"and knock yourself on the head…" Saddam Hussein to the chief judge, 14 February, 2006. I am sure that it is even funnier in Arabic.
Someone said a while back that it was not a good idea to try this man. He is "making monkeys" out of the court and the new Iraqi government. He looks strong, looks humorous and is defiant and all the talk about what a coward he is does not "play" in the Arab World. He does not look afraid at all. His legend is growing by the day.
They are now in the second part of a ten part trial. The government is trying to bring witnesses who can and will establish his personal responsibility for the massacre almost thirty years ago of a hundred and fifty odd Shia in a village where someone tried to assassinate him.
They are having tough time doing that. 1-It has been a long time. 2-Those who are still "his people" are having lapses of memory and 3- Those who were never "his people" and would like to see him shot are frightened (with good reason) of the consequences for them an their families of testifying against him.
It would be embarrassing to not have enough evidence to finish the trial "satisfactorily."
Let’s stop. Let’s say that he is an EPW, that his army never surrendered (it did not) and so he is still at war with us. He was/is constitutionally commander in chief. Then we can hold him without trial for the rest of the war (whenever that might be).
Cynical? The alternative is to let him go on like this. Bad idea.
The reality is that we, the US, are probably the only thing keeping Saddam alive. We can give him, lock, stock and barrel, to the Iraqis and allow “justice” to take its course (which probalby would not fly in the face of public opinion)…or give him to the Kuwaitis so they can try him for war crimes stemming from the 1991 invasion.
I’m not making this up, parts of the “we are winning, always winning, winning this war more than any war in history” right are in delirious celebration because there are rumors that Batman has joined the Fight!
Yay! I think.
The court might have some legitimacy if those who enabled his crimes were in dock right along side Saddam, but that’s just crazy talk.
I’ve been to the trial, unfortunately on one of the days Saddam was not there.
If people had the chance to watch it, with the benefit of simultaneous translation, they would not think it was a farce.
The problem with the media coverage of the trial is that all the “boring” parts are left out – the procedural points, the routine scheduling of evidence, and the accumulation of evidence itself through the testimony of those who were in Dujail in July 82 -in favor of the few outbursts of Saddam et al. The trial is much more than that, and is providing a rough due process.
It’s too bad that the calm and respectful previous judge, Judge Rizgar, felt he had to leave because of political pressure. The new judge seems a little biased towards the prosecution, but not wholly unfair. Someone involved in the trial told me that Saddam and the co-defendants have made many admissions during their outbursts, which will be used against them.
Iraqis watch the trial on TV, it is covered live on Iraqia, and while there is a difference of opinion among Iraqis about what should happen (some say tortured to death, some say life in prison, one told me exile to Hawaii), there is no doubt that the trial serves a function to diminish the mad former dictator in the minds of those who he terrorised for so long.