Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Facts About Saddam

I've previously referenced a recent French book called The Black Book of Saddam Hussein. Now, Rebecca Weisser has published an excellent and informative review of this work in the December 3rd Australian:

WITH the trial of Saddam Hussein under way, those in the God-damn-America camp find themselves uncomfortably wedged. Should they justify their opposition to the war by downplaying Saddam's crimes while sheeting home blame for the present turmoil to the US and its allies? Or do they opt for the defence of moral equivalence, conceding that Saddam was indeed a monster but those US presidents who once backed his regime, including George H.W. Bush, are the real monsters.

The best riposte to this warped analysis is a scholarly and sober 700-page volume recently published in France, of all places. Le Livre Noir de Saddam Hussein (The Black Book of Saddam Hussein) is a robust denunciation of Saddam's regime that does not fall into the trap of viewing everything in Iraq through a US-centric prism. The writers - Arabs, Americans, Germans, French and Iranian - have produced the most comprehensive work to date on the former Iraqi president's war crimes, assembling a mass of evidence that makes the anti-intervention arguments redundant.

"The first weapon of mass destruction was Saddam Hussein," writes Bernard Kouchner, who has been observing atrocities in Iraq since he led the first Medecins Sans Frontieres mission there in 1974. "Preserving the memory of the arbitrary arrests that Saddam's police conducted every morning, the horrible and humiliating torture, the organised rapes, the arbitrary executions and the prisons full of innocent people is not just a duty. Without that one cannot understand either what Saddam's dictatorship was or the urgent necessity to remove him."

Overall, the book estimates that Saddam murdered as many as 1,000,000 of his own people, in addition to those killed in his wars. For all the problems and tragedies of life in post-Saddam Iraq, it is clear that both the Iraqi people and the world are better off with this genocidal monster in prison instead of in power.

(Link courtesy of LGF. See also Harry's Place and Normblog.)


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