Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A 'benevolent dictator,' perhaps?

At Saddam Hussein's genocide trial in Iraq yesterday, a Kurdish witness recounted his conversation with Saddam about family members who disappeared after the government's 1980s campaign to suppress a Kurdish revolt, known as Operation Anfal.

The man told prosecutors that Saddam responded, "Shut up. Your family is gone in the Anfal . . . Don't talk anymore. Get out of here."

(Oh, by the way, previous witnesses said the remains of relatives who went missing during Operation Anfal were found in mass graves several years later. Some recalled how they survived chemical attacks allegedly carried out by Saddam's regime against the Kurdish population.)

In the midst of that testimony, the chief judge and the defendant had this exchange:
Saddam: "I wonder why this man wanted to meet with me, if I am a dictator?"

Judge: "You were not a dictator. People around you made you (look like) a dictator."

Saddam: "Thank you" (bows his head in respect).
Yeah, that's the ticket. All those bad guys around Saddam made him look like a dictator. He had nothing to do with the chemical attacks or the mass graves. He's really a very nice guy. He'd rather drink a latte and cuddle with his miniature poodle than drop poison gas on his opponents. Just disregard the comment he made to Kurdish witnesses that he would "crush your heads." I'm sure he meant that other "crush your heads" phrase.

The definition of Dictator by the way, is "a person exercising absolute power, esp. a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession." How could you define Saddam's regime any other way?

The chief prosecutor has called for the judge to step down, but in a phrase reminiscent of those who refuse to acknowledge that their bias might impair their judgment, "Court spokesman Raed Juhi acknowledged in a news conference later that al-Amiri may have misspoken, but it 'does not affect his objectivity' or the outcome of the trial."

Of course not. How could it affect his objectivity or the trial? Impossible.


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