Saddam Hussein
July 2, 2004 1:27 AM   Subscribe

Saddam Hussein. After his defiant appearance in court, is it impossible for him to face a fair trial? Does anyone feel he deserves one after his actions?
posted by emc (63 comments total)

 
Everyone deserves a fair trial, because that's what free and democratic countries do, like it or not.
posted by Jimbob at 1:37 AM on July 2, 2004


(And, by the way, I interpret "Fair Trial" to mean "Just, appropriate and correct verdict on the crimes alleged", in which case Saddam has much to fear whether it's a fair trial or not).
posted by Jimbob at 1:39 AM on July 2, 2004




I miss Fingerbobs...
posted by i_cola at 1:42 AM on July 2, 2004


"he deserves one after his actions?"

no, because of the torture chambers at Abu Ghraib, Saddam deserves no fair trail -- I mean, how can you forgive stuff like that? thank God it won't happen anymore
posted by matteo at 1:43 AM on July 2, 2004


*snicker*
posted by matteo at 1:44 AM on July 2, 2004


I'd never have heard of this if it weren't posted to metafilter.
posted by interrobang at 1:48 AM on July 2, 2004


is it impossible for him to face a fair trial? Not impossibe, but unlikely.

Does anyone feel he deserves one after his actions? Yes, absulutely. Make him submit to the laws which he mocked for so long.

I do hope some surprise witness get called begore the court, but I'm not holding my breath. As satisfying as it is to see Saddam get what is his, I have a feeling that I'm looking at the modern equialent of a Roman Emperror parading his defeated foe thought the streats of Rome as a victory parade.
posted by homunculus at 1:52 AM on July 2, 2004


Good news - Saddam Hussein is facing the death penalty.

Bad news - it's going to be taken by David Beckham.
posted by salmacis at 1:58 AM on July 2, 2004


Well, saddam is being put on trial by the iraqis.

I'm curious to see how they do jury selection, I mean, how on earth are they going to find a non-biased jurry?
posted by delmoi at 2:00 AM on July 2, 2004


Fair trial, no matter what. If it was Adolf fucking Hitler there would be no difference.
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:32 AM on July 2, 2004


He needs to face justice for the bad bad things he did.






He's not the only one.
posted by Blue Stone at 2:33 AM on July 2, 2004


I'm surprised he seemed totally on the ball questioning the authority of the US-appointed judge, etc. From the news reports of him in confinement it sounded like he was totally off his rocker. But if he still has his wits about him and can get a real lawyer, he'll still go down but me might not go down without taking a few key US administration people with him.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:34 AM on July 2, 2004


He's had a lot of time to collect his thoughts and his position is really pretty clear: he's been totally dicked by marauders. The rest of us have this complicated picture to try to bring into focus, but for him, things are very, very simple. And he's a confident man, accustomed to being in charge. Not only that, he's probably still holding on to the fantasy that people in the Middle East look up to him as the only one with the balls to stand up to America. I expect him to put on a good show, and milk the provisional government, the UN,and the USA for everything they're worth. He'll be to international law what Larry Flynt was to obscenity law: the worst possible case, and thus the best possible test of the laws themselves.
posted by scarabic at 2:51 AM on July 2, 2004


FWIW: I'd like to see his balls in a Cuisinart on CNN.
posted by scarabic at 2:52 AM on July 2, 2004


I noticed that one of the charges against Saddam is the illegal invasion of Kuwait. I hope that makes Bush Jr and Blair stop and think..
posted by salmacis at 3:11 AM on July 2, 2004


There was an Iraqi woman on BBC Breakfast, I think, who had an appealing idea for what Saddam should face - rather than having him executed, she felt it would be a more fitting punishment to see him locked up for the rest of his life, gazing out on the Iraqi people making a happy life for themselves, free of the old bastard.
posted by Blue Stone at 3:25 AM on July 2, 2004


Why has this story been buried on page one of every news paper in the world?
posted by Outlawyr at 3:52 AM on July 2, 2004


Ceausescu and Milosevic acted very similar during their trials, it's an angry-dictator thing.
posted by dabitch at 4:02 AM on July 2, 2004


Personally, I'm thinking that the only way the trial couldn't be fair is if he got off with anything less than his life.
Then again, do you guys think he could become a martyr if he were put to death?
posted by whoshotwho at 4:50 AM on July 2, 2004


I'd be all in favour of the death penalty for Saddam. But...it would end his suffering too soon, it would make him a martyr and would 'rally the troops'.

(And, by the way, I interpret "Fair Trial" to mean "Just, appropriate and correct verdict on the crimes alleged", in which case Saddam has much to fear whether it's a fair trial or not).
posted by Jimbob at 1:39 AM PST on July 2

I'd like to pick up on the contradiction inherent in that statement: if you want to treat him like any other criminal, and give him a fair trial, the 'correct' verdict would not be assumed in advance.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:02 AM on July 2, 2004


It's probably just me, but I'm having this wee frission of surrealism with the US Brand of Democracy (Iraqi Style) ™ that combines the flavourful idealism of fair trial by jury with the zest of the death penalty...
posted by romakimmy at 5:07 AM on July 2, 2004


It needs to be a fair trial for a few reasons. First, we need to stop making a mockery of our own justice system. It's worked for quite a long time without introducing the concept of Justice-Lite. Second if we're still standing behind the statement that we've done all of this for the Iraqi people we need to show them that Justice works. Third, our own leaders need to see that Justice works.

Will he be a martyr if he's put to death? By some people, a violent minority, he will be. Those same people would spin any outcome to a sign that their side is right.

This fresh government has an important job ahead of it. If it's not a fair trial then we know we've just replaced one dictatorship with another.
posted by substrate at 5:11 AM on July 2, 2004


Does anyone know what kind of judicial system they have? They may not even use juries. Could be a panel of judges, or some similar style.
I wish I spoke the language. I would love to hear his testimony firsthand from him, unfiltered.
posted by a3matrix at 5:20 AM on July 2, 2004


Saddam is a pretty smart cookie. I'm looking forward to seeing what his defense is going to be. He might maintain that the charges of invading Kuwait have already been "paid for," since the U.S. had every opportunity to remove him from power a decade ago. That they didn't may give him some legal muscle.

As for gassing the Kurds -- he might say that it was necessary for national defense. Just look at the Israeli's, who regularly bomb and attack disidents within their own borders. Just because it was a chemical attack instead of traditional firepower doesn't change much -- after all, he got the stuff from us, so we can't exactly say we were trying to stop him.

Hell, even the "torture chamber" charges are going to be interesting given the U.S.'s own recent problems in this arena. I have a feeling the entire trial is going to be filled with, "Well, yeah, but as you guys found out, you sometimes have to lean hard on dissidents if you want to maintain control of the country. It ain't so easy being the king."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:31 AM on July 2, 2004


Should anyone receive an unfair trial???

From the news reports of him in confinement it sounded like he was totally off his rocker.

Ah, the beauty of propaganda...
posted by rushmc at 5:34 AM on July 2, 2004


What Blue Stone said. Killing the f****r gives him an easy out & his supporters a martyred figurehead.
posted by i_cola at 5:37 AM on July 2, 2004


The point of a fair trial (as everyone who has actually read the Declaration of Independence, knows) has nothing to do with how disserving we perceive the defendant to be. The foundation of our government, and the government we desire to establish in Iraq, is the principle that all men are endowed with certain rights. The legitimacy of government is defined by how well it protects and defends those rights.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:52 AM on July 2, 2004


As satisfying as it is to see Saddam get what is his, I have a feeling that I'm looking at the modern equialent of a Roman Emperror parading his defeated foe thought the streats of Rome as a victory parade

Don't forget what happened to the captured enemy at the end of the Triumph: thrown into the jail and ritually strangled.
posted by smcniven at 5:58 AM on July 2, 2004


saddam bad; usa good
posted by larry_darrell at 6:01 AM on July 2, 2004


Interesting that Saddam gets better treatment than those in Guantanamo...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:30 AM on July 2, 2004


I'd never have heard of this if it weren't posted to metafilter.

Well, I'm afraid the war against NewsFilter was lost a long time ago, but this is a particularly piss-poor post: not even a pretense at context or an interesting slant, just "here's the latest Big Story... LET'S TALK ABOUT IT!" It's not as if... oh, screw it, I'm wasting my carpal tunnels.

On topic: yeah, everybody deserves a... zzzzzzzzz....
posted by languagehat at 6:34 AM on July 2, 2004


the 'correct' verdict would not be assumed in advance.

Well, I didn't mean it in that way exactly dash_slot (although I can understand how you might have interpreted my statements that way)...I mean that if obviously false conclusions were drawn at the end, it would have been unfair. It would not have been a "correct" outcome, for instance, if he was absolved of all crimes. If he were, something fishy was obviously going on.

Saddam has already made one interesting admission: when confronted with the issue of the gassing of Kurds, he stated "Yes, I heard about that". In regards to crimes against humanity, a leader can be found guilty in both ordering the actions to take place, or in knowing about the actions but failing to do anything about it. In this case, even in the unlikely event that he did not order those events, he just admitted he was aware of them. Strike one. Interesting.
posted by Jimbob at 6:36 AM on July 2, 2004


He'll be convicted and promptly put to death. The new Iraqi government can't let him live, because there's too much risk he'll manage a comeback and have them (and all their family members) killed.
posted by MattD at 6:36 AM on July 2, 2004


"We're gonna give you a fair trial, followed by a first class hanging." -- Silverado

Except that Paul Bremer suspended the death penalty:
[director of Iraq's war crimes tribunal] Salem Chalabi said Iraqi law permitted execution for murderers, but a current coalition-imposed moratorium on capital punishment would have to be lifted.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:40 AM on July 2, 2004


Has anyone seen this article by Pat Buchanan over at Drudge? Worth a read.
Not directly related to this thread, but not worthy of a fpp.
posted by a3matrix at 6:42 AM on July 2, 2004


Wow. I get the feeling things are really hitting the fan when I start agreeing with Pat Buchanan. An excellent link a3matrix - had it be presented appropriately I think it'd have made an excellent FPP.
posted by aladfar at 6:56 AM on July 2, 2004


There are so many posts along the lines of GW and Iraq, that was unsure if this had been covered. And it being Friday, I didn't want to FPP it. Supposed to be Friday flahs fun day, before the long weekend.
I thought it interesting, given the author.
posted by a3matrix at 7:10 AM on July 2, 2004


metafilter: totally dicked by marauders.

(sorry, I never did one of those before!)

so back on topic -- of COURSE he deserves a fair trial. holy crap, what are you thinking? jeezum crow, everyone deserves a fair trial, I don't care what they did.
posted by sugarfish at 7:10 AM on July 2, 2004


"Does anyone feel he deserves one after his actions?"

It appears the answer is yes. Do you have any other questions?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:18 AM on July 2, 2004


Pat Buchanan has talked a lot of sense from even before Iraq was invaded. It's disturbing that an otherwise certified nutjob is one of the voices of sanity in this regard.
posted by salmacis at 7:23 AM on July 2, 2004


He might maintain that the charges of invading Kuwait have already been "paid for," since the U.S. had every opportunity to remove him from power a decade ago. That they didn't may give him some legal muscle.

Of only the flimsiest sort. Rapid response: Yes, and we had a cease fire agreement, which you spend a decade violating on a daily basis. Rarely in history has a victorious force been as patient with its defeated as we, and even we finally got fed up.

As for gassing the Kurds -- he might say that it was necessary for national defense. Just look at the Israeli's, who regularly bomb and attack disidents within their own borders. Just because it was a chemical attack instead of traditional firepower doesn't change much -- after all, he got the stuff from us, so we can't exactly say we were trying to stop him.

This is probably the easiest case to make. However, it should at least be noted that we gave him nasty stuff to use on the Iranis, not on his own people, which is what he's being charged with here.

Hell, even the "torture chamber" charges are going to be interesting given the U.S.'s own recent problems in this arena. I have a feeling the entire trial is going to be filled with, "Well, yeah, but as you guys found out, you sometimes have to lean hard on dissidents if you want to maintain control of the country. It ain't so easy being the king."

This folds on two counts. The first is that the people who comitted the crimes under our watch are being punished, just as you will be if you are judged guilty. Second, while intense humiliation and sexual abuse of prisoners certainly is nothing to be lauded, anyone who thinks it equal to the flat-out torture found in this video [caution! extremely graphic images that the US media haven't let us see] truly must be a madman.

Of course, all of these are points that have been hashed over repeatedly, and fruitlessly here, so I suppose anyone who feels that Saddam can make a tu coque defense and actually have a valid point isn't going to change his mind because of anything I might say.
posted by jammer at 8:08 AM on July 2, 2004


(Not that I don't think he will do this. I suspect he will, as I'm fairly certain he's going to do everything in his power to give the Coalition a couple black eyes and drive as much of a wedge between us and the Iraqis as possible. And, unfortunately, he'll probably suceed, a little, for a short term, and the blood of that many more Iraqis (and Americans) will be on his hands. It's just what insane dictators do when finally caught... try as hard as they can to destroy everything else around them as they go out.)
posted by jammer at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2004


It can't be fair at all if he's tried in Iraq--he should be in the Hague, like Milosevic. The Iraqis are going to convict him for sure, and probably kill him. We wouldn't have it any other way.

I can't wait tho, to see if he brings up that we were funding him when he gassed the kurds, etc, etc...

Although it is no longer the occupying power, the United States still will loom large in the proceedings. It is footing the bill, and U.S. investigators and lawyers have helped gather evidence, interview witnesses and collect and comb through mounds of documents.
posted by amberglow at 8:34 AM on July 2, 2004


<flame on>
Let's bring the UN inspectors into the United States and see if the Bush regime is producing, stockpiling, and concealing weapons of mass destruction.
Time for a regime change?
Furthermore, I can't say I disagree with the results of the US invasion of Iraq, or the (alleged) motivation, but I do disagree with the means. "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" etc.
I'm sure it paints me lefty to say it, but these days I just vote for whichever candidate seems to want to screw me the least.
<flame off>
posted by leapfrog at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2004


At least he found time to play rock paper scissors.
posted by adampsyche at 9:33 AM on July 2, 2004


U.S. news networks agreed to let the American military censor out certain images of Saddam Hussein's court hearing Thursday in Baghdad, one in a bizarre series of events surrounding coverage of the session. Apparently there was a smack at Bush that we never saw.

and leapfrog: will this do?
posted by amberglow at 9:37 AM on July 2, 2004


Yes, and we had a cease fire agreement, which you spend a decade violating on a daily basis.

See, again I think he's got plenty to work with. "Ok, you think I was violating the U.N.? Prove it. Where are all the weapons you said I had? Still can't find them? Well, I told you so."

There are Iraqi citizens who would rather have him then the puppet government they've got now. Even after all the crap he put them through. He may have been a meglomaniacal dictator, but he was their meglomaniacal dictator. :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:46 AM on July 2, 2004


HAHAHAHAHA Excellent link adam.
posted by a3matrix at 9:58 AM on July 2, 2004


and even we finally got fed up.

The more fool us.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:14 AM on July 2, 2004


Pat Buchanan has talked a lot of sense from even before Iraq was invaded. It's disturbing that an otherwise certified nutjob is one of the voices of sanity in this regard. - by salmacis


I know...how screwy is that?
posted by dejah420 at 10:40 AM on July 2, 2004


Ceausescu and Milosevic...

Nit: Wasn't Ceaucescu hauled out of bed in the dead of night by his [formerly] own secret police and shot in some warehouse, while everything was filmed with a cheap VHS video cam?

As for Saddam, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in charge over there in about three and a half years....
posted by lodurr at 10:42 AM on July 2, 2004


I think the 'violating on a daily basis' may have been referring to Saddam's forces firing on US and British planes enforcing the no-fly zones despite the cease fire agreement.
posted by schlyer at 10:42 AM on July 2, 2004


In regards to Buchanan, I must admit that I rarely ever agree with him, but I always enjoy reading him simply because he tends to deliver a well-reasoned argument.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:39 AM on July 2, 2004


As for Saddam, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in charge over there in about three and a half years....

Why not next year? Aren't they going to have elections in January?
posted by a3matrix at 12:05 PM on July 2, 2004


Second, while intense humiliation and sexual abuse of prisoners certainly is nothing to be lauded,

This is off-topic, but I am sick to death of this downplaying of our actions at Abu Ghraib, and I am sick to death of the "well, at least we aren't as evil as the other guy" defense. We went waaaaay beyond humiliation and sexual abuse: at least one prisoner was beaten to death, and dogs were set loose to attack others.

the people who comitted the crimes under our watch are being punished

When did they arrest Rumsfeld? I must've missed that.
posted by ook at 2:11 PM on July 2, 2004


Nit: Wasn't Ceaucescu hauled out of bed in the dead of night by his [formerly] own secret police and shot in some warehouse, while everything was filmed with a cheap VHS video cam?

Nope, but close.

Ceausescu was captured after he ran with a helicopter (not while sleeping), was taken to an ad-hoc tribunal, where he was summarily judged and afterwards sentenced to be executed, punishment which he received in the courtyard of the makeshift tribunal.

Not exactly fair trial, but...

P.S. It was the last execution in Romania.
posted by Masi at 2:50 PM on July 2, 2004


Here Comes the Judge: Hussein Trial May Set a New Low
The Bush Administration has already Lost the Chance to bring this Man to Justice and Extend the reach of International Law


What realistic chance does the Iraqi war crimes court have in both controlling Hussein and giving him a legitimate trial?

The Iraqi war crimes court is yet another aspect of the occupation controlled by discredited Pentagon con man Ahmed Chalabi. Appointed by the Iraqi Governing Council to head the trials, his nephew Salem Chalabi promises that the courts will abide by international law.

posted by amberglow at 2:56 PM on July 2, 2004


Does the Hague support the death penalty? Because I was thinking, if the US was really serious about "seeking justice," they'd put him through the same system Milosevic had. But by handing him to the Iraqis, the US almost guarantees the guy will be killed, without having to pull the trigger itself, and without worry that he'll somehow excape the executioner's song.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:59 PM on July 2, 2004


escape. Argh.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:00 PM on July 2, 2004


The first is that the people who comitted the crimes under our watch are being punished

They are? How many are in jail yet?
posted by rushmc at 5:19 PM on July 2, 2004


Irony makes a court appearance
posted by homunculus at 3:10 PM on July 3, 2004


Saddam's trial will test Iraq
posted by homunculus at 11:24 AM on July 4, 2004


I always shudder whenever I hear someone declaring that somebody deserves death without proper and legitimate trial. This is no jab at you, emc. Your usage may be ironic.

The Bush administration's censoring of Saddam's "trial" by the "Iraqi people" stinks to high heaven. We're not supposed to care about the principles because they only apply to people we like. Bullshit. All humans deserve to have their position brought forward and considered.

Also, a political and psychological autopsy should be performed on the career and life of this man. It's not as if he really is a purely evil and unstoppable force. He's a man, who, like all others, needs the help of many, many people to achieve anything.

Simply lopping off his head would prevent us from unraveling the web of support that made his truly heinous deeds possible. And of course there are a lot in Washington who don't want that story told. I say we let him tell it.

This rush to kill him before he can speak shows how dirty our hands are.
posted by squirrel at 11:47 AM on July 4, 2004


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