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Thursday, June 30, 2005

W vs Saddam

Oh My God, did I get hate mail about the piece I did comparing Goering to Saddam. The obscene and anonymous replies missed the intent of the story: to draw a contrast to the way both of these men behaved in captivity. What I got was a trail of ‘George Bush is as much of a criminal as Goering and Saddam.' Oh Really? Here is a list of Saddam Hits for the last twenty years:
-- According to a 2001 Amnesty International report, "victims of torture in Iraq are subjected to a wide range of forms of torture, including the gouging out of eyes, severe beatings and electric shocks... some victims have died as a result and many have been left with permanent physical and psychological damage."
-- Saddam has had approximately 40 of his own relatives murdered.
-- Allegations of prostitution used to intimidate opponents of the regime, have been used by the regime to justify the barbaric beheading of women.
-- Documented chemical attacks by the regime, from 1983 to 1988, resulted in some 30,000 Iraqi and Iranian deaths.
-- Human Rights Watch estimates that Saddam's 1987-1988 campaign of terror against the Kurds killed at least 50,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 Kurds.
-- The Iraqi regime used chemical agents to include mustard gas and nerve agents in attacks against at least 40 Kurdish villages between 1987-1988. The largest was the attack on Halabja which resulted in approximately 5,000 deaths.
-- 2,000 Kurdish villages were destroyed during the campaign of terror.
-- Iraq's 13 million Shi'a Muslims, the majority of Iraq's population of approximately 22 million, face severe restrictions on their religious practice, including a ban on communal Friday prayer, and restriction on funeral processions.
-- According to Human Rights Watch, "senior Arab diplomats told the London-based Arabic daily newspaper al-Hayat in October [1991] that Iraqi leaders were privately acknowledging that 250,000 people were killed during the uprisings, with most of the casualties in the south."
-- Refugees International reports that the "Oppressive government policies have led to the internal displacement of 900,000 Iraqis, primarily Kurds who have fled to the north to escape Saddam Hussein's Arabization campaigns (which involve forcing Kurds to renounce their Kurdish identity or lose their property) and Marsh Arabs, who fled the government's campaign to dry up the southern marshes for agricultural use. More than 200,000 Iraqis continue to live as refugees in Iran."
-- The U.S. Committee for Refugees, in 2002, estimated that nearly 100,000 Kurds, Assyrians and Turkomans had previously been expelled, by the regime, from the "central-government-controlled Kirkuk and surrounding districts in the oil-rich region bordering the Kurdish controlled north."
-- "Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, preventively, but died because of the nature of the regime under which they are living." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, March 27, 2003)
-- Under the oil-for-food program, the international community sought to make available to the Iraqi people adequate supplies of food and medicine, but the regime blocked sufficient access for international workers to ensure proper distribution of these supplies.
-- Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces have discovered military warehouses filled with food supplies meant for the Iraqi people that had been diverted by Iraqi military forces.
-- The Iraqi regime has repeatedly refused visits by human rights monitors. From 1992 until 2002, Saddam prevented the UN Special Rapporteur from visiting Iraq.
-- The UN Special Rapporteur's September 2001, report criticized the regime for "the sheer number of executions," the number of "extrajudicial executions on political grounds," and "the absence of a due process of the law."
Executions: Saddam Hussein's regime has carried out frequent summary executions, including:
-- 4,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in 1984;-- 3,000 prisoners at the Mahjar prison from 1993-1998;
-- 2,500 prisoners were executed between 1997-1999 in a "prison cleansing campaign";
-- 22 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/March 2000;
-- 23 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in October 2001;
-- At least 130 Iraqi women were beheaded between June 2000 and April 2001;

Nothing else needs to be said.

Comments:
I wrote the original post comparing Bush and Saddam and NEVER said they were the same. In fact I explicitly said that was not my intention. Be careful, they say intellectual integrity is the first thing to go when someone gets a blog... anyway, my point wasn't that they were the same but that they weren't as different as conservatives like to pretend. I think Saddam was a monster but then again I don't support the people that sold him weapons and kept him in power. I also think the Prince of Saud is a monster but that doesn't keep W from a little ultra hetero hand holding
 
How many prisoners have been executed at Abu Ghraib since they US took it over? How many tortured? For what crimes were they murdered and tortured? Is it an acceptable amount? Do you know the answers? Would you trust the answers if they came from the administration that was responsible for them in the first place?
 
Thanks for your message. I think I finally see your world-view: the taking of any life is bad. You'd be suprised to know that I agree. Any loss of life in war is bad. But wars are necessary, my frined. Those in the military sacrifice so that others may live. Undeniably, the value we place on life is high. We have rules for how you treat people in war. Saddam didn't. He killed indiscriminantly in times of peace. We don't do that. When we do, we govern ourselves and punish those who did wrong. What seperates us from them is that we like life a lot more than they do. If they valued life as much as we did, there would be no explosions, no gas, no torture rooms, etc. ad nausea. We ARE better than they are in this and many other respects and until they value life and basic human rights like we do, we always will be better. It's that simple. Thanks for your message.
 
Thank you for your very coherent and decent response. I too value life, especially those of our soldiers. That's why it makes me so angry that over 1000 have been killed and over 10,000 injured to fight this war in Iraq. So we didn't torture them, they're still dead. Men, women and children killed in our name and for what? No WMD's, no links to Al Qaeda, no clear threat to America, so for what? Afghanistan I can see, but Iraq? What did we get for all of these lives and families shattered? Was there no better outlet for the massive amount of resources and lives involved in this war.

American Casualties

cost of war

Iraqi casualties
 
Brother, I wish we could get out of Iraq, NOW! We've done our bit. We toppled a pretty bad guy. It's over. I hate the waste. Like those movies and books that about Viet Nam - the one in particular is Hamburger Hill. Any person in command authority who had any connection to that Op should have been court-martialed. There is no good way for any solider to die. What I hate to see is that we lose soldiers to flippin bombs on the side of the road instead of a stand-up fight where we can take it to the enemy. I think we should get out of Iraq as soon as possible. But I can't make that call. W did it. So if we're going to be there, G-admit get enough troops over there and let's end this bloody thing. And I hope that W will make the decision to get our troops out in a minimum of at least a year. Why? Realistically, we need to give the Iraqi's the tools to defend themselves when we leave. The Iraqi people are better off without Saddam. And its the vision of the President that a democratic Iraq is better then the régime of lunatic. Let's do the rest of it right from here on out. Get on with it and get out of there.
 
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