Monday, June 14, 2004

Release Saddam!

The Guardian:

Saddam Hussein must either be released from custody by June 30 or charged if the US and the new Iraqi government are to conform to international law, the International Committee of the Red Cross said last night.

Surely there must be some crime to charge Hussein with but why hasn't the US Government done so?

According to the New York Times, last year White House lawyers concluded that President Bush could legally order interrogators to torture and even kill people in the interest of national security – so if that's legal, what the hell are we charging Saddam Hussein with? –Jay Leno

There has been some speculation that the reason Hussein hasn't been charged is that if he goes to trial, he will remind everyone that it was the recently deceased saint of the Neocons, Ronald Reagan and his then-flunkies, Rumsfeld and Chenney who sold him the chemical weapons that he used against the Kurds in the 1980's (these same chemical weapons were flaunted a year ago as just te tip of the evil iceberg in regards to Saddam's WMDs, if you remember). This is a speculation, of course. But it adds to the growing controversy over the rights of Combatants/POWs and the increasingly flimsy excuses given for holding them. It would be a travesty if Hussein were released on a technicality on July 1st, just because everyone in the DOJ was too busy writing torture memos and just plum forgot to put together a case against him.

Of course, another angle on this is that the US hasn't charged Hussein with anything because he hasn't broken any US laws. Despite all Bush's attempts to link the two in the mind sof the American People, Hussein had nothing to do with the WTC attacks or any other terrorist acts against the US. So he may not be subject to American law and since Bush has made it plain that he thinks international law is OK for the French but need not apply to the US, there may be nothing we can do with Hussein except:

  1. Let him go

  2. Turn him over to a third party who could then arrest him under international law

  3. Turn him over to the Iraqi Government (which is full of Baathists who might either let him go or put him back in power)


Scenario 1 is simply unexceptable. too many people have died trying to put that man behind bars to simply let him walk away on July 1st. Scenario 2 would rob Bush of his one paper thin sliver of glory, and the last remaining pretext for invading Iraq. Scenario 3 would be even worse than scenario 1. So unless the US finds a convenient legal loophole by the end of the month and can charge Hussein with something, anything, maybe even failure to pay parking tickets, George Bush might just loose his only chance at Reelection American Justice.

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