wonder if we're actually going to see a public
trial of Saddam Hussein?
watched the arraignment or whatever the hell it
was the other day, and even before I heard about
the responses reporters were getting from jihadi-in-the-street
interviews, I realized that the admin had pulled
yet another tactical blunder in Iraq.
was looking pretty sharp, beard neatly trimmed,
nice casual threads, dropped a stone or so, clear-eyed
and exuding confidence. Even worse, he basically
took control of the television cameras, throwing
the court on the defensive.
let's face it; you can't be the brutal and hated
tyrant of a country for over twenty-five years
unless you have that sort of presence. In politics,
monsters need charisma. Especially monsters.
Vichy regime, which has no more sense for effective
propaganda in Iraq than its American masters,
made sure the hearing was broadcast. It played
it was SADDAM who played well. In a country where
over half the population now thinks of Saddam
as "the good old days," Saddam picked up quite
a bit of support.
don't know what Bremer and his stooges were thinking.
Maybe they believe the propaganda that Saddam
was brutal, an unthinking and unfeeling thug who
would drool on the stand and threaten to disembowel
little girls or something.
twenty five years of tyranny and leading his country
from one disaster to the next while keeping his
popularity reasonably high, Saddam knows a thing
or two about projecting calm, authoritative and
assertive presence for the TV cameras. Republicans
can only wish George was half as good, especially
when not carefully scripted.
won round one. Granted, both sides were just sparring,
exploring each other's defenses and dancing around
the ring, and the judges scored it 10-9, but given
that this was billed to both the Iraqi and American
public as Allah vs. Charlie Manson, anything short
of a first round knockout was considered a major
for the main trial, when and if, they might consider
slapping duct tape over Saddam's mouth, and make
him wear a pink tutu and a red clown nose, just
so the prosecution doesn't look too bad in the
eyes of the viewers.
admin thought this would be a slam dunk, and got
their asses kicked. They keep doing that with
on top of everything else, it looks like the one
element of the charges made against Saddam might
much of the US case for taking action against
Saddam has collapsed already. You may have heard
about it. Turns out (ha, ha, ha) that he didn't
have weapons of mass destruction. He didn't have
links to al Qaida, and in fact was antagonistic
toward them (Iraq used to be an obstacle terrorists
had to go around in the middle east. Now it's
a central staging area.) He wasn't a threat to
his neighbors, let alone America.
left his record as dictator, which is actually
quite bad. The only trouble is all he has to do
is point out that many of America's closest allies
have dictators who are just as bad scattered around
central and south America, in Africa, and even
as close to hand as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan,
two countries that DO have links to al Qaida.
the administration could trump this with the American
people by simply saying, "He gassed his own people."
I've often wondered what the Kurds think about
being referred to as Saddam's "own people" -- I
don't imagine they like it very much -- but it
arouses moral indignation in the American breast,
just as that story about Iraqi soldiers dumping
new born babies out of incubators and onto the
hospital floor did.
only problem is that, like the incubator story,
it might not be true.
worse, Saddam's best witness might be American
operatives from the CIA.
website happened to remember a news story that
appeared in the New York Times back in January
2003, during the ramp-up to the attack. The story,
which currently appears at http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-08.htm,
was written by Stephen C. Pelletiere, who was
the CIA's senior political analyst on Iraq during
the Iran-Iraq war.
states bluntly, "...[A]ll we know for certain
is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that
day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty
that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds."
has more than casual knowledge about Halabja.
He was head of an Army investigation into how
the Iraqis would fight a war against the United
States, and much of his investigation centered
around the Halabja massacre.
writes, "[E]ach side used gas against the other
in the battle around Halabja. The condition of
the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they
had been killed with a blood agent ‹ that is,
a cyanide-based gas ‹ which Iran was known to
use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used
mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have
possessed blood agents at the time."
asked to testify (and granted, this is a kangaroo
court run by a puppet regime, so who knows if
the defense will have the power to subpoena?),
Pelletiere will pretty much have to testify along
these lines, since this is stuff that he had previously
written, both in unclassified documents and in
the NY Times. Worse, there is a bunch of corroborating
evidence in the public domain that America's pathetic
whore media ignored.
would mean that not only has the final leg of
the structure of rationalizations the admin used
to attack Iraq collapsed, but both in Iraq and
here, the admin suffered another PR disaster.
They face the possibility that Saddam might end
up exonerated, since they stupidly made this one
accusation the lynchpin of the case against him.
stupid, stupid. Only the Republicans could lose
a PR battle with Saddam Hussein in an open court
for Putsch and the rest, there's one bright spot.
If the court case proves that Iran, and not Saddam,
gassed the Kurds at Halabja, then the admin won't
have to hear any more about how the Kurds were
gassed with chemicals provided by Reagan, Bush,
Rumsfeld, et al. Iran got their cyanide gas elsewhere,
possibly Russia. Small consolations. They'll have
to take what they can get.
this administration decides to stage a complete
fiasco, they sure don't screw around, do they?
Posted: July 9, 2004