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12/05/2005 Archived Entry: "Trial of Tyrants"

The trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has resumed in Baghdad after his lawyers briefly walked out in protest at the court's legitimacy. Two defense lawyers have been murdered in recent weeks and the team has argued it cannot present its case properly. Nevertheless, the trial goes on - Saddam Hussein and seven of his aides charged with the deaths of 148 men in Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982 following an assassination attempt on Saddam’s life.

The big question has been whether Saddam Hussein and his men receive a fair trial in Iraq. It seems to me either naive or disingenuous to be concerned with the fairness of these proceedings. The defendants have already been tried in the court of pubic opinion with an inordinate amount of anecdotal evidence piled up against them by anxious politicos (who need to justify their actions) and news media (feeding the frenzy).

And what an absurd situation: the King and court have been captured by the invader yet the pawns rage on. The contest isn’t over, yet the gallows are gleaming.

I am increasingly concerned about what happens after this whole mess settles down. The keystone of our governments is the rule of law by consent – we must have confidence that governance is done fairly otherwise the whole thing falls apart and becomes a mere tyranny.

Whether we like it or not, our governments (i.e., the “grand collation”) are in possession of this country and WE are responsible for the welfare of its entire people – including the former dictator and his men. So, if these trials go badly (which there is a high degree of certainty that they will) then what will history say about a tyranny against tyranny?

I would rather see this trial delayed or moved to a neutral location under the auspices of the International Court – but unfortunately, the Europeans probably wouldn’t like that on account that MOST of our European allies disagreed with the invasion in the first place.

What crisps me is that the men who planned and perpetrated this tragically absurd situation will be long gone before the mistake is clearly evident to all. - HP

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