Sunday, November 5, 2006
Now, Can We Prosecute Saddam's Unindicted Co-Conspirators? (UPDATED)
Saddam's conviction and death sentence represent the last full measure of his usefulness to the Power Elite that sustained and exploited him from the time he came to power. Of the myriad crimes he committed against his subjects, international peace, and God's law, Saddam will swing for a 1982 massacre of 148 people in a Shi'ite community.
It was over a year after that atrocity that the incumbent Minister for Aggression Against Small Countries Donald Rumsfeld met with Saddam as an emissary of President Ronald Reagan.
It was after the crime for which Saddam faces the death penalty that the Reagan and Bush administrations, working in collaboration with Kissinger Associates and a shadowy network of financial cut-outs, aided Saddam's war effort against Iran, in which Iraq was the aggressor.
In 1987, about five years after Saddam presided over the massacre that prompted today's death sentence, The New Republic -- a consistent supporter of military action against Iraq since 1990 -- published an essay entitled "Back Iraq," which urged Washington to offer Baghdad material and strategic support against Iran (which had, in fact, been Washington's policy since the beginning of the decade, although it offered occasional support for Tehran as well).
"The American weapons that Iraq could make good use of include remotely scatterable and anti-personnel mines and counterartillery radar," wrote the co-authors of that piece. "The United States might also consider upgrading intelligence it is supplying Baghdad."
The authors of that essay were Laurie Mylroie and Daniel Pipes, who have been unstinting supporters of the ongoing Iraq war and a larger campaign against "Islamo-Fascism."
In 1987, Iraq attacked the U.S. Stark, which was part of a U.S. naval convoy protecting Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The following year, Saddam's regime allegedly used poison gas against Iraq's Kurdish population, an attack that has iconic status as an illustration of Saddam's murderous depravity (we'll leave aside, for the nonce, the fact that Iran has been plausibly accused of that attack).
Roughly two years later, after the Iran-Iraq war was over, the first President Bush issued a national security directive (NSD 26) intended to continue and expand existing military and strategic cooperation between Washington and Baghdad. This continued, incredibly, up to the very beginning of the 1991 Gulf War.
Saddam is a modern ruler in the worst sense of that expression. Although cloaking himself now in the metaphorical robes of Muslim piety, it was Josef Stalin who provided his model of governance, at least in an aspirational sense. Saddam was cruel and brutal, but he never amassed powers akin to those exercised by Stalin, or used the powers he had to regiment the daily life of his subjects; he was content to liquidate those people -- individually, or in groups as large as he deemed necessary -- that threatened his hold on power.
It is those for whom Saddam acted as a subcontractor -- the architects of the Glorious Global Democratic Revolution -- who lust to re-order the lives of millions through the use of lethal violence.
If Saddam deserves to experience the long drop to the end of the hangman's rope, he should be joined on the scaffold by those who gave him the material means and political support to commit his crimes, as well as those who are exploiting the memory of those atrocities to advance their own murderous designs.
As Gilbert and Sullivan put it in the Mikado: I've got a little list...
And it's not as if the architects of this war weren't warned about the likely outcome --
"The U.S. government conducted a series of secret war games in 1999 that anticipated an invasion of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, and even then chaos might ensue," reports the Associated Press, citing documents made public on November 4 via a FOIA filed by the National Security Archive.
The "Desert Crossing" wargames "looked at `worst case' and `most likely' scenarios after a war that removed then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power. Someare similar to what actually occurred after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003...."
Among the anticipated consequences, according to AP's summary, were an inflammation of "Iran's anti-Americanism," the alienation of Arab governments in the region, and growing friction with "many coalition partners." From this it would be reasonable to extrapolate an upsurge in militancy throughout the Islamic world, and a corresponding increase in terrorism.
All of this was known by the policy-makers who manipulated George W. Bush -- a callow, self-enraptured, arrogant, incurious little twit with delusions of divine destiny -- into committing the United States to a war of choice against Iraq. Which is to say that those people chose the outcome we're now seeing.
The most conspicuous representative of that cabal, the man actually running the executive branch, was asked by ABC's George Stephanapolous how he would react if a Democrat-led Congress issued a subponea for him to testify about Iraq and other matters.
"Probably not," replied Vice President Cheney, who clearly believes that accountability is for lesser breeds, rather than exalted beings like himself who live beyond the law.
In this, as in so much else, Cheney and the repellent people he represents are immeasurably worthier than Saddam of the fate decreed for their former Iraqi subcontractor today.
at 8:58 AM