FISKING Ol' BOB SCHEER
The sixties Marxist revolutionary turned trendy bourgeois-left journalist is the type of guy where every question is the nail for which the United States needs to be beaten with a hammer:
Even a Tyrant Is Entitled to Due Process
[posted online on July 6, 2004]
Has anyone noticed that the charges leveled last week against Saddam Hussein bore no relation to the reasons offered by President Bush for his pre-emptive invasion of Iraq? Not a word about Hussein being linked to terrorist attacks on the United States or having weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to our nation's security.
Perhaps genocide and crimes against humanity are of higher moral importance ? Or war crimes ?
That is because after seven months of interrogation, the United States appears to have learned nothing from Hussein or any other source in the world that supports the Pazresident's decision to go to war. Washington turned Hussein over to the Iraqis without charging its infamous prisoner of war with any of these crimes. And even the Iraqis did not charge him with being behind the insurgency that almost daily claims American lives.
I'm confused. When did the NATION or the LA Times begin sending reporters into military interrogation sessions ? How does Scheer know that American intelligence " learned nothing " ? Because they haven't said " We just learned the following from Saddam..." If we knew something from Saddam, and then gave a press release, wouldn't that sort of tip off the insurgents too ?
It's a travesty, if you think about it. The fact is that the United States, which holds itself up as the exemplar of democracy for the entire Middle East, held Hussein in captivity for seven months, virtually incommunicado, without access to lawyers of his choosing and without charging him with a crime or releasing him at the end of the occupation, as required by the Geneva Convention.
Saddam Hussein was given POW status and access to Red Cross visits as per Geneva. POWs are not given lawyers until they are formally charged with war crimes. The United States had the right as a belligerent but not the obligation to immediately begin judicial proceedings. Scheer either doesn't know what he's talking about here or is talking out of his ass.
If the United States believes, as most of the world does, that Hussein committed crimes against humanity...
But does Robert Scheer believe it ?
... then he is entitled to the same international standards of due process that the United States and its allies applied to top Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. It is well established in such cases that justice will not be served by turning Hussein over to be tried by his former political rivals or his victims.
First, the top Nazis were extensively debriefed by Allied intelligence services and given a battery of psychological and IQ tests before being given access to lawyers. Secondly, the defense was circumscribed by Allied policy in terms of what they could argue vis-a-vis Soviet behavior. Thirdly, in former occupied countries and in German de-nazification courts, the former victims of Nazi brutality often sat in judgement of accused smaller-fry Nazis. Fourth, the Kurds -or at least Talabani- have asked that Saddam not receive the death penalty. Again, Sheer talks out of his ass.
No one will be fooled by the claim that we are merely acceding to the demands of the new Iraqi government, since its leader, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, has long been on the CIA payroll and was essentially appointed to his post by the United States.
Was the UN involved here or did I miss something ? Wasn't "our choice" for Iraqi president bonged ?
Since an anti-American Iraqi Communist government, Scheer's likely first choice, isn't available I'm wondering which Iraqis would be qualified to judge Saddam in his opinion ? al Sadr ? Hakim ? Saddam's fellow ex-Baathists ?
Similarly, Salem Chalabi, nephew of Pentagon protégé and discredited Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi, was put in charge of the trial by the United States, creating what looks so far like nothing more than a show trial. The younger Chalabi is also a member of the INC, the exile organization bankrolled by US taxpayers that provided much of the now disproven "intelligence" Bush used in speech after speech to convince Americans of the urgency of the Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction and terrorism "threat."
Salem Chalabi was picked by Bush's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice. In a secret directive issued in January and leaked to the public in March, Rice authorized a delegation of fifty lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to be sent to Iraq to prepare for Hussein's trial. Chalabi is not only the prosecutor but chose the judge, whose identity is a secret.
In fairness to Robert Scheer, he's right here. Chalabi was an ill-considered choice for reasons of politics even if he was on the level.
It is thus a huge stretch to call the proceedings a fair trial or an Iraqi-run affair. Men long on the US payroll are running the country and the trial; US troops are still guarding Hussein. And the United States even chose what images could be broadcast and told pool reporters they could not record Hussein's voice. An unauthorized audiotape was, however, leaked to the media.
Earth to Bob - we had the right to try Saddam directly via a military court-martial under Geneva. Us, the Americans, by ourselves. Solo. So in fact, would the Iranians. Or the Kuwaitis. And yes, his own people.
Why is Scheer afraid to openly state *who * should try Saddam ? I gather he has an opinion here since he objects so strongly to the United states and non-Islamist, Non-Baathist Iraqis.
We have already grossly violated the standard of Nuremberg laid down by US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson: "That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason." But the four great nations Jackson was referring to, led by our own, were not guilty of committing aggression but rather of stopping it. The first principle of the Nuremberg trials was to hold nations accountable for crimes against peace."
Jackson was one of the Nuremburg prosecutors so he is praising himself while forgetting about the vast number of Germans and tens of thousands of collaborators given summary justice at the time by the French and the Soviets. Speaking of the Soviets, they were partners
in Hitler's aggression against Poland, the Baltic states and Romania.
It is therefore fitting that the preliminary indictment holds Hussein responsible for his aggression against Kuwait, which precipitated the 1991 Gulf War. How disturbing that in the current war it was the United States that committed aggression by invading Iraq based on false premises, thereby violating the Nuremberg principle.
Judge not, lest ye be judged is Scripture not to be taken lightly.
Sure Bob. No prejudgement in your columns. Not a bit.