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Thursday, December 01, 2005

So what's Saddam on trial for?

Compare and contrast.

From Karen Spector at Truthdig:
The first charge for which Hussein is to stand trial concerns the execution of 143 people from the town of Dujail, Iraq, a mixed Shiite and Sunni town, which was the site of an assassination attempt on Hussein on July 8, 1982. The roundup and execution of 143 Dujail villagers occurred as part of a full-scale military operation and wholesale reprisal for the attempt on Husseinís life.
From Seymour Hersh, 9/27/02:
On Saturday, June 26, 1993, twenty-three Tomahawk guided missiles, each loaded with a thousand pounds of high explosives, were fired from American Navy warships in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea at the headquarters complex of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service, in downtown Baghdad. The attack was in response to an American determination that Iraqi intelligence, under the command of President Saddam Hussein, had plotted to assassinate former President George Bush during Bush's ceremonial visit to Kuwait in mid-April. It was President Bill Clinton's first act of war.

Three of the million-dollar missiles missed their target and landed on nearby homes, killing eight civilians, including Layla al-Attar, one of Iraq's most gifted artists. The death toll was considered acceptable by the White House; after all, scores of civilians had been killed in the Reagan Administration's F-111 bombing attack on Muammar Qaddafi's housing-and-office complex in Tripoli, Libya, in 1986. Clinton Administration officials acknowledged that they had been "lucky," as one national-security aide put it, in that only three of the computer-guided missiles went off course. Nearly three hundred Tomahawks had been fired during the Gulf War, with a higher rate of inaccuracy.
And despite this and other acts of retribution against Iraq for the alleged assassination plot (see Hersh for more on whether there actually was one, or a connection to Iraq if so), including lots of other cruise missile and bombing raids and years of brutal anctions killing hundreds of thousands, Clinton's successor-in-crime still felt the need for retribution ("he tried to kill my dad") and started a brutal and criminal war ten years later. Saddam deserves to be on trial as the "Butcher of Baghdad," but so do Clinton and both Bushes. Sorry, Bill, that I left you out of my earlier graphic:

You deserve a place.