that let him drench them in poison gas.

The Ronald Reagan administration stopped Congress from condemning Saddam’s use of poison gas, and the U.S. State Department tried to protect Saddam when he gassed his own Kurdish citizens in Halabja in 1988, spreading stories (which it knew to be false) that Iranian planes had dropped the gas. It was the U.S. that finally saved Saddam’s regime by providing naval escorts for tankers carrying oil from Arab Gulf states while Iraqi planes were left free to attack tankers coming from Iranian ports. Even when one of Saddam’s planes mistakenly attacked an American destroyer in 1987, killing 37 crew members, Washington forgave him. ..."


Riadh R. Muslih's father, a former Interior Minister of Iraq was murdered by Saddam's henchmen. He nevertheless does not approve of the way Saddam was tried and then killed.

What I really wanted in a trial for Saddam Hussein was for it to be fair, open, and impartial. Even killers like Saddam deserve a fair trial.

I wanted a fair trial because I wished that a new regime would also be a new beginning where everyone, ruler and ruled, were judged equally and fairly. I was hoping a fair trial would set the stage for the rule of law in a born-again Iraqi and Arab society.

And I did not wish him the death penalty.

Why, I was asked time and again. Particularly in light of Saddam’s ruthless history and for his central part in the killing of my own father.

As a matter of principle, I’ve always opposed capital punishment anywhere, any time and for whatever reason.

... I particularly opposed the death penalty for Saddam and any other politician in Iraq because killing one’s political opponents (usually of the previous regime) has been a trademark in Iraqi political discourse. ...

Justice cannot be served by more killings, even if the one killed was convicted of mass murders or genocide.