Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sad-dam Sure of Himself

Like his predecessors in genocidal crime before him (Milosevic, are you listening?), Saddam deployed the first tactic of a known criminal on trial today, the opening day of his war crimes proceedings: question the legitimacy of the tribunal. "I won't answer to this so-called court ... Who are you? What are you?" Saddam said, followed by, according to past-dictators-on-trial protocol, a reaffirmation that, despite some time behind bars, being internationally exposed as a criminal, and having been officially and successfully dethroned, he is still the ruler of the land: "I retain my constitutional rights as the president of Iraq."And like all trials featuring an infamous defendant who has committed many crimes over a very long time period, the focus was on one isolated incident that could at least be a metaphor for the grander insidiousness accomplished by the individual in question. In Saddam's case, the target is his involvement in the 1982 murder of over 140 Shiites in the village of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad. His response? "I said what I said, I am not guilty, I am innocent." Sure you are -- by the way, can we proceed to any and all involvement you may have had in a little thing I like to call the Iran-Iraq War? Focus, Saddam, this one is not so easy.

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