Battlepanda: Farce


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


However, Saddam is not being tried for the atrocity at Halabja, nor indeed for any other crime that the world had heard about before this trial: the aggression against Iran, for example, or the slaughter of the Shias who responded to George Bush snr's summons to revolt at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Those topics are off-limits because, in one way or another, they implicate the US in his crimes.

Instead, he is being tried for the torture and execution of 148 people, whom he suspected of being involved in an assassination attempt against him, in the village of Dujail in 1982. In theory, he might be tried later for some of his larger crimes, but that won't happen in practice because the new Iraqi law decrees that all appeals must be completed and a death sentence carried out within 30 days of the accused being found guilty. [snip]

It would have been possible to try Saddam and his companions before an international court, too. In fact, it would have been a lot easier than it was in 1945, since there are now many precedents for such a court. But an international court would need to have tried Saddam on charges of waging aggressive war (against Iran and Kuwait) and pursuing a policy of genocide (against the Kurds), which would have brought up all sorts of awkward history from the days when the US and Saddam were effectively allies.

I think Gwynne Dyer overstates her point when she said that "...the court is accomplishing the improbable feat of turning this monster of a man into a hero and a martyr in the eyes of many people across the Arab world, and even in Iraq itself." I'm sure most Iraqis and Arabs are capable of remembering his atrocities and the complicity of the United States in them all on their own. Otherwise, the piece is pretty much spot-on.