It’s interesting, comparing the present to the past. And I’d add, it is not done often enough.
Let us start in the present, shall we; as the AP reports on the Saddam Hussein trial:
a defiant Saddam admitted in court that he had ordered the trial of the Shiites who were eventually executed, but he insisted that doing so was legal because they were suspected in an assassination attempt against him,
I’ve heard of such a crime, it’s referred to as treason in many countries. Matter of fact, I remember this, where was it again…. oh yes in the United States, 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, here I’ll quote from Wikipedia:
The Rosenbergs were convicted on March 29, 1951, and sentenced to death under section 2 of the Espionage Act….The couple were executed in the electric chair on June 19, 1953. Reports of the execution state that Julius died after the first application of electricity, but Ethel did not succumb immediately, and was subjected to two more electrical charges before being pronounced dead.
Espionage. Treason. Whether its 2 people or 40 people, in the US or in Iraq, Saddam or Eisenhower, 1953 or 1988.. he’s not the first and certainly not the last. The main difference lies in who has the power, and presently he has lost his, while the US gets to re-write history. It comes back to the old saying – History is written by the victors. Something like that.
For this reason I don’t really care for the Saddam trial and I remain a firm admirer of Ramsey Clark, who has repeatedly defended the most infamous leaders on trial. Nothing good can come of it. A trial based on an illegal war cannot, in my eyes, lead to a fair and legitimate verdict. The world could have thought up a better way, this is a pretty amateur effort.
One last thing, which I’m also reminded of when reading about how Saddam justifies his terrible actions while president of Iraq. Sometime soon, they will try to execute Jose Padilla, whom they arrested in 2002 and still haven’t charged with anything. What will the crime be? A familiar one – treason.