Friday, December 16, 2005


The Black
Book
Of
Saddam
Hussein



Lost amid the Bush-bashing is the story of Saddam Hussein's atrocities, from No Pasaran, and the Australian:


The youngest Hakim detained was only 14. His father and two brothers, together with 13 other relatives, were executed within the first weeks of detention. He and the rest were held in Abu Ghraib, 22 in a cell that measured 4mx6m. There was no running water and a hole in the corner served as a toilet. Recounting his detention in the book, Abdoul al-Hakim says:

"The worst moments? It was all terrible, but the worst was the fear of being executed. Each time we heard the lock turn we were silent; it could be the moment to leave, for me, for another. I am angry with those who mix the crimes of the Americans with those of Saddam when they are not comparable."

WITH the trial of Saddam Hussein under way, those in the God-damn-America camp find themselves uncomfortably wedged. Should they justify their opposition to the war by downplaying Saddam's crimes while sheeting home blame for the present turmoil to the US and its allies? Or do they opt for the defence of moral equivalence, conceding that Saddam was indeed a monster but those US presidents who once backed his regime, including George H.W. Bush, are the real monsters.

The best riposte to this warped analysis is a scholarly and sober 700-page volume recently published in France, of all places. Le Livre Noir de Saddam Hussein (The Black Book of Saddam Hussein) is a robust denunciation of Saddam's regime that does not fall into the trap of viewing everything in Iraq through a US-centric prism.

The writers - Arabs, Americans, Germans, French and Iranian - have produced the most comprehensive work to date on the former Iraqi president's war crimes, assembling a mass of evidence that makes the anti-intervention arguments redundant.

"The first weapon of mass destruction was Saddam Hussein," writes Bernard Kouchner, who has been observing atrocities in Iraq since he led the first Medecins Sans Frontieres mission there in 1974.

The obsession of many journalists and commentators with the fruitless hunt for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons has meant much of the evidence of Saddam's atrocities in liberated Iraq has been under-reported. Sinje Caren Stoyke, a German archeologist and president of Archeologists for Human Rights, catalogues 288 mass graves, a list that is already out of date with the discovery of fresh sites every week.

"There is no secret about these mass graves," Stoyke writes. "Military convoys crossed towns, full of civilian prisoners, and returned empty. People living near execution sites heard the cries of men, women and children. They heard shots followed by silence."

Stoyke estimates one million people are missing in Iraq, presumed dead

Abdullah Mohammed Hussein was a soldier fighting in the mountains when Iraqi troops took the Kurdish village of Sedar and deported three-quarters of the inhabitants, including his mother, his wife and their seven children. They were taken to a concentration camp at Topzawa and from there some were taken to an execution ground near the archeological site of Hatra, south of Mosul.

The remains of 192 people have been found, 123 women and children and 69 men, among them Abdullah's wife and three of their children. There is no trace of his mother and the other four children. They were victims of the genocidal Anfal campaign, which sought to exterminate the Kurds.

Between February and September 1988, 100,000 to 180,000 Kurds died or disappeared. The bombing of the Kurdish village of Halabja with chemical weapons including mustard gas, tabun, sarin and VX on March 16, 1988, which killed 3000 to 5000 civilians, was the most publicised of these atrocities because it occurred near the Iranian border and Iranian troops were able to penetrate with the assistance of Kurds, filming and photographing the victims.

Halabja was not an isolated case however. Saddam used chemical weapons at least 60 times against Kurdish villages during Anfal.


Etc., etc., etc.

It's a big book, and it puts to shame all those who opposed the war. Every word is a condemnation and an articulation of the lack of compassion the American Left has shown.

The fact is, we knew of these crimes before the war. This book, simply, details them more explicitly.

The deepest parts of hell are reserved for those who would do nothing in the face of evil.