Friday, December 02, 2005

In Defense of Saddam Hussein

In his thirty years as dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein murdered hundred of thousands of innocent people without justice or mercy. NOW HE IS INNOCENT.

Under Roman Law, under American Law, and, now that freedom and justice rule in Iraq, under Iraqi Law; a man who tortured men and boys to death for the entertainment and “education” of his sons; will be innocent UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

There should be no difficulty in attaining this conviction. Like a tourist in Hell, Saddam made films and videotapes of his atrocities. But for now he shelters under the shield of justice. He basks in the rights he so long denied his people and for which so much precious blood has been shed!

The irony is bitter sweet. The man who denied the most basic of human rights to his people, now demands them for himself. While questioning the legitimacy of the government and the court where he seeks mercy, he sits smug and secure, protected by the very law he would destroy. But for Her blindfold, Justice would weep!

I have great respect for the officers of this Iraqi court; for the judges and lawyers, both prosecution and defense, who take up the heavy burden of this trial. I stand in awe of the guards and soldiers who risk their lives, and the lives of their families, that a tyrant might find justice.

I have no respect for Ramsey Clark, a joy riding opportunist, seeking one more whiff of adoration, one more chance to attack the country that gives him, and the world, the freedom to savage it. As far as I can tell the Iraqi defense team, who are risking their lives – two have already been murdered – to see justice done, have not accepted this grandstanding interloper into their ranks. How such a publicity stunt would sully their sacrifice!

Now the world will wait while the “wheels of justice” grind out the atrocities of Saddam; both slow and fine. And we can have faith, that while justice is blind, she also wields a sword.

Personal note: I am against capital punishment under any circumstance. Death, the fate and right of all men, is too good for Saddam. Let him spend his days, and may they be long, in the life he designed for his fellows; in a world without freedom or hope, where mercy deepens the weight of justice.

Note #2: Chapter 2 Article 5 of the Iraqi Constitution reads:

The accused is innocent until proven guilty pursuant to law, and he likewise has the right to engage independent and competent counsel, to remain silent in response to questions addressed to him with no compulsion to testify for any reason, to participate in preparing his defense, and to summon and examine witnesses or to ask the judge to do so. At the time a person is arrested, he must be notified of these rights.”


Aeneas said...
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Aeneas said...

Personally, it really doesn't matter to me if Ramsey Clark is grand standing by seeking a position on Saddam's defense team if by doing so he can help ensure that Saddam Hussein gets an adequate defense for his trial. However, I do not approve of smearing the country as a defense tactic for his client or for what appears to be for personal gain.

It is interesting to contrast Clark's actions with those of John Adams, referring to Adams' defense of the soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre of 1770. Adams did not go out of his way to obtain the job of defending the British soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre as Clark did to defend Saddam. In addition, Adams rested his case on the facts in defense of his clients rather than on a smear campaign against the community or the government.

"I will enlarge no more on the evidence, but submit it to you.-Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the fact; if an assault was made to endanger their lives, the law is clear, they had a right to kill in their own defense; if it was not so severe as to endanger their lives, yet if they were assaulted at all, struck and abused by blows of any sort, by snow-balls, oyster-shells, cinders, clubs, or sticks of any kind; this was a provocation, for which the law reduces the offence of killing, down to manslaughter, in consideration of those passions in our nature, which cannot be eradicated. To your candour and justice I submit the prisoners and their cause." -- John Adams

Adams maintained not only the integrity of the judicial system, but also his own and helped plant the seeds of a new nation based on law not tyranny.

"The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right." --
John Adams

I believe Saddam's trial can have a similar positive effect for the future of a free and stable Iraq as did the trial of the soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre did for the U.S. I just hope Clark's actions and words don't taint the process so much that the trial becomes a net negative rather than a net positive for the fledgling democracy.

Rumpole said...


An interesting post! This trial raises many questions in my mind that I need to research. For example, what is the difference between a military court and a civil court? (I know that the U.S. military turned Saddam over to Iraqi authorities, but I still have that question.) How is jurisdiction determined between the two? Is the standard to convict the same? (i.e. it is different in civil vs. criminal law in our system).

While I agree that the death penalty would not be wise for Saddam (I see no point in making him a “martyr” to his cause), I am an advocate for capital punishment. Aeneas’ example of John Adams seemed particularly appropriate.

The Ramsey Clark issue is a difficult one for me. As difficult as it is to admit in a case like Saddam’s, the accused’s right to a fair trail (as defined by Iraqi law) must be protected. Saddam has the same rights as any other Iraqi citizen under the Iraqi Constitution.

Before I draw conclusions about Ramsey Clark, I have more questions that I must research. For example, how did Ramsey Clark get involved in the case? Did Saddam initiate the contact? Did Saddam’s defense team initiate the contact? Does Saddam even have a right to “foreign” counsel under Iraqi law? These are the relevant questions to me that go a long way as to determining Clark’s motives.

Ares said...

I think that all of us, whether we advocate capital punishment or not would agree that killing Saddam would be too good for him. I am, however, encouraged by reading that small portion of Iraq's Constitution because, altought the language is different the same ideas are given that we have right now. I would say that Iraq has looked at our system and taken the inadequacies out already (I refer to the striking similarity to the Miranda Warning found at the end of the excerpt).

Most importantly, I think everyone realizes why Saddam needs a fair trial, but this has all been covered already, so I will end here for now.


Lysis said...

Rumpole – Clark is not one of Saddam’s attorneys but seems to be meeting with them as a member of an advisory team of international lawyers. What concerns me is his insistence that the court first prove its legitimacy. Clark’s pitch to the media is that the court has an obligation to protect Saddam under the Iraqi Constitution while he is simultaneously claiming that the Iraqi Constitution is not legitimate. I will point out that Clark has defended the P.L.O. whose operatives threw wheelchair bound Leon Klinghoffer into the sea. He has also defended leaders of the Rwandan genocide, and Slobodan Milosevic. At least he is consistent. It is my feeling that Clark has found a way to grab headlines, and attack the United States.

Aeneas – Thanks for the note on John Adams. It is comforting to “clean” ones mind by considering the nobility of such actions and to take comfort in seeing how that obedience to nature law is the foundation of just government and society. I am so grateful to those who instruct our law enforcement officers on the proper and constitutional way to deal with criminals. To be involved in insuring that justice is done is as laudable as doing justice, and far longer reaching.

American now must teach the world by example and by actions the truths that are the foundation of justice. To defend justice, we must defeat ignorance.

Ares, you might be interested to know how I found the Iraqi Constitution.

As I worked on the post above, in support the claim that “Saddam was being offered the justice he denied others”, I wanted to check out the Iraqi “Bill of Rights”. As I was running the Exemp Prep room at the time, I asked a colleague to check it out for me. He went on the internet and returned with a printouy from a Blog called “Press Action”. The article was titled, “The Iraqi Bill of Rights”. The Coach shook his head, “I don’t think it says what you want it to.” he said.

Under Amendment VI it read:

VI. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by judges who may be specially trained to oversee their conviction; fair trials are by no means a right; the government of Iraq has no right to arrest try anyone without the permission of the United States and no right to try anyone associated with the occupation of Iraq.

I was taken back – it seemed so unjust!!! I scanned down the page. Amendment X read:

X. The powers not delegated to Iraq by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it to the provinces, are reserved to the United States; the United States furthermore reserves the right to edit, rewrite or violate any provision of the Constitution.

“THIS IS FAKE!!” I said. And then read the editor’s note:

Editors note: Due to the frequency with which the draft Iraqi constitution has been edited, there is no guarantee the Iraqi Bill of Rights will appear in the final Iraqi draft constitution in this form, or at all.

A HOAX, it was just a hoax. It took the coach friend several searches through the internet before he escaped loops that lead him repeatedly to this site alone. Finally an link to the Iraqi Government webpage brought up the constitution and the legitimate “Bill of Rights”. These rights - unlike in the US Constitution - are not added on as amendments, but directly incorporated in the document.

There are so many lies out there - what if we would have accepted the first “sources” dumped on us. What if that skepticism, that doubt, which is the beginning of wisdom, had never been cultivated?

These are the goals: learn to think, learn the facts, and help others to do the same.

lysis_verus said...

Golly a post from Lysis I can sort of agree with. I think perhaps your 'WillRogersian' Iraqi Constitution hits a little closer to home than you or many Agorafolk might be comfortable with. I, on the other hand, as a happy hard-core cynic remain tranquil in the face of satire. But kudos to you for finding the 'official' Iraqi Constitution.

Great post Aeneas. I especially enjoyed reading the John Adams stuff. I rather tend to agree with you. Ramsey Clark is perhaps grandstanding or whatever but due process of law is an ABSOLUTE in a free society. Even for Arkansas Playboys, Murderous Thug Dictators, Perfidious Vice-Presidential Chiefs of Staff, Korrupt Kongresskritters or mayhap even someday Deluded Proto-Fascists from Texas.

Lysis and Rumpole~ Questioning the venue or even jurisdiction of the court can be a viable tactic in major felony trials (this pretty major). Defense attorneys are ethically required to provide their clients with the best and most compotent representation possible. If there is a chance that such a ploy could affect the outcome in their client's favor, they are obliged to take it. Let Ramsey Clark bash and question as he will. If he's groundless, so what? If his stance has merit, the court will discover it and the trial will be more just for it...

I am also gratified to see Bushco FINALLY indict Jose Padilla after all these years of being held by the Federal Govt. in an unconstitutional manner. Perhaps somebody in the Administration dusted off a copy of that 'ol Constitution and saw what it said. OR perhaps they were fearful the case might reach the Supreme Court and Bushco would face an 'undesireable' outcome. Hmmm.

Bushco is making plans for a scaled withdrawal from Iraq (without calling it that). Even old Blood-n-Guts Murtha was upbeat and happy with Bushco on *This Week with George Stephanopoulos* today. Har Har.

Tis the season to be jolly:

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Happy Kwanza, Eid Mubarak and a Happy New Year Etc.

~Lysis Verus

Lysis said...

Hay, L V., Merry Christmas. I missed Murtha on Stephanopoulos, but I did catch him on NPR the other day. He was calling all the commanders and officers in Iraq cowards and liars. Cowards because they “are afraid to tell the truth about how the war is going;” liars because, for some reason, they keep saying the war is on course and that they are getting all the support they need from the administration; if not from the media.

Bush has always had a plan to withdraw the troops from Iraq. Glad you and Murtha finally noticed.

Dan Simpson said...

One note to LV. A defense attorney does not have an obligation to bring up any 'ploy' he wants. It must actually be grounded in reality. To use a defense tactic that one knows to be incorrect or merely for the purpose of stalling is against lawyers ethics and can be a rule 11 sanctioning offense.

Now, before anyone laughs about the idea of lawyers ethics, one can argue whether or not clark believes what he is saying is either true, could be true, or is using it in any legitimate way. My point was merely to refute the idea that a lawyer has an obligation to do 'anything' that may affect his client beneficially. That is a bit of an overstatement.

lysis_verus said...

Thanks for the clarification. But are you implying that a change of venue motion or a stance challenging the jurisdiction of the court are not grounded in reality? Or do you mean only in this case, based upon your view of the facts, and under your (warranted) prejudice for Saddam.

Dan Simpson said...

No, no. My comment was purely in response to the third paragraph in your post. I just wanted to clarify that there are boundaries to what a defense attorney can do ethically.

I am not familiar enough with Ramsey Clark to make a claim on his intentions. If he believes that the jurisdiction question is/or could be valid, he can and should make it. If he knows it isn't meritorious, he could be sanctioned for making it.

If he is loudly making the claims to grab headlines, then he is an idiot.

RealFruitBeverage said...

I'm sort of out of the loop here. Under what system of law is our beloved dictator being prosecuted? Is it the law in force when he was in power? Or is it the law to which is in force now? If the the second, I'm starting to have some serious reservations. Is it the international war tribunial thingy? Another point to ponder, sometimes the rule of law won't permit the punishment of evil men or the redress of good. That's the hard part of a well ordered society. In the long run the rule of law works itself out, but not in every instance. I just want to here what laws, and under what system Saddam is guilty. I want more than to scream the obvious, he's a bad bad man.

Anonymous said...

Then a "ploy" is a legal maneuver that DOESN'T work while emPLOYing a legal maneuver(of whatever kind) that DOES work is being GOOD counsel (in every sense of the word).

It is an ethic of situation and opportunism -- if it works, DO IT
"If the glove don't fit, you can't convict."
*see pseudo ethics of absolutism

On the ditch analogy:
It is a Problem Solving paradigm --in order to recommend *solutions*, a thorough discussion of the *problems* must act as a diagnostic for ANY solutions.

Dan /Rumpole /et al believe the burden of finding SOLUTIONS should rest with those discontented with Bush's Iraqi war efforts -- dissenters should put up solutions or SHUT UP! Also,
Dissenters should not dwell over mistakes past or be concerned with analyzing what has gone wrong -- they should put on blinders and only talk about SOLUTIONS or SHUT UP!

First *admit* that there IS a problem, then *identify* WHAT caused the problem, THEN start *solving* the problem -- there is a NECESSARY order here. For one to take place they have to ALL take place. To do anything else is to continue being in denial!!!!

Mandates for solutions must be accompanied by a consensus of SPECIFIC problem itemizations -- anything else is disingenuous.

Anonymous said...

Well, RFB I'm glad someone is asking the hard questions! I don't know either, but I hope it is not SOMETHING "opportunistic" by the Administration!!!!

Lysis said...

R F B, Anonymous, and Friends, read the Declaration of Independence. I quote a portion for your consideration: “That to secure these rights, [the unalienable rights of men] governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” Saddam was never a legitimate governor of Iraq. He was a murdering tyrant from the beginning; his acts of barbarity preclude him from any claim to govern the people of Iraq. Now he as been removed from his unjust hold on power, he must face the rightful authority of a justly established government. The people of Iraq have established a government; it now has the right to protect their safety and happiness. That includes the trial and punishment of the man who murdered them by the hundreds of thousands and forced them to live in danger and unhappiness for thirty years.

As for Ramsey Clark; his motives in going to Iraq are the same that led him to travel to Iran during the 1980 Tehran hostage situation. He attended and delivered a speech at a conference condemning the “crimes” of America. His goal then, and his goal now, is to damage America, and to salve his conscience for not properly defending the peoples of South East Asia from the monster of Communism that consumed them after America’s withdrawal. It was his job to defend those people; his ineptitude must sear his guilty soul day in and day out. His bitter attacks on America as the “guilty party” are an attempt to cover his own festering guilt. His attack on the nation that protects and provides for him, is as bitterly ironic and as sickeningly perverse, as Saddam’s present demands to be protected under laws of justice and civility he ignored to the determent of millions. Ramsey Clarks’ speech of today, accusing the liberators of the Iraqi people of crimes while extolling the nobility of a mass murder, reveals his actions as either pernicious or insane.

Rumpole said...


I’m confused! I don’t think I’ve ever employed the term “SHUT UP”. In fact it has been the opposite. Can I quote myself? “I must also clearly state my gratitude. You have provided the Agora with a marvelous opportunity. Take the time to compare/contrast . . . Which is the truth? Which is the perception?”

As I have also said, “I don’t like . . . car analogy. I don’t even think we’re in a ditch, so I see no need to pull the car out.” I have read and reread your posts. There isn’t anything new. A point that we will have to agree to disagree on is our action in Iraq. I think we did the right thing. Yes, I did say “right”. Isn't this where you label me as being closed and narrow? I believe there are times when best or worse might apply. Not here.

When you find something new, show it to me. Until then, I am not convinced.

You suggest – “in order to recommend *solutions*, a thorough discussion of the *problems* must act as diagnostic . . .” I disagree. First, There must be mutual acceptance of the *problems*. We do not, nor will we (until you find something new for me or change your opinion) have agreement on the *problems*.

I believe the car is headed down the right road. I suggested that you offer SOLUTIONS as an opportunity to break the logjam.

What would you have done? Tell me the road you would like to be on.

On that basis if you wish to offer no solutions, so be it. Just don’t rehash all the old stuff. When you find something new, show it to me.

Let’s also define “denial”. I believe the Democrats (Hillary, who remains in favor of the war, Kerry, Biden, Kennedy, etc.) had the same intelligence as the President. There was no manipulation of that intelligence. That led them to the same conclusion as the President. I believe any additional intelligence the President may have had only reinforced what became his ultimate action.

You have offered nothing to convince me otherwise.

If you call that denial, so be it. Based on what I have written above, then, I am in denial! I would define it as truth! It is the comparison/contrast that I have addressed before.

Oh, still waiting for that “civil” dialogue. Why don’t you begin? What are your SOLUTIONS?

Dan Simpson said...

Anonymous etc. Why don't we try to keep on task. The previous thread is for that old argument that is going nowhere.

To this argument.

Anonymous, you either completely misunderstood my point, or you are purposely twisting my words.

A lawyer may follow all of the ethical guidelines and fail in his advocacy for his client. On the other hand, a lawyer may run roughshod over all of the canons of legal ethics and win his case. The ethics are not dictated by the outcome.

If it is wrong it is wrong whether it is successful or fails.

As to RFB's point. I spoke with him at a little length last night on this subject. I am not sure if there is space to lay out the entire point he is trying to make in type, but here is the gist (RFB correct me if I go astray).

We prosecute people according to established law. If they are trying Saddam according to the law now, then Saddam is being tried for things that were not illegal when they were done, wrong surely, but not illegal.

In the alternative, the acts (murder, etc.) could have been and probably were illegal then, but he is not being tried under that system (flawed though it obviously was, it was the system of laws in place at the time.)

Lets look at it this way. If a man lived in Apartheid South Africa and acted in accordance with its obviously racist laws and then was tried for that conduct after apartheid ended, we would see that he was being tried according to ex post facto law (after the fact). At least in the U.S. one cannot be punished for an ex post facto law.

RFB is merely questioning the system by which Saddam is being tried.

I think that RFB may be right, but I think that Saddam being tried in Iraq by the current legal system is the best of all alternatives.

I would in response to RFB point to the Nuremburg trials. I do not believe that the legal entity that tried the Nazi's had any 'legitimate' legal jurisdiction over those men. I nonetheless agree with prosecuting them for war crimes.

Lysis said...

I stand in awe of the minds of lawyers. Surely you know how I respect those of you who have paid the price for the knowledge you weald, but step back and look at these claims that Saddam is above and beyond the Law.

While accepting the advantage of Constitutional in relation to punitive ex post facto laws, I do not believe it is a legitimate position in the case of trying tyrants or mass murderers. Realize that in 1789, those who lived in American or in the several states or the states themselves, could not “grandfather in” behaviors in violation of the New Constitution.

Saddam’s ranting from the dock, amplified by his lawyers, is reminiscent of that of Charles I in his refusal to answer the charges of treason and tyranny brought against him by Parliament. The truth is that there is no divine right that places kings or dictators above natural laws or the rights of the people they govern.

Let me remind you that when Brutus led the Roman people to overthrow the Tarquin Monarchy after Sextus’ rape of Lucretia; it was not the law of Rome, but the Laws of nature that justified his actions against the king. The unjust acts of the Tarquins led to the end of their dynasty and their punishment under the new Republican government. That government was justly founded on the will of the governed after the king’s abhorrent actions had proved him unworthy of sovereignty. Its jurisdiction applied to crimes committed when justice was subverted by power before its creation. This is because the people it (the Republic) now came to represent , still had their rights to justice even while those rights were abused by the tyrant.

This claim to “be above or beyond the Law” because he had been able to generate an earth bound hell, where only his will was law, is a loop hole in reason not in Law. Saddam should not be allowed to squeeze through it.

Dan Simpson said...

Lysis, please bear in mind that while I believe that in a legal sense RFB MAY be right, I do not agree with him.

RealFruitBeverage said...

Ah even when I’m right I’m wrong. DannyBoy2 got the gist of my concern (it’s not really an argument as of yet because I’m not really calling for any course of action). However he is more than right when he points that discussion is to long to be articulated in type (well on a blog format anyways). My understanding of the current legal situation surrounding Saddam is very limited as I have not read the charges nor the legal theories behind them. So for all I know my concerns are ill founded. With that being said I would like to articulate a couple of nuances of my concern.

First I would like to proffer that when nations are first being established the actions at the beginning have a profound effect on the character of the nation far down the line. One only has to look to George Washington choosing not to run again for a third term. He set a precedent that ensured one of the foundations for a healthy democracy, turnover of leadership. On a legal note look at Marbury v. Madision. The legal reasoning of that case shaped the origin of judicial review. In any well ordered society the legal reasoning of the first will inevitably impact the legal reasoning of cases further down the line.

Second, lets talk about something that makes this country great, and that can make other countries great, the rule of law. It is obedience to the law that makes this place and other democracies wonderful. If the law produces an outcome we don’t like we simply don’t say “to heck with it, we’ll do what we want to”. It is this respect for the rule of law that makes the pursuit of justice possible in any society. Look closely at the civil rights movements in this country and in India. Both grand movers King and Gandhi broke the law. The law required punishment. Gandhi even went so far as to be punished to the maximum extent of the law because he broke it. It was clear both these men didn’t do anything wrong in the eyes of natural law, or justice or whatever you want to call it. Now we could have listened to our passions and said to heck with this law and we will do what we want; but we didn’t we changed the law and worked on making a better society through the law. We preserved the same legal reasoning form start to finish. The corollary to this is when the law states there is no foundation for punishing a bad man even though his actions are clearly evil we must respect the rule of law. Because if we say to heck with it and just say we will use or vague notions of justice dictated by the mob who are pissed off at the bad man (rightly so even) we create a bad precedent for how we do business and change things in the future. The rule of law can not be subject to results. It is respect for the law. It is this respect that facilitates the ability for societies to progress in a healthy manner. If the legal foundations for obtaining justice is based on weak or no legal reasoning, then what in the future?

Well I got a lot more to say on this subject but time and space is limited.

RealFruitBeverage out, Sparta Lives!

P. Maclean said...
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P. Maclean said...
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P. Maclean said...

Well this week's blog is puzzling to say the least and I'm still fishing for the meaning. I don't think you mean Saddam has been absolved of his crimes when you say, "Now he is innocent." But I don't think you mean to say is guilty of any of them when you say it either. Pretty straight forward but it's a difficult notion to really grasp the two at the same time.

I took the idea, and some of your other points, with me to the bar to philosophize with my friends, where I do a lot of good thinking. Sitting around the table some of them pointed out that it was bound to be a confusing topic because it is a court set up for Iraqis - who follow Sharia Law - by Americans - who make their own law where ever they go - and is supposed to be based on what their idea of French Law - the basis of Iraq's civil code. Trully illuminating was the consensus of our group and we all had another drink. It still seemed hard to grasp.

After a while I mentioned this Ramsey Clark fellow and how he was grandstanding for politics. My friends didn't seem to think it was fair to pick on him without picking on all the other U.S. international advisors in the tribunal who made the rules, picked the judges, approved the laws, and gathered the evidence. The Regime Crimes Adviser Office that created the tribunal was made up entirely of 50 U.S. lawyers, ivy legue academics, and liasons to the U.S. Department of Justice. A few like Judge Steven M. Orlofsky volunteered to come out of retirement to show the Iraqis just how they do it in the U.S.A. Even the Chief Judge for the tribunal - chosen by an American, L. Paul Bremer - might count as an American adviser they said, since he had spent near his whole life in America going to Yale, Northwestern, and Harvard (he did live a few years in London) but then he was charged with murder in Iraq and had to resign. If the prosecution gets international advisers my friends asked then why can't the defense? You didn't mention all of these other fancy U.S. advisers who are helping out the prosecution and the judges, some volunteering. I was stuck for an answer. I wanted to say it was because they are defending Saddam but like you said, he isn't guilty, so how can we deny him anything.

I pointed out like you did that this Ramsey Clark guy is a real fiend though, he is saying bad things about U.S. foreign policy every chance he gets and him being an American the whole time. Even used to be an official politician. Them are the worst kind, one friend said, what else do you expect? From a U.S. politician? I asked. There are a lot of Americans who don't like U.S. foreign policy, said another and that seemed right. Are they all villains? Not all of them. I hung my head for another drink. Your blog was still nibbling at my mind. This Clark guy wasn't like the rest. He was defending that innocent guy that everybody thinks is guilty. And whenever anyone sees that, even when the guy really is, like you said, innocent, and we are suppose to believe that, it peeves you to watch them being so adamant about enforcing that principle. Shouldn't be upset about that, my friends urged. But I wanted to be so I looked for another excuse while we sat there. Could have used your help.

Well, you can see I had to think a while on just what exactly you were trying to say Lysis. You were upset over something and there had to be a good reason. Finally, after an intense session of philosphizing, I think I landed it. The simplicity of your lesson made its message all the more elegant when I understood it and I have to say that Lysis, not for the first time, I agree with you: Extremist U.S. politicians pursuing their own agendas in foreign lands, without the support of most decent folks back home, should stay in their own country, their agendas with them. The whole world would be in a lot better position right now if we just took your lesson to heart. The clarity of it now astounds me.

Personal Note: If we are going to give someone a sword to swing around wouldn't it be a good idea not to blind fold them? I mean, I wouldn't want to be in a room with someone wearing a blind fold and swinging a sword around. They might hit me and, you might know, it's harder sewing something back on than it is taking it off. The American justice system should have either a blind fold or a sword but not both. The mistakes it makes with the sword are permanent.

The sun is up, it's Friday and fishing - even a late start to it - is a great way to start the weekend.

Lysis said...

RFB – Thanks for thinking through these things for us. Please consider these thoughts on your two points:

First – What better way for Iraq to begin its “experiment” in freedom, than by justly trying and proving the guilt of the monster who lawlessly abused them for thirty years? His utter disregard for Law makes him the perfect exemplar of it just application.

Second – The “laws” Gandhi and King broke were unjust and therefore, while they had power, these “laws” had no call on the support of just men. These false laws were like the “laws” of Saddam; they needed destroying so that justice might reign. While fighting governments and peoples who seek justice, Britain in the 1940’s, American in the 1960’s, non-violent civil disobedience in the most effective tools. While Justice will grind down evil statute if just men will sacrifice, and knowledge of truth prevail, if monsterous power establishes tyranny then nonviolent means fail and violence in justified. Such Revolution is not always successful but it is Justified. Remember that Athena built the temple of justice on the Hill of Ares. Neither Gandhi nor King would have made much headway against Saddam; in this case it took a George Washington, or a George Bush!

P. Maclean – thank you for reading and sharing the ideas of the Agora with your friends. Being allowed into conversations in such far off places brings such excitement to us here on our mountain top. I wonder, as your friends critique the actions of America in Iraq, do they ever trouble to consider the US intervention in Europe against Hitler? Sixty years is a long time to remember back over. I guess it is easy for people who did not sacrifice for their freedom to forgo or forget their gratitude to those who paid the price for it. Maybe there is even resentment. Then again, your drinking buddies perhaps feel they would be just as well off under the Third Reich. They would know more about the “German Liberation” of the Netherlands than I.

On the other hand, maybe Iraqis have a more recent memory of the brutality of a tyrant to whom no law had efficacy. Perhaps that is why 80% of Iraqis want American troops to stay until the monsters go away. I pray the day comes when Iraqis can sit together and drink and discuss in safely, and freely criticize America; no longer in need of American sacrifice or even obligated to remember it.

P. Maclean said...

Lysis you must be young. That is the only way you could say something so offensively stupid as calling the Nazi rape of Holland a German Liberation. Among my drinking and fishing buddies are men who were integral players in the Dutch Resistance. And even though it happened a long time ago they remember every arrest, the Gestapo, changing residence every few days, the devestation of their homes, the bombings and family and friends. On May 5th every year their sacrifice is remembered and celebrated when they ride in the Liberation Day parades.

Nearly every day I walk past the Anne Frank house, the little Jewish girl who wrote about her life of terror in Amsterdam druing Nazi occupation. There are many reminders of that terrible time that we see every day. Something I hope you in America remain blissfully ignorant of is the weight just the word War has when it was fought in your street and still exists in the living memory of old men you drink and fish with.

The only resentment we carry is for those who claim sacrifice but have never made any. There are many around lately who beat that drum.

Lysis said...

P. Mclean, - I agree with you entirely, and I also know, not only many Americans but even some Dutch Americans, who have made the very sacrifice you refer to. It was indeed my intention to stir in you, and our other readers, the very feelings I did. I hope you and they might see that the peoples of Iraq are now fighting and dieing in the same struggle. Why should the world deny them the help and the understanding you so rightly demanded for your nation?

Dr. Health said...

But for now he shelters under the shield of justice.