Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Breathtaking Quote
In Support of Mass-Murder
From Ramsey Clark

Ramsey Clark, the former Attorney General of the United States, is acting as Saddam Hussein's lawyer. As such, he is now, quite literally, defending mass-murder:

The first charge being brought against Saddam Hussein is that in 1982, after his motorcade came under fire near the mainly Shiite town of Dujail, he ordered the torture and murder of 148 men and boys. It’s a relatively minor item in the catalog, but there it is.

The first prosecution witness in the case, Wadah al-Sheikh, has actually testified that he knows of no direct link between Saddam and the killings. The defense team has to hope that it can prove the same, or perhaps suggest that no such massacre occurred. Not so Ramsey Clark. In a recent BBC interview, he offered the excuse that Iraq was then fighting the Shiite nation of Iran:

He (Saddam) had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt.

Just go back and read that again. Ramsey Clark believes that

A) the massacre and torture did occur and
B) that it was ordered by his client and
C) that he was justified in ordering it and carrying it out.

That is quite sufficiently breathtaking. It is no less breathtaking when one recalls why Saddam “had this huge war going on.” He had, after all, ordered a full-scale invasion of the oil-bearing Iranian region of Khuzestan and attempted to redraw the frontiers in Iraq’s favor. Most experts accept a figure of about a million and a half as the number of young Iranians and Iraqis who lost their lives in consequence of this aggression (which incidentally enjoyed the approval of that Nobel Peace laureate Jimmy Carter). And Ramsey Clark says that the aggression is an additional reason to justify the massacre at Dujail.

A few days back, Neo-neocon had a great post on Ramsey Clark. It's worth reading the whole thing, but here's an excerpt:

One can argue that even dictators need defense attorneys, and that is most certainly true. It's a nasty job, but somebody has to do it. And yet someone is already doing it; Clark's lamentably eager services are hardly needed.

Yes, Clark never met a dictator he didn't like, and this has been the case for decades. And yes, Clark is probably the most extreme leftist alive today who actually held a position of power in a Presidency--in his case, that of Lyndon Johnson, under whom he served as Attorney General.

Clark seems to have sympathy for any suffering he personally witnesses. He didn't see Saddam's victims, so perhaps they are not real to him. But he sees poor old Saddam now, and it just about breaks his heart:

"The United States, and the Bush administration in particular, engineered the demonization of Hussein...Hussein has been held illegally for more than a year without once meeting a family member, friend or lawyer of his choice. Though the world has seen him time and again on television — disheveled, apparently disoriented with someone prying deep into his mouth and later alone before some unseen judge — he has been cut off from all communications with the outside world and surrounded by the same U.S. military that mistreated prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo... The United States has already destroyed any hope of legitimacy, fairness or even decency by its treatment and isolation of the former president and its creation of the Iraqi Special Tribunal to try him."

Clark's sympathies are activated by the suffering of old Nazis, as well, according to the Spectator interview:

He has defended Lithuanian and Ukrainian exiles accused of Nazi war crimes, and he felt strongly for them. "It is terrible to see the fear which such indictments strike into men’s hearts, and the shame they feel before their families," he tells me. "I have seen defendants being spat at in the face during trials."

Perhaps he just believed that his own clients were innocent, but his pity extends even to the Nazi leaders themselves: he thinks it ‘terrible’ that eight of them were executed at Nuremberg, and that Rudolf Hess was sentenced to solitary life imprisonment in Spandau.

This goes far beyond the amount of sympathy one would need to have in order to do a decent job defending someone. In some strange and dreadful alchemy, it seems that those suffering peasants of postwar China, those blacks who were disenfranchised (and worse) in the American South, and those who died in Vietnam, have morphed over the years in Clark's mind into the dictators and war criminals who arouse his sympathies now.

It's quite a journey.