Okay, Now I Can’t Just Shut Up and Work

Granted, I’m working on very little sleep right now, so my emotional state is certainly suspect; take that for what it’s worth. But today, I read a Letter to the Editor in the Post that got me positively incensed. And since my work machine is busy recapturing a half-hour of video footage from the original tapes (for some reason the footage was originally captured to a backup disk, which was purged when the last backup occurred — no critical loss, just time), I’ve got to say something.

Okay, first some background. In his column yesterday, George Will opined that Saddam Hussein should be tried by the Iraqis, not an international tribunal. He cites several reasons — some valid, some bordering on insipid — but the crux of his argument is sound: the crimes of Saddam Hussein were against Iraqis, not humanity at large; the Iraqis should try him. Fair enough.

But today, S.G. Brennan of Long Beach, California, sticks his “me, too” thoughts into the mix (okay, maybe that’s not so bad in and of itself — it is sort of my MO here). Brennan, however, uses the reasoning that if Saddam were allowed an international trial, he might have the opportunity to — gasp — actually call witnesses to his defense. Those witnesses could potentially include current and former leaders of the very nations that put Saddam into power in the first place, not to mention providing material support throughout his reign. And, you know, that might make things a little... uncomfortable for us. We’ve got our scapegoat, let’s not waste time dredging up the sordid pasts of those who may have been complicit in orchestrating his domination. As the letter says, “These leaders might reveal the details of how the West aided this tyrant, and when such information made its way back to the Iraqis, a bad situation would be made worse.”

According to Brennan, in the “U.S.-controlled courts” of Iraq, we could effectively rig the outcome, something that might be just a bit tougher in the international arena. I’ve got news for you, buddy: no matter how guilty you may believe him to be, if the accused isn’t allowed to present a defense, it ain’t a trial. It’s a charade. And the internationally community both you and Will so obviously disdain — not to mention the resistance forces currently fighting the American occupation in Iraq — would see it as exactly that.

Saddam was a brutal dictator — and the available evidence (unlike the manufactured “evidence” justifying the war) provides a rock-solid case against him, regardless of whatever witnesses he may call. He must be held accountable for his crimes, but we — and the Iraqis — deserve to see that accountability established in a legitimate trial, one that won’t invite a rash of second-guessing. If we undermine that goal to spare exposure of “the sins of a few political leaders” — a defense Saddam could just as easily claim for himself — we shred whatever credibility to which we may still cling.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home