The show trial begins


Saddam is finally being held accountable for his many crimes against humanity. It is a shame that it is being done under an American puppet regime. It is significant that the US felt obliged to censor him, showing pictures without sound for large chucks of the court appearance. Is the US still trying to push the line that the insurgency is dominated by Saddam loyalists? Surely the fact that the attacks have increased after Saddam's arrest proves this is not the case? Or were they worried about Saddam talking about his deals with the Reagan and Bush I administrations in the 1980s?

What of the charges? Significantly no mention was made of the Iran war (perhaps due to US support at the time). Equally significant is the fact that most of the crimes listed occurred when Saddam was being supported by the west (particularly by the US and UK). In the case of the Anfal ethnic cleansing campaign against Kurds (1987-88) and the gassing Kurdish villagers in Halabja (1988) the US and UK showed its horror of the crimes by increasing support for Saddam. Nor did his killing of political activists, religious figures and thousands of the Kurdish Barzani clan in 1983 stop Reagan or Thatcher arming his regime.

Saddam's one true crime in the eyes of US imperialism is listed: the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. This was when he did the one thing the US can never forgive: he failed to follow orders. Saddam's demonisation starts here. Saying that, you would think that the occupying powers would have been less keen to mention it. After all, if invading another country is a war crime then surely we can expect Bush and Blair to join Saddam in the dock?

Which brings us to the last crime listed, the suppressing of Kurdish and Shia uprisings in 1991. It would be churlish to note that this repression only took place because the US allowed it to happen. America preferred Saddam to popular rebellion. It would also be churlish to point out that the occupying powers in Iraq are currently trying to put down a Sunni and Shia uprising.

Clearly it is not the crime which matters, but who does it. Such is the nature of justice under capitalism.


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