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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Who Should Be Scared?
I've noticed some chatter from the left that Bush/America is afraid of a Saddam trial because he will revel the awful truth about how the US is really responsible for everything he did. (I mean, we are responsible for EVERYTHING bad, right?) A lot of it expects the worst of the US (of course) and predicts that Bush will assassinate Saddam to keep him quiet.

Veteran politician Tony Benn, one of the last people to interview Saddam Hussein, says the captured Iraqi ex-president is unlikely to get a fair trial because it could embarrass the United States.
[...]
"The Americans ordered his assassination before they caught him so clearly there's not much chance of him getting a fair trial," he said, adding that Saddam was a "brutal dictator".


At the same time, much of the right seems to be salivating at the chance of putting the spotlight on Saddam. They expect that it is the French and Russians who will come out looking bad. Plus, it has the added bonus of distracting from the lack of WMD and focusing on the horribleness of Saddam, where Bush will find less opposition. It is certainly interesting to see both sides think that this will hurt the other guy more. Someone has to be wrong.

One thing we can say with confidence: the French, Germans and Russians are sweating bullets. Any pretense to the high moral ground in this entire affair is about to evaporate.
And:
The atmosphere here tonight is that Chiraq is shaking in his boots and may be headed for Damascus to seek political asylum.
And:
Jacques Chirac is probably worried sick over what Saddam will say if he decides to talk.

I guess the BBC takes a more "balanced" approach, mentioning the US and several other countries.

It is important to remember that Saddam Hussein's main supplier was the Soviet Union. He was sent its best equipment - Mig 29s, T 72 tanks, artillery, gunboats and Scud missiles.
[...]
They negotiated the sale to Iraq of two French nuclear reactors. One of them was destroyed in an air raid by the Israelis in 1981 amid fears that Iraq was developing a nuclear weapon.
France also agreed to provide Iraq with 133 Mirage F1 jet fighters over a 10-year period. It is reckoned that during the 1980s, 40% of France's arms exports went to Iraq.
In 1987, a French paper published a letter written to Saddam Hussein by Jacques Chirac a few months previously. It began: " My dear friend."
[...]
It is clear from the account that Mr Rumsfeld was concerned about Iran and that this was the motive for the American approach.
The minutes state: "Rumsfeld told Saddam that the US and Iraq shared interests in preventing Iranian and Syrian expansion."


I've posted previously on France's financial commitment to Iraq and other rogue states. It should embarrass the French, but they have no shame.
France was not just Baathist Iraq's largest contributor of funds; French banks have financed other odious regimes. They are the No. 1 lenders to Iran and Cuba and past and present U.S. foes such as Somalia, Sudan and Vietnam.

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