As I watched nonstop coverage of Saddam's Death Watch, I was told over and over that this was a heinous mass murderer. There were mass graves. That up to 300,000 people were killed during his reign.
Then they told us what he was actually convicted for -- 148 dead in Dujail. That's a terrible crime. But there's at least that amount of people killed every two days in Iraq now.
Now, I looked into the mass grave claims and the US government found graves that contained hundreds of bodies in some places. And prosecutors claimed that Saddam gassed 5,000 Kurds in Northern Iraq.
This hardly adds up to 300,000 killed. I am not saying that he didn't kill that many, I just don't know why we didn't do our homework and convict him all of his crimes. As Robert Jackson, the lead prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials famously said, "We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow."
We need history on our side on this one. Remember we invaded the whole country and turned it upside down because Saddam was such a bad guy. It would have been nice to prove how bad. I don't know why the trial seemed so rushed and third rate. Actually, I do know why. It's because Iraq is a complete mess and this whole fiasco is being run by the same incompetents who have screwed everything else up.
Please spare me the nonsense about how the Iraqis are a sovereign government and they were running the trial and we had nothing to do with it. Saddam did cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people when he started a war with Iran. That didn't get brought up much in the trial.
I am sure the fact that United States supported him in that war and Don Rumsfeld sold him weapons to use in that war was not a factor at all as to why that was not emphasized in his trial ... run by the Iraqis. Remember starting a war of aggression is the highest war crime. And Saddam clearly started one with Iran, let alone Kuwait. But then we're not in a very good position to talk about wars of aggression anymore.
The hotel I'm staying at today only has Fox News Channel (Dick Cheney must stay here when he's in town). So, first I was subjected to the inane chatter of Sean Hannity claiming this might turn things around in Iraq. That our troops were very happy about the execution of Saddam and that it was really going to help their morale. The Vulcan mind meld he did with them must have proved this.
As usual, there were two lackey former colonels on the air to parrot everything Hannity said right back at him, "Yes Sean, our troops our ecstatic that this man will be hung. Yes, things are probably going to get much better now."
Then Greta had one of Saddam's lawyers on, and he clobbered her. She said that Saddam had been convicted of killing the 148 people in Dujail and prosecutors had information about another 5,000 Kurds killed. First, he said some completely unconvincing nonsense about how some of the dead people in Dujail were still alive. But then he made a fair point that Saddam was never convicted of the crimes against the Kurds and that now we would never truly know.
When Greta said those are some tremendous numbers referring again to the two incidents of 148 and 5,000 killed, the lawyer responded that those numbers were not nearly as tremendous as the 750,000 Iraqis killed since the US invasion. Ouch.
It sucks to get outdueled by Saddam's lawyer. But the man has a point. As we all know, and have repeated ad nauseam, Saddam was a really bad guy and a dictator that killed many people. But I don't see where the 300,000 number came from and I'm pissed they never proved it. And that still doesn't match up to how many Iraqis have been killed in just the three and half years of the Iraq War.
We didn't kill all those people and our objective is not to oppress the Iraqi people for our own gain (well, not exactly at least; though their oil is yummy for our cars' tummy). But Saddam was executed for killing a 148 people. And our invasion has cost the lives of at least several hundred thousand people that otherwise would not have died.
I'm not drawing any conclusions and I'm not even making any inferences. I'm just saying it's something to be pondered.