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Monday, October 24, 2005

Charging Saddam Hussein With Tax Evasion

Five indisputable points on the trial of Saddam Hussein:

1. The U.S. Army and Iraqi athorities are unable to safeguard the lives of witnesses, judges, and lawyers involved with the case.
2. Hussein was supported by the CIA, the U.S. military, and U.S. defense contractors during the Reagan and Bush I administration up until the gulf war.
3. If we really wanted a fair trial conducted in a manner the rest of the world could support, we'd hold it at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
4. This trial has a foregone conclusion. Hussein will die prior to any discussion of the role played by the forces mentioned in point number two. Dead men tell no tales.
5. Just as capturing Hussein did nothing to weaken the insurgency, his death will also accomplish nothing other than sating our thirst for vengange, stoking the fires of resistance to the U.S. occupation, and covering the tracks of a misguided U.S. policy in the Middle East over the last two decades.

A fair trial? That's the last thing the Bush Administration wants!

A fair trial conducted in a neutral venue would probably arrive at the same conculsion regarding Hussein's dictatorial rule itself, but it wouldn't stand a chance of absolving Hussein's patrons of their culpability.

Chris Walker on the Hussein Trial...

"...BBC Radio Scotland asked me, on Wednesday, to take part in a discussion on Saddam's trial: would it be fair and should he be executed were the questions. Almost an oxymoron.

Given that the US has picked the judges and determined the terms of reference of the proceedings, it will fall somewhat short of fairness, at least in the sense of allowing the accused to reveal who his accomplices were (the CIA), who brought him to power (the CIA) and who supplied his weaponry (yes, you got it). The Human Rights Watch report on US army torture in Iraq has recently stated that "in a way it was sport". The trial is designed along the same Wayne Rooneyesque lines. Keep the world's attention away from Halabja (and the period 1975-90) by focusing on Dubjail. A bit like charging Al Capone with tax evasion. Meanwhile, justify the illegal war by telling us that Saddam was a bad man.

Ironically, when I lived under Saddam's gentle tutelage for several years in the 1980s I worked closely with two American lawyers, Harvard graduates both – they were developing Iraqi planning laws while I focused on demographics and water resources. Saddam was our friend then, a bulwark against Shia fundamentalism. Millions of Iraqi dead later, Shia fundamentalism is on the cusp of realisation in Iraq amid a civil war. Bring on balkanisation. Funny old thing, war."

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