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Comments by YACCS
Monday, December 22, 2003

Why trying Saddam in Iraq is a bad idea

Why trying Saddam in Iraq is a bad idea

Juan Cole discusses the potential trial with his local newspaper

Q: What concerns do you have about the suggestions of putting Saddam Hussein on trial?

A: There are several. The Bush administration and Iraqi interim Governing Council both seem to think it's a good idea to try him in Iraq, and I understand why. But one wonders at what cost this will come. A lot of Sunni Muslims in Iraq fear the fall of the government because it will place them in the vast minority to Shiites who were persecuted by Saddam.

Any trial is going to cover his acts of genocide against the Kurds in the late 1980s and Shiites following the first Gulf War of the early '90s. Spending months on these kind of investigations has the potential for provoking ethnic violence
.

Q: What are other potential consequences of putting Saddam on trial?

A: I believe giving Saddam Hussein a stage or platform in Iraq through a trial is a bad idea because he's going to be defiant and still has Fedayeen and a loyal base active in the country. There also is the potential that Saddam may find ways to underline U.S. complicity in the atrocities, which could make it difficult to maintain support for the occupation forces

I would only add that there is the problem of the Inigo Montoya factor. What is to stop Sadr and his buddies from overruning the Green Zone and saying, "I want Saddam, he killed my daddy". When you have 30,000 guys with AK's come to pay you a visit, well, that's when you have problems.

Also, the problem is that the people conducting the trial have no moral standing to do so. They're just exiles tainted as collaborators. A lot of Iraqis, many of whom would rip Saddam into bite-sized bits, might not like a US kangaroo court passing sentence. There needs to be a real, elected government able to conduct trials impartially.

posted by Steve @ 3:29:00 PM

3:29:00 PM

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