Sunday, October 22, 2006

Saddam Hussein's Iraq

Saddam Hussein's trial is not receiving the publicity it deserves. Recently however, Yahoo linked to a couple of articles that covered the trial.

Article One

Article Two

What Saddam Hussein did was murder 180,000 of his own citizens. Here are some excerpts of witness testimony:

It was dark when they brought a group of people (prisoners) in front of the vehicle. The drivers got out of our vehicles and turned on the headlights," he said.

Some prisoners tried to grab an automatic rifle from a guard, but failed because "we were so weak," he said.

Soldiers then opened fire. "I ran and fell into a ditch. It was full of bodies. I fell on a body. It was still alive. It was his last breath," said the witness. "It was really unbelievable, the number of people being killed like this."

Slightly wounded, he stripped off his clothes, thinking he was more likely to blend into the color of the sand if he were naked, the witness said. He then began running again.

"As I was running, I saw many pits, I saw many mounds, and I saw lots of people who had been shot," he said. "The desert was full of mounds that had people buried underneath."

The witness said he took refuge with Kurds living nearby, then traveled north. For the next 15 years he lived in hiding, moving frequently, until Saddam's ouster.


A Kurdish witness — Mutalib Mohammed Salman, 78 — told the court that his wife and 32 relatives disappeared in 1988 after troops overran his village in northern Iraq.

Salman said his wife's body and the remains of two other relatives were found in a mass grave after Saddam's regime was toppled in 2003.


22 comments:

Ashlee said...

what a horrible, horrible man. And to think that so many have given our leaders such flack for hunting him down. There is so much evil in the world right now. So similar to Biblical times, isn't it? Certain people attempting to force others to live a certain way. Forcing their ideals and way of life on other people and attempting to gain power through mindless killings of innocent people. It's appalling and astounding.

Democracy Lover said...

I think everyone realizes that Saddam Hussein is guilty of mass homocides. What is interesting is that we fail to acknowledge others who played a part in those deaths.

Your first article recounts Operation Anfal in February 1988, in which the Iraq regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds killing over 100,000 civilians and destroying over 1,200 Kurdish villages. It does not, however, state that in April 1988, US Department of Commerce under the Reagan Administration approved shipment of chemicals used in manufacture of mustard gas to Iraq. Or that in September 1988, they approved shipment of weapons grade anthrax and botulinum to Iraq. Or that in December 1988, Dow Chemical sold $1.5 million in pesticides to Iraq despite knowledge that these would be used in chemical weapons. See http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/armIraqP2W.html.

Why aren't the Reagan Administration officials who authorized these sales being questioned? Instead of looking at the obvious sins of Saddam, why are we not looking at the less obvious sins of the US government and our major corporations?

The Iraqis should deal with Saddam, and if they fail to do so, the International Criminal Court should indict him for his actions in the Iran-Iraq War. The US public should be informed about the role of our own government, particularly when some of the some people who served in government when our nation was busily arming Saddam with chemical and biological weapons are now again in power. We need to remove the speck from our own eye first.

Cameron said...

Thanks for your comment Ashlee. Evil has been around a long time. It's appallingto me how long Saddam Hussein was allowed to get away with it.

Cameron said...

DL,

Once again, your source is highly questionable. Ratical.org? Please.

When talking about who armed Iraq, please reference this graph which clearly shows that the USSR, France, and China were the principle suppliers of Iraqi weapons. Interestingly, those are the same countries that illegally funneled money to Saddam Hussein during the 90's (despite passing all those UN resolutions at the same time) by corrupting the Oil For Food program. Funny, once again those were the countries that opposed removing the "guilty of mass homocides" Saddam Hussein from power. I wonder why.

Democracy Lover said...

It's so convenient to dismiss sources because they don't agree with you. Yes, lots of nations circumvented the sanctions. But when the nation that was promoting the sanctions was guilty of circumventing them, it's a horse of a different color.

So again, why not look at the speck in our own eye first? Are we sinless because our brother sinned also? What is your logic here?

Cameron said...

There were no sanctions in 1988. The link I provided has a graph showing arm sales to Iraq from 1973-1990. The US accounts for 0.5% of the total. Not nothing, but not much either. The USSR accounted for 69%. The second place winner? France, at 12.7%.

Democracy Lover said...

Correct, there were no sanctions in 1988, but wasn't Saddam still a brutal, genocidal dictator? Weren't the people of Iraq (particularly the Kurds) just as oppressed by him then as they were in 2002?

Why is it that the administration of the late lamented Ronald Reagan (which contained such current luminaries as Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney) sent weapons of mass destruction to a brutal dictator who killed his own people? What exactly changed about Saddam between 1988 and 2002 that justifies giving him WMD then and going to war allegedly to prevent him from having those same WMD later? Which one of the bogus justifications for the Iraq war fits the facts?

Parklife said...

"What Saddam Hussein did was murder 180,000"

amateur

Democracy Lover said...

You should note that the chart you provided shows "Conventional" Arms sales. That would not include chemical and biological agents or the raw materials or technology to develop them.

Parklife said...

appalling? Darfur (why help millions of Africans who dont have oil?)

appalling? Iran-Contra (why not just pardon the guilty parties and vote the VP in?)

appalling? Living under the impression that the US is the victim in all this.

Cameron said...

DL,

"Correct, there were no sanctions in 1988, but wasn't Saddam still a brutal, genocidal dictator?"

You spoke of circumventing the sanctions while we discussed where Saddam Hussein obtained the weapons he used during the 80's. A nice try at diverting attention from the current topic, but no cigar.

And yes, Saddam Hussein was still a genocidal dictator in 1988 and something more should have been done. Unfortunately, the world was more concerned with communism at that time than with Iraq.

Parklife,

""What Saddam Hussein did was murder 180,000"

amateur"


That's an incredibly disgusting thing to say.

DL,

"You should note that the chart you provided shows "Conventional" Arms sales. That would not include chemical and biological agents or the raw materials or technology to develop them."

Correct. However, a look at
Iraq's WMD program development reveals basically the same countries. Many of whom were irresponsible, greedy, or naive.

You would think that all those that supplied Saddam Hussein, either knowingly or unknowingly, with WMD material would have learned their lesson. But many of them didn't, as is seen by France, China and Russia continuing to sell Saddam Hussein weapons even as they support sanctions on his country as permanent members of the UN Security Council. They can no longer claim the "naive" defense. They are either irresponsible or greedy. I think it's both.

If you can get past your hate of the US and Republicans you'll see that many countries have and have had chemical and biological weapons. But only one has ever consistently used them not only in times of war, but on their
own citizens. That is why Saddam Hussein is on trial, and why he will either be executed or spend the rest of his days in prison.

Parklife,

"appalling? Darfur (why help millions of Africans who dont have oil?)"

Agreed. I'd be interested to know your solution.

Democracy Lover said...

I see you didn't answer my question about why things are different now than in 1988 -- except that we were more worried about communism -- a lame excuse that has nothing to do with Saddam. Given the number of mistakes we made while being obsessed with the menace of communism, don't you wonder how many mistakes we'll make while obsessed with terrorism?

What the US record points out (even though we did not arm Iraq as much as some other nations) is that we are not in any position to act as the world's policeman, much less judge, jury and executioner. No one (except brainwashed right-wing Americans) believes that the US is acting out of our deep love for freedom and democracy in Iraq, or that we have any real aversion to tyranny.

The same people who supported Saddam in the '80s are now in the White House telling us that he is the epitome of evil for acts he did during the '80s when they supported him. The hypocrisy level is way over the top.

Parklife said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Parklife said...

"That's an incredibly disgusting thing to say."

I'm just saying that 180k is only 27% of 650k. In my world, 650 is more than 3.5 times worse than Saddam. In other words, Bush is 3.5 times more disgusting than Saddam.

Parklife said...

My solution for Darfur?
Revamp our entire social and economic view of the world. That's just for starters

Cameron said...

DL,

I see you didn't answer my question about why things are different now than in 1988

Here is my answer again:

You spoke of circumventing the sanctions while we discussed where Saddam Hussein obtained the weapons he used during the 80's. A nice try at diverting attention from the current topic, but no cigar.

And yes, Saddam Hussein was still a genocidal dictator in 1988 and something more should have been done. Unfortunately, the world was more concerned with communism at that time than with Iraq.


You post:

Given the number of mistakes we made while being obsessed with the menace of communism, don't you wonder how many mistakes we'll make while obsessed with terrorism?

The objective of learning from history and from past mistakes is not to declare oneself unworthy and curl up into a ball of self-loathing. Should the US and the world have taken more notice of Saddam Hussein in the 70's and 80's? Yes. Though a thorough review of world dynamics during that time would be insightful.

It is incredibly fascinating to me though, DL, that in a post about Saddam Hussien's atrocities, you brush his genocide away so quickly just so that you can continue your rantings against your country. You can't see past your self-loathing and US-hating for even one second. I honestly think that if I were to write about the sky being blue, you would blame the lack of clouds on your government.

Cameron said...

Parklife,

I'm just saying that 180k is only 27% of 650k. In my world, 650 is more than 3.5 times worse than Saddam. In other words, Bush is 3.5 times more disgusting than Saddam.

I'm aware of what you are saying, and even if the fairly dubious 650,000 was an accurate number, the fact that you can't tell the difference and would crack jokes about genocide is disgusting.

My solution for Darfur?
Revamp our entire social and economic view of the world. That's just for starters


Great plan. You should run for office.

Democracy Lover said...

I think you need to read the actual plan for the war in Iraq.

Maybe you can get an idea about how utterly stupid this effort is and how little it has to do with democracy,

I don't brush away Saddam's genocide. I say he should be tried and convicted for that crime. But he had enablers. He had suppliers. Those people are guilty as well. Why do you not want to bring them to justice?

If you want to talk genocide, what would you call the deaths of at least 500,000 Iraqis during the period of sanctions and probably at least that number since our illegal invasion and occupation? If a million dead isn't genocide, what is? We cannot sit in judgment on Saddam while we ignore our own culpability in his crimes and commit grave crimes of our own. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone - the US should put down its rocks and return home and repent.

Cameron said...

Now you link to the dailykos? Is that better or worse than aljazeera or ratical.org? I do see where you get your opinions though. Sadly, the kos doesn't have any proof to back it up either. You should find another teacher.

Brushing away Saddam's crimes is exactly what you are doing. In an 18 post comment string in response to Saddam Hussein's trial, this is what you have had to say about it:

I think everyone realizes that Saddam Hussein is guilty of mass homocides.

The Iraqis should deal with Saddam, and if they fail to do so, the International Criminal Court should indict him for his actions in the Iran-Iraq War.


Everything else has been the same tune you always play.

Parklife said...

"jokes about genocide is disgusting"

You're right. And, its really sad that I'm not making a joke.

You’re the one that thinks taking out Saddam was a good idea. You supported an illegal invasion and promoted the deaths of 650K (+/-250K). Not to mention the loss of American and international troops. Oh, and there are the physically and mentally debilitated soldiers, aid workers and others living and working in Iraq. How many lives have to be completely destroyed? 700K? 900K? Ok.. 1 million.. that’s my final offer. And this is how you respond? You think I’m making a joke? I’m making a snide comment. I'm tired of people like you and Ashlee getting on your high horse and talking about "evil in the world". You dont have the slightest clue what evil is or where it resides.

Really, what kind of hypocrite says, “Forcing their ideals and way of life on other people and attempting to gain power through mindless killings of innocent people.” What do you think this invasion has done?

"Great plan"
Thanks. I'm glad to see you coming around. I’m sure I can count on your vote.

"Brushing away Saddam's crimes"
You mean like you brush away Iran-Contra or Bush's crimes. Not to mention all the other horrible things that happen on a daily basis in the world. You're kidding yourself if you're putting a value on human lives in Iraq. How about $8 Billion a month for continued disaster? Sounds like a deal to me.

The US didn’t go into Iraq to save the lives of the people there. Just for once, stop trying to rewrite what happened a few years back.

Chancelucky said...

CAmeron,
where does the figure 180,000 come from?

Do they have death certificates for all of them? How is this different from the Lancet study's estimate that 655,000 Iraqi civilians have died since 2003?

Cameron said...

Parklife-

Loss of life during war is exponentially different than the genocide that Saddam has been convicted of. It was different in WWII, different in Bosnia, and would have been different had the world chosen to intervene in Rwanda and Sudan. It saddens me that you refuse to see the difference.

Chance-

The 180,000 figure comes from a court of law, complete with prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges, and eyewitnesses.

One of the prosecutors said that they would likely continue with the trials even after Hussein's execution so that there would be a record of his crimes.