Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Hussein, Cheney And Rumsfeld On Trial

Robert Scheer notes (as I noted last week) that a "fair trial" of Saddam Hussein carries with it some risk for current Bush administration officials.

A show trial under Allawi would be designed to get Hussein out of the way as quickly and quietly as possible, which might save the U.S. some embarrassment. After all, in an open, unbiased trial the old dictator, if he still has his wits about him, could talk about his cooperation with the Reagan and Bush administrations during the 1980s, when he committed many of the alleged crimes - including the use of poison gas - for which he will be brought to trial. He might even discuss his two visits back then with Donald H. Rumsfeld. But even though a fair public trial might prove uncomfortable for our government, Hussein is a prisoner of war captured by the United States, and Washington is responsible for his treatment under international standards. We have no right to turn him over to the tender mercies of a former CIA-financed archrival. That is simply an abdication of responsibility that violates international law.

There is no good argument for not trying Hussein under international law, as has been done with former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. A fair public trial would reveal the crimes of Hussein as well as the machinations of those U.S. officials and agencies that aided him.
I find it difficult to believe that this aspect of the upcoming Hussein trial is not getting more attention in the U.S. media. The potential for embarrassment of Bush the First, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others is great, and is itself good reason to be skeptical of U.S. claims that Saddam will receive a fair trial.


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