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Lets's talk about democracy
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Wednesday, 19 October 2005
Who is on trial and who ought to be.
Topic: Iraq

Big news today from Iraq, the trial of Saddam Hussein has started. If he is convicted, of which there's no doubt, he will be put to death. What I don't understand is how they will put him to death for all the other crimes he's committed if he's convicted and put to death for only the massacre of Shiites in Dujail. After all, the Kurds want him to pay for the decades of killings they suffered under him, too; so they might demand he be kept alive a little longer. Not that the Iraqi "government" makes things up as they go along, but it's not too far fetched to see them holding another trial or adding charges right in the middle of this one to appease the Kurds.

If they really want to get Saddam and all those behind his regime, though, they might want to haul Rummy in along with George Bush Sr. I can't think of anyone who is more responsible for the mass killing of Shiites in the south, after the Gulf War, than George H. W. Bush---and maybe General Schwartzkopf, who let the Iraqis retain the use of their helicopters as a condition of surrender. And what about the tens of thousands who died in the Iran/Iraq war which Reagan and Bush were more than happy to allow to keep going for 8 years because it kept Iran busy? So he gassed some Kurds, big deal, Bechtel wanted that Aqaba pipeline built, that's why Rummy didn't mention the gassing thing to Saddam. 'Don't upset him; get him to sign on the dotted line.' [Shimon, the check is in the mail.] By the way, where is Taraq Aziz?

Since the Bush administration tends to eschew international tribunals the Shiites and the Kurds have been left to have their revenge. Unfortunately, some might say the judges have no experience in international law and this is just basically a kangaroo court with no standing in the rest of the world. The US says it's all on the Iraqis, we don't have anything thing to do with it, but you know if it gets more farcical than it was today---with Saddam giving speeches and DVD players not working etc.---you can bet Zalmay Khalilzad will be right there to get things back on track.

Speaking of Rummy: did anyone catch The Torture Question on Frontline last night? Pretty incredible! I have been writing about all this stuff for over a year but to see it all put together in one show was shocking. The totality of the crimes committed by the US military under the direct supervision of Rummy is astounding. How does this guy still have his job? Why isn't he bunking with Milosevic? W. might think the Rumster is doing a great job, but the rest of the world can see what a travesty our "war on terror" is. It's not only us, though; the Brits have seen our techniques and decided they want to do it too. Tony B-liar's new anti-terrorism legislation will certainly lead to the same sorts of abuses the US is guilty of.

Rummy is in China right now lecturing them on transparency, which is pretty funny. I don't know if he's going to mention the human rights thing, though; he probably shouldn't, his Chinese counterparts might not be able to maintain their inscrutable stares and might burst into hysterical laughter. It could be an embarrassing international incident. [Not that saying "we're very, very, sorry" for the death of their pilot in the 2001 EP-3 midair collision was the least bit embarrassing. Far from it, America was standing tall as our top spy place came back in crates.]

Anyway, Rummy doesn't need the Chinese to tell him what they're up to, it's obvious. They want to counter the US 7th fleet by completely controlling the South China Sea and they want to project their power way out into the Pacific to protect their shipping lanes. And they really, really, want to stick it to the Japanese. That might be a long time coming. Just because the Japanese call their army and navy the "self defense force" doesn't mean they can't get real offensive if they want to. Japan has one of the biggest militaries in the world. (And they can get nukes if they want them too.) So, Junichiro Koizumi can visit the Yasukuni Shrine anytime he wants to and if the Chinese don't like the school text books that forget to mention WW II, they can suck it. What are they going to do about it?

When are the Democrats going to attack the Harriet Miers nomination on civil rights grounds? As Bush's legal counsel she was involved in all the torture memos, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo etc. As Dick Polman in the Philadelphia Inquirer points out, she is in a perfect position as a Supreme Court Justice to preserve Bush's legacy on the War on Terror. If she gets in, you can bet Jose Padilla will be in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. And all those "voluntary fasters" at Gitmo will have hoses down their noses for a long, long time. Why aren't the Democrats----and the Republicans who are afraid of over reaching government power---speaking out? We already know she's a religious nut, big deal. There's a lot more at stake here than Roe v. Wade.

Radio notes:

Give a listen to Marty Moss-Coane of WHYY's Radio Times who interviewed Marci Hamilton, professor of constitutional law at Yeshiva university and author of "God Versus the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law." She was a lawyer involved in the Grand Jury that exposed the serial abuse of children by the Philadelphia Archdiocese. It was very interesting: Did you know the Catholics aren't the only ones who abuse children? The Fundamentalist Mormons----there's such a thing?---in order to keep the ratio between men and woman in the men's favor, take young boys out and dump them on the streets and tell them never to come back. They transport 13 year old girls to Canada so they can become wives for other Mormons. The problem is the government is afraid to do anything that might make the religious nuts mad.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:41 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005 1:07 PM EDT
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