Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Judgment of Nuremberg

Although the Late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist made these remarks on the occasion of the dedication of the Robert H. Jackson Center, it raised some of the questions now being asked about the legitimacy of trying Saddam Hussein. Jackson was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1941. On May 2, 1945 Truman appointed Jackson as Chief Prosecutor to the Nuremberg Trials. Strange as it may seem to today's readers, some doubted that the Nazi leaders could be legally tried at all. Rehnquist said:

But despite the praise for Justice Jackson's contributions to the success of the Nuremberg Trials, there was a great deal of criticism of the trials themselves. The criticism focused on two issues. The first was whether a Justice of the Supreme Court should participate as a prosecutor in such a trial.

The second issue was whether or not this sort of trial -- not only the prosecutors, but also the judges -- coming from the victors, would be in fact if not in form a "kangaroo court." But this criticism softened as the Court amassed evidence of the evil intentions and deeds of many of the defendants, and also because three of the defendants were acquitted. Legal scholars also questioned whether the whole idea of such a trial where there was no existing body of law did not violate the principle embodied in the ex post facto prohibition in the United States Constitution. That provision requires that before criminal liability may attach to a person for a particular act, a law making the conduct criminal must have been on the books before he committed the act.

Some of Jackson's own colleagues joined in the criticism. Justice William O. Douglas (between Jackson and whom no love was lost) opined in memoirs published many years later:

[Jackson] was gone a whole year, and in his absence we sat as an eight-man Court. I thought at the time he accepted the job that it was a gross violation of separation of powers to put a Justice in charge of an executive function. I thought, and I think Stone and Black agreed, that if Bob did that, he should resign. Moreover, some of us -- particularly Stone, Black, Murphy and I -- thought that the Nuremberg Trials were unconstitutional by American standards."

Whatever the merit of these objections, the Nuremberg Trials were surely superior to the summary court martial proceedings favored by some members of the administration and the summary executions initially favored by the British.

Chief Justice Stone wrote privately in November 1945 that it would not disturb him greatly if the power of the Allied victors was "openly and frankly used to punish the German leaders for being a bad lot, but it disturbs me some to have it dressed up in the habiliments of the common law and the Constitutional safeguards to those charged with crime."

The ex post facto objection was very much alive with respect to the charges laid against the Nazis. The Robert Jackson Center website lays out the essential arguments.

Four Supreme Court justices plus then-U.S. Sen. Robert Taft, R-Ohio, son of President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, noted that the trials violated the ex post facto principle. He said Harlan Fiske Stone, then chief justice of the United States, called them "a high-grade lynching party." ... 

A debate underlying the ex post facto question involves what law applies: May courts in general, or war-crimes tribunals in particular, rely only on "positive law" — law that has been enacted in the particular place where the alleged acts occurred? Or may courts also rely to whatever extent on other, possibly overarching principles, such as "natural law"?

Others, such as Noam Chomsky, have argued that any Allied attempt to prosecute the Nazis was itself unjust because it was presided over by worse war criminals than Hitler. 

But getting closer to the sort of core of the Nuremberg-Tokyo tribunals, in Truman's case at the Tokyo tribunal, there was one authentic, independent Asian justice, an Indian, who was also the one person in the court who had any background in international law [Radhabinod Pal], and he dissented from the whole judgment, dissented from the whole thing. He wrote a very interesting and important dissent, seven hundred pages -- you can find it in the Harvard Law Library, that's where I found it, maybe somewhere else, and it's interesting reading. He goes through the trial record and shows, I think pretty convincingly, it was pretty farcical. He ends up by saying something like this: if there is any crime in the Pacific theater that compares with the crimes of the Nazis, for which they're being hanged at Nuremberg, it was the dropping of the two atom bombs. And he says nothing of that sort can be attributed to the present accused. Well, that's a plausible argument, I think, if you look at the background. Truman proceeded to organize a major counter-insurgency campaign in Greece which killed off about one hundred and sixty thousand people, sixty thousand refugees, another sixty thousand or so people tortured, political system dismantled, right-wing regime. American corporations came in and took it over. I think that's a crime under Nuremberg.

(Speculation alert) I wrote earlier that any trial of Saddam Hussein would automatically bring in recent history as a co-defendant. I guess that the "internationalists" feel they are the only ones with the moral authority to judge the former President of Iraq. To the question 'what law applies', their answer will be the 'international law' they have been at pains to construct. Any law but those of who at all events have disqualified themselves from the power of judgment by removing Saddam Hussein by force. Yet the "internationalists" cannot hold themselves entirely blameless. Implicit in Saddam's trial is another question: 'how did such a monster carry on for so long in the face of an international system that pretends to civilization'? And would Saddam, even now, be gassing Kurds and throwing living human beings into woodchippers if any but those whose moral qualifications are now doubted not acted against him?

98 Comments:

Blogger enscout said...

W:
You've done it again.

The line between the two is clear and history will judge these proceedings as ligitmate as those that took place 60 years ago provided justice is served.

10/19/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

(re-posting here from last thread)
Aristedes - are your concerns limited to the ex post facto problem? in other words, would you be OK with a purely Iraqi court (Iraqi personnel, located in Iraq) trying Sadamm for his crimes against humanity under customary international law (aka jus cogens)?
If so, do we know why that is not being done?

10/19/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

W. is right to raise the issue both of jurisdiction and of the legal code involved in the Saddam Hussein trial.

The Nuremberg trials have appeared to me over the years as questionable because they have proved to be precedents for the posturings of various International NGOs such as Human Rights Watch as well as the World court, both of which have ended up by being driven by left-wing agendas.

It is specifically the claim of marxist and marxoid thinking that there is some sort of "universal" law of "justice" (read: "social justice," which means read: "redistribution of wealth and power") that is all too ready to call for trying everybody--whether legally or more often in "reports" that double as propaganda--according to their own lights and calling for punishment accordingly.

GWB has been a target of calls for trial, justice, and punishment because he invaded Iraq.

The fact that Saddam's trial is being conducted specifically in Iraq by Iraqis would appear to announce by implication that the people who have the most right to judge Saddam are the people he tyrranized over. And so, to that extent, I question whether the Nuremberg trials are relevant to the Saddam case.

The case could also be made that Saddam deserves no trial, but should be treated as war enemy by his own people. Had he been caught as were his two sons, namely, in positions where they still possessed some power to do damage, he would have been shot down like a dog. End of discussion.

My interim conclusion on this point is that any claims to "international" law made in Saddam's case dances too close to the kind of leftist posturing that scruples not at all to employ the rhetoric of "justice" to cover out-and-out venemous aggression.

10/19/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

If I am interpreting correctly, there are three choices:

a) Let Saddam go in the spirit of ex post facto

b) Try him for murder in violation of the spirit of ex post facto

c) summarily execute him

Choosing option 'a' implies that ex post facto trumps mass murder and more importantly gives future dictators/murderers an easy 'out.'

10/19/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

I think ex post facto is irrelevant here. It implies that there exists some Iraqi law against people taking control of Iraq and ruling--ravaging, in fact--it the way Saddam did. Lawyers love to argue this sort of thing, because it automatically deals them into the game and by that fact gives them the say-so as to what the options are.

Don't forget that Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq on the basis of what was a wartime footing, in exactly that same way that the allies landed in Normandy in June, 1944. That is, given what were known not only of Saddam's "WMDs" but arguably even more important, his demonstrated willingness to use such weapons--and indeed any force whatsoever--in pursuit of imposing his own will on anyone he chose, inside or outside Iraq, there was a justifying reason to assume an assault on the U. S. in the wake of the sort of thing that occurred 9/11.

The details of the above can be argued; what cannot be argued is that defense of life and limb against demonstrated willingness and capability to injure both is a right that has always been recognized, whatever the proclamations of "one world" types and so-called "international law."

I think that relevant here, as per my previous post, are two things that W. didn't mention in this post and the previous one: (1) What is one to say about the assault on the house where Uday and Qusay were holed up? Should they have been captured and tried also? (2) In wartime--a state of things that I willinglly allow requires a lot of verbiage to define and hedge in--the assumption is not innocence until proven guilty, but rather just the opposite: demonstrated aggression justifies the reverse assumption of guilt until proven innocent.

This is the reason why declarations of war have been justified in the past, namely in order to demarcate belligerents from non-belligerents, and it is only the latter that should be granted the presumption of innocence consistent with a trial.

The notion of granting such presumption is, to my mind, something that could only happen in the Looking-Glass world of leftist posturing. All the world, and particular all of Iraq, knew and knows what Saddam did. The idea of "trying" him to find out if he was guilty for what are crimes perpetrated in full light of day on public streets in front of all people with eyes to see and ears to hear with seems to me a mere politeness in order to lend some semblance of respectability to a new Iraq regime that has no need of such.

10/19/2005 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The problem of using courts is that you must bring in notions of the law. The international arena is no place for law.

The ex post facto critique that I exhaustively registered in the last thread need not be recreated here, accept to say that I disagree with the Justice's criticism of Nuremburg. Nuremburg was a bad idea for other reasons than ex post facto.

Nuremburg, if it was anything, was a child of the West's lack of imagination. To them trial = justice. The framers set up another type of logical proposition: If trial, then justice. Any student of logic knows that this does not then mean if justice, then trial.

The idea of a fair trial invokes so many different principles and premises that it was always going to be inadequate to address a situation like what to do with the Nazis. It was not law that we invoked to defeat them, and it should not have been a court of law where they were judged.

Nevertheless, Nuremburg was within the capabilities of the victors, so it is hard to find philosophical contradictions to its implementation. Parties that go to war are at the mercy of fate as to what happens to them afterwards. Whether at a trial, or a summary execution, victors can do whatever they want to dispense justice after hostilities end (constrained as they are by sensibilities or by their own Constitution). Who's going to stop them?

Ex post facto also invokes an entire architecture of legal premises and principles. It is built to protect the citizen, to allow him to foresee and plan around legal liability. Since there is no such protection in the international community, since the international arena is in fact a state of nature, lobbing ex post facto criticisms at the Nuremburg trial presumes ex post facto to be a universal principle.

Ex post facto, though, is not a universal principle or a natural law. It is built out of a positivist theory of the law to protect a citizen from his own lawmakers. The reason Saddam's trial is vulnerable to ex post facto criticism is that he is a citizen being tried by his own state in reference to laws that didn't exist when he violated them. It is not the universal applicability of ex post facto that creates the vulnerability. Rather, it is the panoply of premises that obtained once Iraq became a Constitutional government that allows for such an American-based critique. As I said before, if Iraq were an American state, the trial would be deemed unconstitutional.

Iraqis should bring Saddam to justice. This does not, however, necessitate a trial.

10/19/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

More on Radhabinod Pal that tells you all you need to know about Chomsky's allies and how the Far Left circles around to the Far Right:

http://faroutliers.blogspot.com/2005/09/bix-on-judge-radhabinod-pal.html

10/19/2005 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

As much as I agree with Wretch's perspective on the whole concept, I find myself more in agreement with Winston Churchill: put a bullet in each of their heads, throw them into a mass grave, and get on with life. I have to admit it seems as though the Nuremberg Tribunals are at the root of much world governance idiocies like the ICC. Not to mention it gives credence to moral skeptics of the Chomsky variety.

Victory, bullets, holes, shovels, finito.

10/19/2005 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Yes, justice can be purchased with bullets, too. Bringing in notions of the law to the international arena ended up bringing in lawyers and legalese to critique and manage a decidely non-legal environment. Now we fight over the legitimacy of foreign wars and the meaning of resolution 1441 as if they were laws passed by the 102nd Congress.

Ex-dem,

American law would disallow a trial of an American citizen if he were charged with violating foreign laws on American soil, so the Saddam trial would still be vulnerable on that point if one were analyzing the situation from an American perspective.

To be clear, I take the position that a law must be ennacted to be law. There are no unwritten natural laws, though there are quite a few universally useful rules for societies to live by. Therefore, there is no such thing as international law (yet), and international norms are only as good as the force behind them.

10/19/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

1. It is interesting to note that BOTH Saddam and certain "internationalists" are taking the tack that the trial is illegitimate, albeit for somewhat allegedly different reasons.
2. Prior to launching the mission that killed Adm Yamamoto in 1943, military lawyers were consulted to determine if such an assassination was a legitimate act of war. Given the precedent established there (even the Japanese thought it was a legitimate act) it would appear that there is no question that our military forces can simply kill enemy leaders when we encounter them.
Let those who advocate the hyper-legal "internationalist" approach put that in their peace pipe and smoke it.
If Saddam doesn't want a trial, let a half dozen P-38's have a go at him.

10/19/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

MM: I think ex post facto is irrelevant here. It implies that there exists some Iraqi law against people taking control of Iraq and ruling--ravaging, in fact--it the way Saddam did. Lawyers love to argue this sort of thing, because it automatically deals them into the game and by that fact gives them the say-so as to what the options are...

The idea of "trying" him to find out if he was guilty for what are crimes perpetrated in full light of day on public streets in front of all people with eyes to see and ears to hear with seems to me a mere politeness in order to lend some semblance of respectability to a new Iraq regime that has no need of such
.

I agree that the ex post facto argument probably doesn't apply in this case. For intense purposes there was not law except Saddam himself. I'll get to the tribunal part in a second.

Aristides: ...The problem of using courts is that you must bring in notions of the law. The international arena is no place for law... The ex post facto critique that I exhaustively registered in the last thread need not be recreated here
Ex post facto also invokes an entire architecture of legal premises and principles. It is built to protect the citizen, to allow him to foresee and plan around legal liability. Since there is no such protection in the international community, since the international arena is in fact a state of nature, lobbing ex post facto criticisms at the Nuremburg trial presumes ex post facto to be a universal principle... It is not the universal applicability of ex post facto that creates the vulnerability. Rather, it is the panoply of premises that obtained once Iraq became a Constitutional government that allows for such an American-based critique...
Iraqis should bring Saddam to justice. This does not, however, necessitate a trial
.

Aristides, I am no lawyer (my brother is) but your argument is clear.

Now, the age old notion of prescient pokes its head up. Further, the old notion of a tribunal before exacting justice also surfaces (more so in death penalty case).

The problem is that we started setting a prescient by taking Saddam into "custody" and affording him a lawyer (and other mistakes). But, what should we have done the moment we captured him? Shot him on the spot? Some might argue yes. But, that is water under the bridge. We started setting a string of legal prescient which was probably not a wise move (maybe an expedient move).

Now, I fear this whole "fair trial" will degrade into a media circus. You must surely know that all high profile cases are always tried in the press.

Next, to the tribunal problem.

Generally, most civilization have some sort of tribunal before administering the ultimate punishment - death. Some will argue that in time of great danger, a commander can shoot a person to save his unit, or captain of a ship can make life and death decisions to save his crew. All of that is true. But, since we captured Saddam and indicated he would be given some sort of a tribunal we set a prescient. To repeat, we are stuck with it.

Now, as some of legal people on this board know, for every legal prescient there is a legal exception. The trick is to find the exception and explain the alternative.

Aristides you have made a very good case that he should not be given a "trial." But, what exactly do you recommend we do? We have already foolishly said we would give him of some sort of tribunal (and we probably made some foolish agreements with the Iraqis and/or the international community). I also think giving him a US style of legal trial is totally unwarranted. But, in reality I suspect that some sort of Nuremberg process will have to be used - however flawed it is.

If any of you have a better suggestion of what to do with Saddam, speak-up.

10/19/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

The leftist thought is a perversion of fundamental truths and I won’t belabor it; the rights of groups versus individuals, legitimacy from authoritative government instead of the deme, etc.

On the other hand, there are a few arguments directly against ex post facto. One is that ex post facto only applies in a continuous regime (like where stare decis would apply, the flipside); it is reasonable and legally consistent to apply the law of the land during a civil war, even when jurisdiction is not obvious. Another is that Saddam and the Baath party are current threats to the Iraqi government; not protecting itself and the Iraqi people would violate Iraq’s compact with its people. Thus it would invalidate the Iraqi government and validate the Hussein’s regime.

As far as needing actual statutes to be charged with, this is following form at the expense of substance. None of the laws of the Saddamite regime were invested with legitimacy from the people for the people but by authority from the regime; to use those ancien regime laws and even the international statutes that have never been received an referendum (based on the same leftist fiat) is to establish the primacy of law by fiat over law by representation.

That hinges the debate, representation over the dictat of our betters. That’s why the left is out swinging in defense of the indefensible.

10/19/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/19/2005 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

Ari - i very much doubt that a US court would "disallow" the trial of an American citizen if he, like Saddam, were charged with mass torture and mass murder. Rather, he would be tried according to the federal or state law prevailing at that time. The prosecution would not invoke customary international law (or international treaty law, come to that) not because it couldn't but because it would have no need to.
Given your observations that at the time Saddam committed his crimes he had conveniently absolved himself from liability under Iraqi law, this would seem to be a different situation. The point of having customary law forbidding crimes against humanity, however, is that nobody anywhere can derogate from them - even the butcher of baghdad.

10/19/2005 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Aristides, it seems that your argument, even in theory, wouldn't work. You're arguing against a trial, period, and seem to have latched onto ex post facto as the pretext. This might not be fair, and if so, I'm sure you'll correct me.

But say Saddam did violate laws of his regime. He still cannot be charged by the current government anymore than the US can prosecute British laws; two different governments. This holds unless the laws are grandfathered in.

10/19/2005 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

This is not a real "trial", nor should it be.

A Court of Law has as it goal the determination of guilt or innocence of an accused party. That is not the goal here. Only the most obscurantist partisan would claim that Saddam is "innocent" or "not guilty" of gross criminal behavior, and those opinions, whether they be held by ex-Baathists or useful idiots, can be discounted. In fact, such folks should be put in a time machine and sent to Baghdad circa 2001 wearing a t-shirt that says "Saddam is a disaster for Iraq" so that they can judge first-hand the definition of innocence or guilt in Saddam's time.

In any case, my interpretation is that the real purpose of the trial is to give a few clear illustrations of the pathology of the regime and to say that such days in Iraq are the past. The future is consensual government and the rule of law. And all the other Arab countries will be watching, much to distress of the local ruling classes and the more distant chattering classes.

10/19/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger HadleyB said...

I would let the Iraqi government do what it wants with them. Any pretend international law, whether of the Nuremberg kind or the morerecent stuff is a joke. When you have your enemy in your clutches you either kill him or (after the war) turn him loose. This "crime against humanity" crap and the show trials make me gag. You twist yourself in knots pulling your pud over jurisdictional issues. It really is a purely Iraqi matter. What do they want to do? Let 'em.

And just so you know where I stand, I think "just following orders" is a damn good defense for a private, corporal, sergeant, or lieutenant. If you win the war, feel free to shoot the higher-ups out of hand. Just don't p*ss around with play party show trials. That kind of political cr*p is best left to liberals and Commies.

As you might guess, I didn't make Law Review at Harvard. I prefer a more visceral, lawyerrein strategy.

10/19/2005 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

any claims to "international" law made in Saddam's case dances too close to the kind of leftist posturing...

It seems to me that over and above the dangers of "leftist international law", if you start messing around with the concept of introducing ANY other kind of law except what the Iraqi's currently have on the books, then there is a very real possibility that the majority of Muslims in Iraq could demand that Saddam be tried under Shariah Law.

I'm not familiar with Shariah Law details except it does seem to let an awful lot of very bad people go free because it's Ramadan, or they paid blood money, or the judges were successfully bribed, or whatever victims are still alive decide to free the bad guy because then they'll get into paradise more easily.

I'm surprised Iran and Saudi Arabia haven't already made noises about the appropriateness of the Iraqi's using anything BUT Sharia Law, since they're trying to introduce it as the new mandatory "in thing" all over the world.

10/19/2005 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Just don't p*ss around with play party show trials. That kind of political cr*p is best left to liberals and Commies.


Don't you think it'll be fascinating if Saddam gets up there in front of Allah and everyone and testifies that he personally gave bribe money to his excellently good friend Jacques Chirac? And how well do you think Saddam knew Kofi Annan, and what will Mr. Hussein have to say about that on the stand?

I wonder if he might even testify that he used the United Nations' and its bureacracy with plotting afore-thought because he knew that was the best way to get what he needed to maintain his life-style.

I think that over and above details of mass graves and who got fed to the paper-shredders, testimony about how Saddam manipulated the world OUTSIDE of Iraq will make it worth the price of admission.

10/19/2005 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Aristedes - The problem of using courts is that you must bring in notions of the law. The international arena is no place for law.

Horsepucky. Like it or not, in a connected world or even earlier in a long bygone WWII era where you had to merge Napoleonic, Chinese, Soviet, and English Common Law in trying the losers - you have collective crimes that cross several legal systems that must be judged.

Ex Post Facto? BFD! It applies only to English Common Law, Napoleonic, Soviet, and Chinese allow extensions of existing laws to crimes not yet named (convenient for Stalin, of course!). Nuremburg was as much about adept post-war diplomacy as law.

The triumph of Nuremburg, Pat Buchanan, neonazis, and legal nit-pickers who see the whole world under their version of legal code aside ----was that it worked and satisfied the major powers. But entirely. Just enough. No one got exactly what they wanted, but all felt some basic justice had prevailed. And it was a work tempered in knowing that while head honchos got a rope or bullet, many implementors got a pass, while completely innocent draftees and POWs perished by the millions.

Yes is was a hybrid justice entirely by and of the victors, but no one is weeping for the hanged Nazi and Jap war criminals - not even the Germans or the Japanese.

Yes, if the Axis had won, Mad Bomber Harris and Curtis Lemay would have faced victor's justice at the gibbet - and the Nazis, in years to follow, would point out they perhaps had less blood on their hands than the Jews who started Bolshevikism, did. Or potentially could have, if their COMINTERN had spread to China..

Wretchard writes on Jackson. A good case - obviously - can be made that he should have resigned as other SCOTUS members did when moving on to other things - like Goldberg and Clark did - but the gravitas of a sitting Justice of the US Supreme Court facing down Soviets determined to liquidate millions of Germans for killing not only millions of Soviets but millions of active Jewish and Gentile Communists outside Russia - cannot be underestimated.

Jackson and the British Foreign Office made the justice meted out powerful, but civilized.

Aristedes, continued:

Ex post facto also invokes an entire architecture of legal premises and principles. It is built to protect the citizen, to allow him to foresee and plan around legal liability.

No, at certain points, the US and other nations, reacting to crimes nerver anticipated in magnitude use murder charges and the notion of collective criminal responsibility to make punishment worse than the calculating criminal imagined. Many WWI anarchists thought their bomb materials netted them only 3-5 years by NY law. But deportation was the anarchists fate for crimes America never anticipated..Then they got into the Pale and Russia and found their beloved Trotsky (not that they ever knew) ordered their liquidation or labor camp slow deaths due to political uncertainty...and when the Stalinists took over from the Jews, they ordered the liquidation of the survivors as loyal Trotskyites. Beautiful justice.

Since there is no such protection in the international community, since the international arena is in fact a state of nature, lobbing ex post facto criticisms at the Nuremburg trial presumes ex post facto to be a universal principle.

The problem with international law is that it is mongrel law. There isn't even an agreement about what the definition of terrorism and war crimes actually are. The avatars of international law are selective in prosecution. The trials of criminals under the present version of Int'l law with lucrative job-treasuring international jurists - are an interminable joke, based on Milosevik and the Sierra Leone "trials against humanity".

In the end - rights, due process, and rule of law - are properly discarded for issues of security and justice. It matters little that Minnesota abandoned the death penalty if an anthrax attack on the Mall of the Americans kills 12,000 and permanently disables 5,000. They'd find a way for getting the Feds to get the 7 or so Islamis and make them worm food. Prior to WWII, there is no way the city of Sverdlosk ever contemplated that by some evil statistical perversion that every single boy drafted at 18 in 1942 would not survive the war. So most of the Nazi POWs sent to work their area similarly paid.

Justice.

Jacksons justice. Constitution of merely one country be damned.

10/19/2005 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

A defiant Saddam pleads innocent, scuffles with guards in stormy hearing:

While Milosevic is being tried at a U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, Saddam is facing a tribunal of his own people. The Iraqi tribunal is partly funded by the United States and organized by a government dominated by Iraqi ethnic groups he once oppressed.

The trial comes nearly two years after Saddam's capture on Dec. 13, 2003, when U.S. troops that had overrun Baghdad the previous April finally found the fugitive leader, hiding in a cellar in a rural area outside his hometown of Tikrit north of Baghdad.

http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/international/news/20051020p2g00m0in001000c.html

10/19/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Cedarfart: the Nazis, in years to follow, would point out they perhaps had less blood on their hands than the Jews who started Bolshevikism, did.


Forget Bolshevism, that's small potatoes. Think of the blood libel we can attribute them Jooos on account of starting that miserable junta calling itself Christianity. And let's not forget them Jooos are also responsible for the birth of all them murderous Ishmaelis!

10/19/2005 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger HadleyB said...

At this point in world history, any trials under international law strengthen the hand of the internationalists. Whether they are of the neocon (actually neoliberal) type with their new world order, or of the more traditional lefty UN NGO types, the result is the same: reduced sovereignty.

As many folks noted in 1945 and 1946, civilian trials arejust as effective. Quisling and Petain were tried, convicted and killed by their own people under their own national laws. Dönitz offered to do the same to at least some of the surviving Nazis. Several of the Nuremberg defendants confessed believed that a postwar Reich Court would have treated them worse than the Allied Tribunal.

Given this, Saddam and his henchmen can be easily tried and convicted under Iraqi law of murder, conspiracy and a host of other capital crimes.

This will serve as a dramatic warning to the next Iraqi dictator-- the new Saddam who will take over when we bug out and abandon Iraq.

It will also remind the Iraqis that they can deal with the next genocidal nut all on their own.

10/19/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Well, We have one idea of what to do with Saddam.

HadleyB said... I would let the Iraqi government do what it wants with them... It really is a purely Iraqi matter. What do they want to do? Let 'em.

It sounds good on the surface. But, is not that now what we are doing for the most part? I am sure the Iraqi judge would like to string Saddam up. So, what is he waiting for.

If this is the route to go, I would suggest that at the next out burst or contempt of court, the judge merely confine Saddam to his cell and continue with the prosecutor charges and then render a verdict (Guilty and the punishment of death). Then, haul Saddam out and hang him.

I how does this sound to the rest of you people?

[please excuse all of the typos, less than perfect legal parlance and grammatical errors, but, I am doing two things at once].

10/19/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Saddam Hussein before the law:

Rapid punishment -- most likely execution -- threatens to bury the full record of decades of tyranny under the apparently overriding purpose of fighting the insurgency by other means.

Saddam's trial will thus demonstrate the limits of the law in jumpstarting regime transition. An intractable dilemma of transitional justice is that societies ravaged by brutal human rights legacies often appeal to the law to shore up the legitimacy of the successor regime, only to see these salutary aims subverted by the challenges and compromises that are inherent to the transition itself.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2005/10/20/2003276595

10/19/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

hadleyb writes: At this point in world history, any trials under international law strengthen the hand of the internationalists. Whether they are of the neocon (actually neoliberal) type with their new world order, or of the more traditional lefty UN NGO types, the result is the same: reduced sovereignty.

America has entered into treaties since the birth of our country. They supercede any verbiage in whatever sceaps of paper bind their internal citizens nationally. I suppose you could say that the Hague Convention, Geneva Conventions, Air Piracy Treaty, WTO, chem, biological, and nuclear NPTs "infringe" on the liberty of Americans not to honor trade rules, manufacture smallpox virus, export plutonium from nuke power plants they own from spent fuel they bought....

But I am quite comfortable with having laws and treaties cover the stuff that could threaten the security, welfare, and liberty of Americans from events occuring well beyong our Borders. Just as the Chinese don't give two hoots about our sacred Constitution, we don't give two hoots about theirs.

And in the military we are not under the Constitution while abroad but under the UCMJ.

As many folks noted in 1945 and 1946, civilian trials arejust as effective. Quisling and Petain were tried, convicted and killed by their own people under their own national laws. Dönitz offered to do the same to at least some of the surviving Nazis. Several of the Nuremberg defendants confessed believed that a postwar Reich Court would have treated them worse than the Allied Tribunal.

Oh, poo! It's one thing to say that a country will gladly try enemy collaborators, it's another to think the German judiciary, riddled with Nazis and conflicts of interest from 12 years of Hitler coopting them - could ever try German war criminals to anyone's satisfaction.

The Japs losing huge face by trying war heroes still honored today by shrines throughout Japan? Unthinkable.

With Saddam and henchmen, it's easier to do it as an internal thing because the Sunnis are a minority and lost power. Far easier to treat it internally that create another war giving the criminals over to the Iranians for execution. No Iraqi wants that. If the Saddamites were a majority, we'd be dealing with them by military tribunal.

10/19/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Agree with Ledger that if Saddam acts up again, he should immediately be taken down, handcuffed, and physically hustled from the room. He should *NOT* be allowed, ever ever again, to act like he's above the police/soldiers in the courtroom, and too good for them to lay a hand on.

I'm glad someone else picked up on that. I was wondering if Saddam acts that way when he's being escorted somewhere by American soldiers.

10/19/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agree w/Ray.
---
Especially in light of Kofi A's objections, it was good to see President Hussein put that uppity judge in his place.
Now, taking a page from Justice Steven's Playbook, we should bring Saddam here to preside over the prosecution of Bush, Cheney, et al.
---
Forget the Joo:
Get that damned Cat!

10/19/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Saddam trial a spectacle that unites, rivets Iraqis:

Yasser Kadhim, 28, a Shiite Arab shopkeeper in Baghdad, quietly celebrated after the session ended. "Never could I have remotely imagined seeing such a thing as Saddam on trial for [his] ... many crimes."

Kadhim expects Saddam to be hanged and hopes it will happen soon. "First, it will give the Iraqis some rest," and, he suggested, it will deflate and defeat the Baathist loyalists behind the insurgency.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002571907_saddam20.html

10/20/2005 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Shiite housewife Sabiha Hassan's entire family leaped up and rushed to their private generator when the screen went dead half an hour into the trial. "Thank God, I brought extra fuel today just for the occasion," said her husband, Salman Zaboun Shanan, as he filled the generator's tank.

Hassan's brother was executed by Saddam's regime, and she, her husband and five of their sons spent time in Saddam's prisons. They kept up a running commentary on the trial. "May God break his legs to pieces," Hassan, in a black robe and veil, said when Saddam stood at one point.

"Iraq's soil has its pride. It won't accept Saddam's body once they execute him. I hope they throw his body to the dogs, not bury it," said Shanan, slapping his fist into his palm nervously.

---
In northern Iraq, Kurds also were captivated by the trial, which focused on a massacre Saddam is accused of ordering against a Shiite village. Many Kurds were eager for cases of atrocities against their community come to trial, particularly the Anfal campaign of the late when Saddam's military razed Kurdish villages and killed some 180,000 people.

Zainab Wali's husband and two sons were among the "Anfal-ed," the slang term used for the many who disappeared and whose bodies were never found.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, the 46-year-old woman brought out her cooking utensils to the living room so she could watch alongside her daughter while chopping up ingredients for stuffed cabbage.

When Saddam appeared on the screen, she whooped with joy and started laughing.

"Today I feel that my husband and brothers have come back. I feel like my own brother is judging Saddam since the judge is Kurdish," Wali said.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/10/19/D8DBA9084.html

10/20/2005 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

Let them revel in their application of Justice. Let them judge him by the standards they have established and let the West quit the intellectualizing BS. We don't have a clue about how the average Iraqi feels in their hearts. We can't relate in any way to the brutality they have endured.

10/20/2005 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger NN said...

Rehnquist writes:

Whatever the merit of these objections, the Nuremberg Trials were surely superior to the summary court martial proceedings favored by some members of the administration and the summary executions initially favored by the British.

Why? Speaking now of the top layer within the Nazi party, Hitler, Himmler, Goering and Goebbels and possibly some additional top party members, their role in the war was beyond any reasonable doubt. Justice would have been equally served by hoisting them high immediately upon capture.

The difficulty lies in drawing the line. I would say a man like Speer deserved to be before the execution squad. When he says he "didn't know" (which in itself is highly doubtful), the reply should be "Well you should have." It is every man's responsibility to have at least that amount of awareness to see where he and the society he lives is heading, and to work fiercely against any trends that may upset civilized society, _if he cares about his life_. Otherwise you may one day, like Speer, find yourself surrounded by state-worshipping racists with a master plan. Too late then.

"To let the world know what was done" is strictly a job for the historians. Anyway, from that perspective the trials are a failure, looking at the past 50 years of history.

10/20/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

A public trial, however flawed, serves Iraqi, US and the world's interest far better than would a summary execution.

For despots, summary execution is the normal fate for unlucky or insufficiently ruthless dictators, and can be considered an occupational hazard. Hardly a strong enough disincentive. Public trial and a public record followed by public execution will do far more to discourage tyrants-to-be, and offers a far greater opporetunity to reform the mideast cesspool. In 10 years time, this legal argument will be merely a footnote, and of interest only to the likes of Noam Chompsky and his ilk.

10/20/2005 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

A public trial, however flawed, serves Iraqi, US and the world's interest far better than would a summary execution.
Indeed, because it repudiates the past behavior of the Saddamite government. Witness Germany and the extensive provisions in its military law for disobeying unlawful orders; without Nuremburg, and it's disavowal of 'following orders,' there would be no such deferment.

10/20/2005 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Please remember that, until the moment The Hairy Scoundrel was pulled from his hidey-spider hole, the Internationalists were on record as staunchly AGAINST international/US interventions; FOR Iraqis dealing with Iraqi affairs, and loudly against America even THINKING of trying him in a court of law.

Then, after an utterly shameless and near-instantaneous about-face, they all started publicly insisting that Saddam be turned over to INTERNATIONAL (what are those?) bodies, as the Iraqis were utterly incapable of a fair trial and unprepared to administer such to the Grizzled Goblin!

10/20/2005 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Uhh, C4?

The Chinese don't give two hoots about THEIR constitution, either!

All it does in practice is rationalize the power of the ruling clique!

10/20/2005 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

NahnCee said...
Don't you think it'll be fascinating if Saddam gets up there in front of Allah and everyone and testifies that he personally gave bribe money to his excellently good friend Jacques Chirac? And how well do you think Saddam knew Kofi Annan, and what will Mr. Hussein have to say about that on the stand?

This is the reason why Kofi wants to have the UN and ICC elbow their way into the procedings.

Kofi, Chirac, & Co are scared to death that Sadaam will cut a deal, and deliver a full report, live on global TV, as to who he was playing with on the international scene, and what deals were made, in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

As to the trial itself, the legal angle really revolves around the Leftist axiom that no society or culture is "better" than another, and that no society is fit to judge another society on the basis of the judging society's laws or culture. A member of a society can only be judged by that society's own rules. This implies that the only crime that a law-maker of a society can be charged with is hypocracy.

Thus Sadaam cannot be charged or tried, because the International Community does not acknowledge the concept of "universal crimes" (except for the crime of being a productive Christian white male, or some such).

I say, let's just cut the legal Gordian knot. The US should simply proclaim that

1) there are universal crimes;

2) the US shall define what the set of universal crimes includes;

3) that the US will not feel itself to be bound by the opinions of the "International Community" in defining the set of universal crimes, and will laugh in their collective faces should they try to add things like "contributing to global warming" and "refusal to share wealth with kleptocratic regimes" to the list;

4) that the set of universal crimes for members of governments shall include the use of murder against political opponents for the purpose of retaining power;

5) that the US will oversee the trial, conviction and execution of any government officials committing "universal crimes"

The above would be greeted with great upset by the "International Community". Particularly regimes like Communist China, North Korea, and a number of others. Because they know they will be on the list at some point. Screw them, and their opinions

10/20/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

papa bear: I like your list. However, the thought does occur that if the US were to codify these assertions, what's to keep some other country from doing the same regarding whatever they're interested in legally? I'm thinking specifically right now of the Spanish judge who's issued arrest warrants for three American soldiers, and that *he* could claim some sort of "universal crime" has been committed by the soldiers so therefore he has a right to arrest them.

"Universal" in this case is skating way too close to "international" and "UN" for my comfort. It might be better to reverse the claim to some sort of "special circumstances", where the actions are being crafted very closely to fit what's happened, with a promise that they won't slop over into real life afterwards.

10/20/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4: and the Nazis, in years to follow, would point out they perhaps had less blood on their hands than the Jews who started Bolshevikism, did.

.and when the Stalinists took over from the Jews

Hey c4, funny, do you stay up nights dreaming of Jooos world conquest or what?

I swear your protocols must have have the extra super secret chapters...

really c4, take your prozac or your lithium, dont dress up in your army dress that you bought at the surplus store... stop reading history of the world by abbas... it will be ok c4, really, try an old adage, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing...

10/20/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

peter;

"The difficulty lies in drawing the line. I would say a man like Speer deserved to be before the execution squad. When he says he "didn't know" (which in itself is highly doubtful), the reply should be "Well you should have." It is every man's responsibility to have at least that amount of awareness to see where he and the society he lives is heading, and to work fiercely against any trends that may upset civilized society, _if he cares about his life_. Otherwise you may one day, like Speer, find yourself surrounded by state-worshipping racists with a master plan. Too late then."

I coudn't agree more.

We have trouble holding some accountable. This is off topic and I apologize to readers in advance for crawling up on the soap box.

But I wan't you to imagine yourself in a sterile operating room whitnessing a late term abortion of a healthy unborn. And I want you to tell me whether, after observing, you think it is
OK.

To your point; we are Speer.

10/20/2005 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I am very happy to see Saddam facing a trial, but:

Will the statesman and corporations who directly supplied Saddam with weaponry and technology to carry out his genocidal acts be tried in either Iraq or in their home countries?

Will the foreign military officers who trained Saddam’s army on the tactical use of chemical weapons in the final years of the Iraq / Iraq War be prosecuted?

Will the intelligence officials who helped Saddam in 1963 become head of intelligence of the new Baathist regime in Iraq and who handed him a list of 10,000 mostly Shiite members of the Iraqi Communist Party with instructions to kill them and their families be tried in any court?

10/20/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

I agree with most here that to internationalize this trial would only serve to undercut the new Iraq, set a poor precedent, and be unbearably ironic, given how the UN and most of the International Community opposed the removal of the Iraqi tyrant in the first place. Still, there could be some merit to trying Hussein in an international court convened in Baghdad if it is legitimized by a jury of peers, to include Mugabe, Assad, il Jong, Hu, Al-Bashir, Mswati, Castro, Chavez and Khamenei. The jurors would of necessity have to be sequestered for an extensively long time, maybe years, without any contact with the outside world and with the inconsequential locals, having little else to do with the trial other than testifying as victims, providing them special Iraqi hospitality, like date-mold delicacies, puff adder tea and such.

The only fly in this soup is how countries could possibly cope without their Stabilizing Sovereign Strongmen exercising discipline over them and opposing America---

10/20/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I'm late in revisiting this post, but let me try to cover what I can.

C4: Ex Post Facto? BFD! It applies only to English Common Law, Napoleonic, Soviet, and Chinese allow extensions of existing laws to crimes not yet named (convenient for Stalin, of course!). Nuremburg was as much about adept post-war diplomacy as law.

I have been clear that my argument was from legal principle as understood in American jurisprudence. As to Nuremburg, it had its uses, and it had its consequences.

Ex-dem: The prosecution would not invoke customary international law (or international treaty law, come to that) not because it couldn't but because it would have no need to.

That's true as far as it goes, but I was specifically referring to a case where international norms were at odds with American law. Torture and the dealth penalty are good examples.

Verc: But say Saddam did violate laws of his regime. He still cannot be charged by the current government anymore than the US can prosecute British laws; two different governments. This holds unless the laws are grandfathered in.

This is true, and highlights the limitations of the ex post facto objection. In the end you must do something with the dictator.

My original goal was to determine the justificaton for Saddam's trial and compare it to the philosophical justification of trials in general, as understood in American jurisprudence. After reading both Arabic and Western commentary on the trial, the moral and utilitarian nature of the enterprise became clear. Equally clear was the general lack of curiosity, from both friend and foe of the trial, about legal principles and how they apply to this particular case.

The UN was against the trial because of its result, whether their complaint was the death penalty or an unkind spotlight. Saddam's lawyers argue a semblance of legal principle, but what they argue is sovereign immunity, which is more of an assertion than a principle. The Iraqis are all over the place, with some disappointed and some enthusiastic. Americans, who are now quite used to show trials, bill it as "the trial of the century" or some such, and they talk about it as if trying Saddam were much needed therapy for the Iraqis, or as if the trial was a time capsule, documenting Saddam's crimes for posterity.

There are many good reasons to have this trial, and moral and utilitarian justifications almost surely outweigh the ex post facto objection. Life is made of particulars and exceptions to solid rules. That ex post facto laws are harmful in general does not mean that every manifestation will offer equal harm.

So that is where we are. I'm unsure if it is best, but I am sure it is just. While I remain uncomfortable with the legal shenanigans surrounding the trial--ex post facto, drastically limited discovery, American interference, etc.--I am more than happy to watch the moral and utilitarian miracle of Saddam the Defendant as it unfolds before our eyes.

Rome wasn't built in a day (so they claim), and Iraqi jurisprudence hopefully has many days ahead. But we should be mindful of how they dispense justice to the citizen and be ever ready with a quick word when it is needed. American jurisprudence is a jewel, and a prism. We should not wear it lightly.

10/20/2005 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Many excellent comments, following upon Wretchard's last two posts.

Regarding the ex post facto question, I'm wondering why the world should even think of abdicating its responsibility to past and future victims by excusing a murdering tyrant simply on the basis of his once having been a murdering tyrant. Isn't there an argument to be made about inherent restrictions on the use of power? Aren't there already, always extant, implicit prohibitions against mass murder? Saddam obviously thought not, thinks not, but need we agree?

Second, there has already been criticism of this affair being a 'show trial' and that offended me at first, given the connotation such a description implies of manufacturing evidence and even torturing in order to produce convictions of the innocent. Is this what is meant in this case? If so, then what can you do but roll your eyes and say, "Sure, whatever..." But in another sense, as has already been observed, this WILL be a show trial in the sense that it will expose and condemn all the many depredations of the Ba'athist regime. The Iraqis need to see this happen; the world too, though perhaps for differing reasons.

Which brings me to a third point: What is to prevent the world community, if it is dissatisfied with the prosecution in Iraq, from conducting its own trial in absentia? Then we could compare alternative perceptions of justice, and perhaps consider more closely what it means to be fair.

10/20/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

The "trial" only provides a stage for the Jihadists to posture and orate and get undesireable publicity. There should have been only one judge, George W. Bush in his capacity as leader of the liberating forces. The "trial" should have been truncated to a verdict and sentence as follows. Verdict: "Saddam Hussein, you are a monster. Your actions demonstrate that you have resigned from the human race". Sentence: "Take this monster to a place of execution and hang him at once". This is medieval justice, such as was in effect prior to the common law. In medeival times a "sheriff" or duly appointed official representative of the King had what they called the "high justice". When a malefactor was seized and brought before such an official, the "trial" consisted of just such. Question, what was the Roman
position? They had an official called an Edile. What were his powers? They had laws, after all before the empire they were a "Republic", probably not our idea of such, more an oligarchy I suppose. The whole idea of a jury is to eliminate mistakes, it is well known that the verdict of several minds is almost always superior to that of the best single mind in the group, but I think juries are a fairly modern idea. I believe they were thought of to relieve individuals from having to take responsibility. In the case of a creature like Saddam, let us suppose that he received a "fair" trial and that for whatever reason was acquitted. Do you suppose that it would be an acceptable result to then release him, when the consequences would certainly be a minimum of tens of thousands more dead human beings? In short the idea of a "trial", is ridiculous. If Bush had the stones to order in the troops then he earned both the right and reponsibility to pronounce verict and sentence.

10/20/2005 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/20/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

I agree, Aristides, in the minor points, still disagree that the trial is wrong-headed except for utilitarian principles. Hussein couldn't be tried under the old laws, and shouldn't be tried under international 'law.' What's left is Iraqi law, or military law (which would not cover any of the genocidal acts he faces against). War defined the transition, and even most of the Saddamite rule, and so it does not seem unreasonable to craft a body of law to cover those inchoate and contested times, especially as the new Iraqi government has inherited all of Saddam's debts, monetary and moral.

10/20/2005 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"Thus Sadaam cannot be charged or tried, because the International Community does not acknowledge the concept of "universal crimes" (except for the crime of being a productive Christian white male, or some such)."

The thing is, the UN does acknowledge the concept of universal crimes. Another main aspect of the legacy of the Nuremberg tribunal was the notion of "crimes against humanity", This charge was invented to encompass the most dreadful Nazi crimes, crimes which the traditional law of war could by no means be stretched to cover. In particular, the prosecutors had been urged by refugee groups to prosecute crimes committed under German law against specific ethnic and religious groups. As a result, in their original form the charge pertained to acts committed during wartime against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds. People chosen for whom they are, rather than what they have done.

The ultimate intention of crimes against humanity was to include horrors that were sanctioned by German law at the time. Crimes became prosecutable whether or not they were violations of the domestic law of the country where committed. This erosion of national judicial sovereignty has since remained useful for courts intending to indict national leaders, such as Milosevic and Pinochet (and Kissinger?).

The question is of course whether you think this was a good precedent to set, or the Nazis should have been just shot out of hand. On one hand, it made potential perpetrators more politically vulnerable, on the other hand it eroded national sovereignty and set a precedent that is now abused by nuts like the ones who tried to bring Rumsfield up for charges in Belgium.

So the question here is not whether they [meaning the UN] think we can do it. They just want to control it, because otherwise we ruin their little game of grabbing more and more power. Considering the current crop of world elite, I think we should generally discourage the current zeitgeist of internationalism whenever possible. On a tactical note, trying him under crimes against humanity would guarentee that the conflict becomes a Shi'ite/Kurdish vs. Sunni conflict, since only the former was distinctly targeted for racial/religious qualifications. We're trying to set the opposite precedent, that he treated all of them poorly [even if in different degrees].

Sorry for the long post.

10/20/2005 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

The ex post facto arguement doesn't hold water. You could never convince anyone that Saddam didnt have a law to prevemt the murder of an innocent - let alone thousands.

If you argue that he was acting to protect his citizenry, again I say bunk. The evidence of the wonton death of thousands of undeniably innocent beings stands on its own.

10/20/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Cutler, what you say is all well and good. As I see it the situation is no different than a policeman shooting a vicious dog to death who has just killed a child or two. The policeman dosen't need a trial or a judge or a jury for that situation. Saddam is not even as good as the vicious dog, the dog deserves to be put down as humanely as possible, Saddam dosen't.

10/20/2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

enscout - To your point; we are Speer.

After 1st saying Speer should be executed, then since you relate Speer to the 2nd Holocaust - "the murder of abortion" - and 18-20 million woman in America have had 35 million abortions.

My, my, your execution chambers would be busy with all the holocaust-complicit doctors, nurses, clinic staffs, medical equipment manufacturers, and women themselves.

Which is why people reject your odious little Cult of the Blessed Fetus. The debate over Roe v. Wade is largely over with the public. 67% of the American people think the decision should stand, and the pro-life nuts who talk about executing millions of Americans are the main reason why the battle of public opinion has been lost by RTLrs.

Porkrinds - If Russia had been defeated by the Nazis, their victor's justice would have meant turning over your Bolshy pals to the Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and the Russian people themselves for mass atrocities that had already claimed 25 million. Nazism partially arose as a reactive political movement to the mass bloodshed happening to the East in Russia, Hungary. The industrialists, professionals, property owners were by and large justly scared - Catholic and Protestant ones alike. Without the Bolshevik slaughters, it is doubtful the Nazis would have ever arisen. Revanchist militarists yes, Nazis no.

10/20/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Yay! Cedarford just blessed Roe V. Wade, ahhh, nothing like the kiss of death. Anyhooo, actually how many Nazis were prosecuted...ah, nevermind.

While I love to pillory commies, you have taken it a weeeeeeee bit too far. Without the Bolshevik slaughters, it is doubtful the Nazis would have ever arisen. Revanchist militarists yes, Nazis no.

Oh? Actually the National Socialists were started by A. Drexler and then hijacked by Hitler; are you stating that Hitler was a wee bit misunderstood? A much maligned champion of the volk who, alone, stood up to the Bolshy murderers?

Somehow I find, Cedarford, whenever you speak that the sun glances out of the clouds and rains rose petals of righteousness on my fragile self-esteem; there is absolutely nobody in the entire universe more gifted at both misrepresenting the truth AND making themselves out to be a completely unsympathetic jackass at well nigh the same time.

Tip of the stetson, ole chap. Quite an accomplishment.

10/20/2005 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Vercingetorix, c4 has proven in the past with one or two of his posts that he is in fact capable of rational thought when he wants to. When he spouts drivel as in his most recent work of art, he is only trying to provoke responses to derail the thread into acrimony. Best treatment when he is in this mode is to totally ignore him, this is a proven technique. You, nor God Almighty could ever convince him of any thing, so don't bother. The rest of us see through him anyway and discount all he says when he is in this mode.

10/20/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger frank h said...

Without the benefit of such a trial, these people surely would have been executed without trial. So regardless of the 'legal' pedigree of the trial, the moral justification is adequate, in that it required that evidence be collected and that it be revealed to the people, who whether through democratic process or through revolution, pass ultimate judegment on these acts.

10/20/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Not sure I'd agree with Rehnquist that "the Nuremberg Trials were surely superior to the summary court martial proceedings favored by some members of the administration and the summary executions initially favored by the British."

I think Nuremberg proved the truism that bad facts make bad law. The whole business has operated to undermine national sovereignty and empower the international chattering classes. The spectacle of Spanish courts indicting US soldiers takes place in part because of the post-1914 weakening of national sovereignty accelerated by events like Nuremberg.

All in all, I prefer Churchill's idea of just shooting the most obnoxious Nazis out of hand.

The day is coming when no American official, or former official, will be safe traveling abroad. Persons opposed to American power cannot fight the US directly, so they'll use the lawyers. The deserved trial and execution of Saddam will no doubt, in time, lead to the completely specious trial of Bush.

10/20/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Verc,
There is some validity in what Cedarford posted on the beginnings of the Nazis. One of the main selling points of the National Socialist movement in the early days was it's opposition to Communism. That carried a lot of weight with the German people, since they could see practically first-hand what was going on in Russia. And the Prussian nobility was very close to the Russian nobility, who were being murdered or, if lucky, fleeing the country. (Remember that Kaiser Wilhelm II was a first cousin of Tsar Nicholas.)

10/20/2005 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

re:C4, the issue is always this provocation, so that carbombers in Baghdad AND Jerusalem are always provoked by something. It is not hard to profit by opposing communism and communists but it is a stretch to say that communism provided anything more than pretext; the Nazis and the communists were opposed to parliamentarianism in all of its forms as well.

But that's arguing the case on its merits. Arguing geopolitics, re: Israel is one thing; arguing that the Nazis were round aboutly justified in invading Russia AND with the holocaust (doubtful the Nazis would have ever arisen) is unacceptable. Just roll that phrase around on your tongue a few times and see how it feels. The Nazis opposed the Jews because the Jews were architects of communism.

C4 deserves censure on his blatant anti-semitism; people were passive once and, well, we all know where that led us, right?

10/20/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

I agree that Cedarford tends to cross over into anti-Semitism. But falsely claiming inaccuracies in what someone says is not an effective way to censure someone. There was a lot more involved with the rise of National Socialism than just hatred of the Jews. While that was certainly a big factor, it was just one of several significant issues.

10/20/2005 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger jaybird said...

Gross excesses in the application and abuse of political power --especially those that are ongoing for 15 or 20 or 25 years-- do not easily lend themselves to adjudicative redress, if they do so at all. Especially when it's the dictator himself sitting in the dock. Imagine if the Nuremberg prosecutors had managed to perp-walk Hitler himself into court. Does anybody seriously think that he would have ever had any chance under any circumstances of ever being found "not guilty" of anything? Likewise Saddam. So what's the point?

Despotic butchers are best left to take their own lives immediately pre-capture, ala Hitler, or be double-tapped behind the left ear immediatly post-capture. Bringing them to a show trial isn't justice, no matter how much we delude ourselves into believing that it is.

Maybe we do it for other reasons, to tell ourselves how civilized we are, or to give a full and public accounting. or to just to put it all on the historical record. But whatever it is, it's not justice. Justice, judicially-imposed that is, plays no role here.

10/20/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

enscout:

I must disagree with your opinion re abortion. Until able to survive without the aid of her body or any artificial assistance, the foetus is not a living entity on its own.

As for modern-day Speers, I would say Europe is full of his moral equals.

Getting back to the point and looking at the facts as they relate to Saddam Hussein's actions, is there anyone doubting that if he was to be tried in any objective court of law, he would be found guilty of N murders???

If his culpability is beyond any doubt, why allow these procedures to carry on? Whom would they benefit???

The basic question is whether the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein respected the rights of the individual, as they were formulated in the US Constitution.
To say that it didn't is an understatement. By his and his government's massive violation of individual rights, they are to be treated as criminals by any nation willing and able to take on the responsibility for the destruction of the regime.

The US under the Bush administration took it upon themselves to destroy the Iraqi regime to replace it with something less of a threat to the US. Whether this particular path will succeed or not is debatable. Being the freest country on earth, where individual rights (however eroded) are still respected the most, the US' right to dispose of this petty dictator and his cronies as they see fit is unquestionable.

Moral clarity, ruthless clarity and righteousness is what is tragically lacking the Bush administration. A little more than a hundred years ago, you said

Whatever happens, we have got The Maxim gun, and they have not.

We still have the Maxim gun. Only today we dare not use it and we dare not take the consequences once we've actually used it. This must change. Saddam has already earned his execution. Let us not shirk from what is right.

10/20/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

What is perfect law and the perfect application of it? Fine scholarly minds can't agree and even salt-of-the-earth people of good common sense could never come to any one understanding of it, either.

We want a sense of law and order (modified western-style) and a fair if imperfect establishment of them in New Iraq, that will serve both American and Iraqi security and economic interests in the long-run. We want autocrats and corrupt parties in the region to witness greater democracy, transparency, and legal/moral accountability in governance right on their doorstep. We especially want their people to see this. We want Iraqis to deal with their past and move on, and any psychologist would tell us that it is far better for the Iraqis to be/feel in control of this process (imperfect though it may be ), rather than for this purge to be done for them by others, whether by a protracted international trial or by a quick American/Iraqi bullet, victor style. We want the new government to establish its bona fides as a sovereign and more or less fully functioning entity.

Finally, we want to send a message to the UN and the International Community that they are not only not in control, but that they have no legal and moral authority to administer justice because they are so willfully blind to it. That they have been, for the most part, unwilling to fight obvious wrongs and protect against dangerous threats, shows them as feckless and derelict. But that they choose to insult and obstruct those who do fight to remove a tyrannical and terrorist supporting government is why someone like Mugabe can rail against the US and Britain and their liberation of millions and receive a UN ovation. The Internationalists themselves have become an injustice and they are posing new dangers for us unless we manage and obstruct them in return.

This may be a show trial the world is watching, but it shows everybody quite a bit. Where a speedy dispatch of Saddam's sons was tactically brilliant, a humiliating incarceration, trial and execution of the father by the new Iraqis will prove to be brilliantly instructive. Just not of the Law, necessarily.

10/20/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

c:

I take the implicit premiss of your second paragraph to be that through promoting freedom (or democracry as everybody today is wont to call it), America will become safe from future terror attacks. This presupposes that the necessary conditions for establishing freedom are present in the first place. I doubt it very much they are. I suspect Iraqis today are too tribal and religious to be able "to keep their democracy" on their own. Time will tell.

And since when did the US become the global welfare daddy who's supposed to help every nation "deal with their past and move on"? The first duty of the US government is to protect the lives and rights of its citizens, not sacrifice them for the sake of helping foreigners "deal with their past and move on," which is what I see happening now. This is not Oprah. This is war, or at least it's supposed to be. Notice how the most dangerous terror sponsors, Iran and Syria, are untouched and still openly active.

10/20/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger wanax said...

Certain legal requirements, such as prior notice that specific acts are crimes, serve important purposes supporting a culture of individual liberty, free from state repression. But exceptions to such requirements should be recognized, for example, where underlying cultural conditions do not remotely resemble a regime of individual liberty.

Saddam's Iraq was a regime of repression, not of liberty, and so the threshhold requirement that no crime be defined ex post facto cannot be legitimately interposed as a defense to his prosecution. This is so not least because the accused (in Saddam's case) was the prime mover who created and maintained the repressive regime.

Accordingly, in these circumstances it would be a ludicrous miscarriage of justice to allow a defense of ex post facto to defeat the prosecution, either in the Iraqi court or in the international "public diplomacy" contest.

The best answer is the one given by Justice Jackson in Nuremberg in his opening statement for the prosecution almost sixty years ago (I paraphrase from long-ago memory): To say that there were no crimes would be to say that there was no war, that there were no slain.

10/20/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Dear Peter,

Re any 'premiss' of democracy and freedom: the war has already been fought. You are both arguing the merits of it belatedly and the failure of same prematurely.

Where did I or anyone say that the US is to be the global welfare daddy and help "every nation 'deal with its past and move on"? A curious point you're trying to make. Fact is, we fought the Iraq War for reasons of national and global security, and this same war which deposed Saddam also liberated and benefited Iraqis. If we wish for the new Iraq to stabilize and prosper (you think it not in our interests that it does?), an imperfect but healthy reckoning with Saddam's sadistic governance is a pretty good way to delineate between past and bad governance and the future and a far better way to run a country. All good for the US and allies, the Iraqis, and we hope the region and beyond.

Iran and Syria in different ways and times. They're on-going "projects" and very much in our sights.

10/20/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger metaphysician said...

IMHO, the real purpose for having a "trial," as opposed to just a summary execution, is not to ensure justice for the dictator. Its to air for all the world every single crime of the dictator. IOW, its not "Thus we prove the man's guilt," its "This is why we are doing what we are doing."

10/20/2005 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

C4,
"The debate over Roe v. Wade is largely over with the public. 67% of the American people think the decision should stand,"
---
Link?
(simple request)

10/20/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

metaphysician said...
"This is why we are doing what we are doing."
Exactly,
Whatever Nuremberg's shortcomings, the schoolboy lesson that made sense to me was that
"Just Following Orders"
was sometimes a highly insufficient defense.

But to let the Internationalists get their noses beneath the tent would be a disaster.
Let self-described "Mr. Iraq"
be tried by Iraq.

10/20/2005 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug, before requesting links to commonly known poll results like CNN/Gallup on the relatively constant numbers on support for overturning Roe v. wade, take the time to Google them yourself.

It's very simple. If you don't have Google you can easily find it at Google.com.

Once you have educated yourself on the 30-year long polling that has taken place, you will find the public is for parental notification, for ending partial birth abortions except in rape, physical health of the woman and in case of severe genetic defect. You will find that most people oppose ending 1st trimester abortions. And find that many pro-choicers want to join the RTLrs in overturning Roe and sending the matter to the states, but not even close to a majority.

Which is why for 30 years Republicans have said the right words, but really don't want to do anything to change the situation and dry up the religious fanatic money pool.

If you further educate yourself, you will look at polling in states and see maybe 13 would implement significant abortion restrictions.

There.

I've led you to water, but lack the time or inclination to spoonfeed you. Look all that polls and stats up on your own.

10/20/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Twists in Saddam trial: First witness is cancer patient, defense lawyer snatched:

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr claimed a major break in the fight against the Sunni-led insurgency with Wednesday's arrest of one of Saddam's nephews during a pro-Saddam demonstration in Tikrit.

The capture of Yasir Sabhawi Ibrahim, a son of Saddam's half brother Sabhawi Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, could help track down other Saddam relatives living in nearby Arab countries who are the source of financing for Iraq's insurgency, Jabr said.

Iraqi security officials said Ibrahim was in Syria before the government there forced him to return. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to deal with the media.

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/10/21/news/nation/16_57_2210_20_05.txt

10/20/2005 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Cedarford,

"The odious cult of the Blessed Fetus" is a statement so deeply lacking in humanity ,that it shows you for the shriveled wizened soul you are.
Really you wear the souldead imprint that totalitarians wear.Jews aren't real human beings with strengths and frailities.Instead they're easy scapegoats for the world's ills.
I still find it difficult to try to grasp exactly where on the political landscape you stand,but as far as where you stand as a human being I don't want to get near that place.

10/20/2005 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

trangbang68,
We should both remind ourselves more often of the waste of time it is trying to identify with, or get straight information from some individuals for whom the put-down, even of the sacred, is their highest goal.
Forewarned is forearmed.
Best to leave some stones unturned, and hope for the best.

10/20/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Super 6 said...

All legal mumbo jumbo aside, this trial (like Nuremberg) is no more than a day of reckoning. This trial is a public accounting for crimes against humanity.

10/20/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sorry for off topic post, will try to ignore in future.
(Charginghawk Pledged)
---
Los Angeles Times Poll:
This was taken on 2005-JAN-14 to 18.
1,118 randomly selected American adults were asked the question:
"Which comes closest to your view on abortion: abortion should always be legal, or should be legal most of the time, or should be made illegal except in cases of rape, incest and to save the mother's life, or abortion should be made illegal without any exceptions?"

Results:

41% favored making abortion illegal with a few exceptions.

24% favored making abortion always legal

19% favored making abortion legal most of the time.

12% favored making abortion totally illegal.

Margin of error ±3% percentage points. It is notable that 12% of American adults would totally prohibit all abortions, including those needed to save the life of the mother.

10/20/2005 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Keying off of what NahnCee said and the situation at hand:

...if Saddam acts up again, he should immediately be taken down, handcuffed, and physically hustled from the room. He should *NOT* be allowed, ever ever again, to act like he's above the police/soldiers in the courtroom...


I agree. Saddam was escorted in to a court room and then displayed gross contempt for the judge and the court (and the laws behind the court). If there is going to be a "trial" then the judge must firmly assert his authority over the proceedings (which he did not in this first part of trial). Without order in the court room the trial will soon degenerate into a shouting match. Saddam contempt and outbursts make a mockery of the court's authority (a horrible way to run a courtroom). The judge must have the intestinal fortitude to severely sanction Saddam for contempt of court. To that end, the judge must be willing to remove Saddam from the court room after the next outburst and must be prepared to continue with the trial with Saddam in his cell (and, the judge must have the backbone to continue the entire trial to the finish and sentence Saddam without Saddam even being in the court room).

On a rational basis, granting Saddam more time to prepare for trial is a mistake. The judge must know that Saddam's thugs will use that time to kill or intimidate any/or all witness for the prosecution. Further, Saddam's thugs will surely continue to bomb civilians, American troops, and others at very turn. The judge should not allow anymore "continuances" or stall tactics from Saddam's lawyers. In fact, the judge should have not allowed a 45 day continuance in the first place.

Yet, we now have it. I would suggest that Iraqi police put the heat to Saddam thugs and determine if there is witness intimidation or evidence tampering. If so, then the judge should restart the trial immediately. In short, the judge should show complete authority and continue with the trial - or scrap the trial and just execute him.

10/20/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ledger,
Have not been following closely, but your description makes me realize they're following the "liberal" American Model!

(Perp's Rights Uber Alles)

10/20/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Duly noted Doug.

10/20/2005 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

If any of you have a better suggestion of what to do with Saddam, speak-up.

"I'm sorry, but Mr. Hussain is dead. I'm filling out the paperwork now. I can't decide if he hung himself in his cell or was shot while trying to escape."

10/20/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm remembering some trial where the defendents were tied and gagged and bound to their seats in the courtroom. Was that the Chicago 6?

I don't think Saddam should be removed from the court if he misbehaves. I think he should be right there where he can hear and watch the whole thing, stapled to his chair with a Hannibal Lecter mask on his face.

10/20/2005 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee:
That would be future CA Sen Tom Fonda Hayden, Bobby Seale, et al
.

. trials/Chicago7/chicago7.html

10/20/2005 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

1960
Abbie Hoffman said he was "psychologically born" in this year.
October, 1967
Hoffman arrested while attempting to measure the Pentagon.
August 28, 1968
Hoffman is arrested while having breakfast for having the word "Fuck" on his forehead.
1974
Hoffman has plastic surgery and goes underground in upstate New York for seven years to avoid trial on cocaine charges. He serves a sentence in a work-release program in 1981-82.
1983
Judge Julius Hoffman dies at age 87.
April 12, 1989
Abbie Hoffman commits suicide at age 52.
November 28, 1994
Jerry Rubin dies after being hit by a car while jaywalking.
1995
William Kunstler dies of a heart attack.
August, 1996
Tom Hayden, state senator, is a California delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Rennie Davis, activist and personal growth lecturer, is also in town.
August 27, 1998
David Dellinger, aged 83, is arrested while demonstrating at a nuclear reactor.
.chronology .

10/20/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Chicago 7
Trial (on LSD)
Paul Krassner
Instead, I decided to take a tab of acid before I took the witness stand --- call me a sentimental fool --- but it wasn't merely to enhance the experience.
I had a more functional reason.
My purpose was twofold. I knew that if I ingested 300 micrograms of LSD after eating a big meal, I was very likely to throw up in court.
That would be my theatrical statement on the injustice of the trial. Also, I wouldn't need to memorize so much information that way.

Judge Julius Hoffman looked exactly like Elmer Fudd. I expected him to proclaim, "Let's get them pesky wadicals!" The court clerk looked exactly like Goofy. It didn't matter that a Disney character was making a guest appearance in a Looney Toons cartoon --- one learns to accept such discrepancies in a dreamlike state. Now I was being instructed by Goofy to raise my right hand and place my left hand on a Bible that was positively vibrating. "Do you hereby swear," asked Goofy, "that the testimony you are about to give in the cause now on trial before this court and jury shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" The truth for me was that LSD --- or any other catalyst for getting in closer touch with your subconscious; whether it be meditation, Zen, yoga --- served as a reminder that choices are being made every moment.
So naturally I assumed that Goofy was offering me a choice.
"No," I replied.

Although I hadn't planned to say that, I realized it was a first in American jurisprudence. Ordinarily, the more heinous a crime the more eagerly will a defendant take the oath. However, my refusal to swear on the Bible was a leap of faith. Everything was swirling around in pastel colors, but there was still a core of reality I was able to grasp...
. Krassner

10/20/2005 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Abbie Gets a Haircut

10/20/2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

BTW,
Most of these guys got off on appeal, which probably had a lot to do with the present state of the left/democrats, as did other such derelections of the Federal Judiciary through the decades.
---
"However, this isolation changed somewhat in the past 50 years, as members of the "New Left" filtered through the Democratic party's leadership, the schools, and the intelligentsia. More pink than red, they eventually proclaimed themselves anti-anti-communists during the 1960s, and their views and agendas reflected it. They deeply distrusted American patriotism, the military, supported the advance of the nanny-state, peeling back American power and self-righteousness, and promoted multiculturalism, which in practice meant the subservence of American culture to that of its immigrants and unassimilated minorities. The American New Left made common cause with similar minded and also rebellious movements in Europe, movements which cultiminated in the almost continent-wide social disorders of 1968. These people continued to rise through the aforementioned institutions, and their views did evolve, but most did not break free from many of their original prejudices and beliefs."
. Cutler: "Is Classical Liberalism Doomed?"

10/21/2005 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Since then, our sensibility in the matter of decapitation has changed greatly. During the war the Japanese beheaded many of their prisoners, not as a tribute to their nobility, but as an expression of complete contempt for them.
This provoked our revulsion.
Beheading of any kind henceforth seemed to us barbaric and primitive.
One might have moral qualms about the hygienically sound, quasi-medical, almost euphemistic executions by injection that take place in chambers bearing a too-close resemblance to operating rooms, but no one would propose beheading as an alternative.

Except, of course, in the Islamic world.
There has been no change of sensibility there, at least in two important Islamic states and among Islamist terrorists.
Saudi Arabia still favors public beheading as a means of execution, and Iran has used it in special cases.
But of course it is the terrorists who use it to the greatest effect. The video of the beheading of Daniel Pearl, the writer for the Wall Street Journal who was killed in Pakistan, is among the items regularly seized by British police during raids on households suspected of harboring Islamist terrorists. The video is used as recruitment propaganda.

You don’t have to be a follower of Jung to discern something deeply symbolic in these beheadings by self-appointed executioners. To sever the head from the body, at least nowadays when we have a more refined sensibility, is not merely to kill: It is symbolically to annihilate not only the biological existence of the beheaded, but the very thoughts he has had during his lifetime. To throw away a head as if it were a worthless inanimate object is to deny in the most categorical way possible any ideas that it might have had while living. It is to imply that only correct thoughts can henceforth be allowed to exist in heads, the kind of thoughts that the executioners themselves have; not until there is unanimity in thoughts, they imply, will our heads rest easy on our shoulders.

One hardly needs to emphasize the terrifying demonstration effect of the decapitation of supposed infidels by people to whom plenty of bullets are available as an alternative, swifter, and more certain method of procuring death. We conclude, as we are intended to conclude, that these are fierce and ruthless people whose belief in their own desert-tribal righteousness is unshakable. We should never forget that to commit barbarity in the name of righteousness is one of the greatest joys known to man — or at least to many men — and not just to Islamists, though at the moment it is they alone who have the courage of their barbarity, and rejoice publicly in it.
---
Of course, adept scholastics can find almost anything in any text. For example, enthusiasts find abortion and euthanasia writ large in the American Constitution. The urge to decapitate no doubt precedes the attempted justification for it in Islamic texts, which merely turns a pleasure into a sacred duty.

The mixture of scholasticism and a thoroughly modern sense of grievance or resentment is a highly combustible one, especially where the texts in question can be interpreted bloodthirstily, even if they need not be. Cruelty is never worse than when higher authority is invoked not merely to justify, but to demand it.

. The Meaning of Beheading .
Dr. Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal, and the author most recently of Our Culture, What’s Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses.

10/21/2005 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger NN said...

c:

If the Iraqi experiment is a success noone would be happier than I. I fear though that this will not be the case.

I do not think the well-being of the Iraqis is necessary to secure American lives. Remember the frantic, palpable terror on the night of 9/11 that all the scums of the earth projected on our TV screens? This terror was caused by the fears of what the US might do. If their fears had been realized immediately and followed-up by stern demands and threats I believe this would have been enough. Threats without credible consequences can be blithely ignored as the Iranian Mullahs are well aware.

As to America's global role, here is what Bush said in his state of the Union address of 2003:

"The qualities of courage and compassion that we strive for in America also determine our conduct abroad. The American flag stands for more than our power and our interests."

"Across the Earth, America is feeding the hungry -- more than 60 percent of international food aid comes as a gift from the people of the United States. As our nation moves troops and builds alliances to make our world safer, we must also remember our calling as a blessed country is to make this world better."

"Americans are a resolute people who have risen to every test of our time. Adversity has revealed the character of our country, to the world and to ourselves. America is a strong nation, and honorable in the use of our strength. We exercise power without conquest, and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers."

(Check out Yaron Brook's analysis of US foreign policy at ARI for more background on why Bush says the awful things he does. Registration required.)

Now, Bush also says he will do anything to protect US lives, but this clashes with the above quotes, so when the chips are down he will have to choose either one of these positions. When he has to choose he will sacrifice American lives, as he has done in the past:

Avoid collateral damage, even if it endangers US lives.
Avoid destroying the source of evil, Iran, even though the probability of future terror attacks that will make 9/11 look like an afternoon in Podunk is slowly drifting towards 1.00. Avoid naming the enemy, traditional Islam, even though it muddles the issue, making wrong decisions more likely, and thereby costlier. Avoid promoting the ideas that secure liberty and freedom, but the let the Iraqis work it out for themselves, thereby risking the whole project and all those lives will be have been lost for naught. And, you could add, avoid doing the right thing by ending the wretched Saddam's life, further weakening American resolve by however a small amount by leaving open the question of his fate.

10/21/2005 03:16:00 AM  
Blogger bardseyeview said...

Saddam is eerily like Shakespeare's King John, in ordering torture for no reason and generally warping himself away from normalcy over time.

10/21/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Aetius said...

Thoughtful and needful.

Saddam came to power by murder (an Iraqi crime) then corrupted the state, and his "other crimes" are the continuing fruits. Hilter though coming to power legitimately then proceeded to violate German law (by murder) and corrupt the state to gain absolute power. Their original, unlawful murders subsequently make their manipulation of the state also unlawful.

The Japanese trials are more problematic on several levels, including ex-post facto, and applying international treaty norms they had not accepted. However, since they had not accepted the norms, we merely applied the standards they themselves used in conquering others. They shouldn't and didn't expect anything less.

10/21/2005 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

i find it hard to get exercised about the jurisprudence, or lack of, regarding saddam’s trial. had his psychopathic arrogance not trumped his instincts for self preservation he and his boys could have accepted dubya’s ultimatum, immediately prior to the war, to get out of town by high noon. had he done so, instead of presently sitting in a green zone hoosegow looking forward to his next muffin, he could be tucking into steak frites and a salad nicoise at the hotel eden roc in cap d’antibe. perhaps washed down with a half bottle of one of the pleasant light wines they produce in the area. after lunch he could have repaired to one of the several villas he owned in the vicinity and perhaps shot a few frames of pool with uday and qusay.

now, had that happened, everyone currently calling for narrow interpretation of the law would have been saying that saddam’s freedom was a price well worth paying to avert war, bloodshed, and so on. in other words justice would have been modified; tailored to the circumstances. few in europe would have given a tinker’s fart for the legalistic niceties of justice being denied his victims.

what we have now is a new set of circumstances and a new solution is called for. we all, whether individually, like saddam, or collectively, like the usa, do what we can get away with. we can get away with hanging saddam.

10/21/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/21/2005 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Apologies, Peter, No time to answer the question of whether we should have fought this war or even whether we should have knocked off Saddam and then left Iraq to its own devices. I imagine most people here would agree that achieving a more democratic and prosperous Iraq has been one of our aims in fighting this war, and that we seek this less out of altruistic considerations and more out of expediency and moral pragmatism. Ridding ourselves and the world of Saddam would have fixed one problem but created more in the ensuing power vacuum were we to have just ended our war there. Also, a post-Saddam Iraq presents opportunity and not just head-aches.

Iraq has been a bold gamble, but the alternative to not trying to jump-start a political/social/economic transformation in the failed Middle East looked to be a future of escalating terrorism that even the autocrats would be unable to control no matter how we threatened them. Ultimately, it is all about the protection of America and American lives, with spin-off benefits to everybody but jihadists and anti-Americans. If you're so concerned with Syria and Iran, and I would agree that we should be for America's sake (which often means good for the whole world, as well), then please consider how a more modern, democratic and successful Iraq next door might undermine those despotic strongman regimes. Also, why wouldn't we want a positive relationship between the US and the new Iraq that would give us useful influence and positioning capability we need wrt all of Iraq's neighbors (not just Syria and Iran are of concern)?

Anyway, my understanding was that this thread is more about whether Saddam's trial should be internationalized or stay local with the Iraqis, indeed even whether to hold one at all. I was speaking as to how a trial of the deposed dictator by the Iraqis for the Iraqis would benefit not only the new Iraq but our greater agenda in the region/world. It's a powerful object lesson for everyone when a people are empowered to put a heinous leader in prison and make him answer to them in trial. There have already been snags and serious problems to come no doubt, but still this trial will reinforce the virtue of legal process and also that of responsible/responsive government. We are trying to invert the pyramids of top-down authoritarianism in the ME to reduce the pathologies born of oppression and submission. And not incidentally, authoritarian fundamentalism should also take a hit, if our strategy of seeding political-social possibility works.

About your "Threats without credible consequences can be blithely ignored as the Iranian Mullahs are well aware", all I can say is that the US followed through with serious consequences to the Taliban's Afghanistan and Saddam's Iraq and that we seem to be dealing with Syria and Iran, too, although somewhat below the radar. Europe's approach to Iran is almost comical, but at least they don't have a Madeleine Albright dancing with the Mullahs :) Don't you believe this administration is going to do something about Iranian nuclearization? What and when is anybody's guess, though, including the Mullahs'.

10/21/2005 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger BigDirigible said...

"As many folks noted in 1945 and 1946, civilian trials arejust as effective. Quisling and Petain were tried, convicted and killed by their own people under their own national laws."

That would be news to Petain. I think somebody's thinking of Pierre Laval. Petain's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

And I like that abortion opinion poll - standard mathematical hash. The "margin of error" comes directly from the mathematics of Gaussian variables, not from the poll itself. I think it's an honest mistake, as the people who do polls don't know as much statistics as they think they do. They should read more of the mathematically-inclined bloggers and perhaps learn something.

10/21/2005 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

funny how the saddam trial (in Iraq) is considered a sham while they clamor(ed) for trials (in US court) for Gitmo detainees.

10/21/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Verc pontificates:

It is not hard to profit by opposing communism and communists but it is a stretch to say that communism provided anything more than pretext; the Nazis and the communists were opposed to parliamentarianism in all of its forms as well.

It is not hard at all when the fear of joining the 10's of millions already liquidated by Bolshevikism motivated many to join the Nazi movement. For many in France, Romania, Ukraine, the Baltics - National Socialism was indeed the lesser of two evils.

arguing that the Nazis were round aboutly justified in invading Russia AND with the holocaust (doubtful the Nazis would have ever arisen) is unacceptable.

The Nazis laid out a compelling casus belli for invading the Soviet Union. From the very beginning, Moscow had told it's agents and provocateurs in East Europe, Germany proper, USA - to ignore the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Germany was technically justified in launching war. It turns out to have been the bloodiest strategic miscalculation in history, but anyone reviewing the German Declaration of War in the Aragon Online source documents at Yale.edu can see the German case for war. As for if the Nazis would have ever arisen without Communism's atrocities - unlikely. Germany was quite aware of the millions killed by Jewish Bolshevik leadership, the carnage of Aaron Cohen (Bela Kun) in Hungary, the Spartacist putsch (1919) led in Germany by Lebner and Rosa Luxumberg. Germany was also aware that the Communist vision was the true revolution was to start in Germany as a heavily industrialized nation to confirm to Marxist theory. The slaughter of the Romanoffs was conceived and orchestrated by one of the Jewish Bolshie leaders Sverdlov, who started life as Gerhard Solomon in Germany. The executions were carried out by a local cell of Jewish communists. There were also orders in the Soviets sparing synogogues, making anti-Semetic thought a death penalty, and blowing up 30,000 churches and sending their priests to mass graves or death camps. This was all discussed openly at the time, including by Winston Churchill.

Knowing the Bolsheviks called for them next, the German nobility, industrialists, landowners, and much of the clergy fell behind the Nazis. For much of the 20's, under Weimer, the Communists and National Socialists grew in strength and vied for the future of Germany in times of near-economic collapse within and true peril outside their borders. What made the difference in choosing one bad solution over the other (given the failure of Weimer Democracy) was knowledge of the Red Terror.

Just roll that phrase around on your tongue a few times and see how it feels. The Nazis opposed the Jews because the Jews were architects of communism.

I would say just read histories of the time. The Nazis opposed communism. They came up with fascist alternatives. They opposed Jews as bad for Europe for a variety of reasons - their insane racial theories for starters, traditional European anti-Semetism, and yes, because the Jews were the architects of communism and the Red Terror. And this was happening at a time when the US was doing mass deportations of those associated with communism and anarchist causes, mostly Jews, after a follower of Emma Goldman assassinated President McKinley a generation earlier and a wave of terrorism in the form of bombs and attempted assassinations hit America from 1919-22.

In Germany, the rise of the Nazis really starts with the Freikorps that killed Rosa Luxumberg and her Bolshevik followers before they could do to Germany what Aaron Cohen (Bela Kun) did to Hungary or what the Bolshies did to Russia. Many in the Freikorps - almost all WWI Vets, joined fellow Vet Hitler's side later.

C4 deserves censure on his blatant anti-semitism; people were passive once and, well, we all know where that led us, right?

No, passivity is the Munich meme that was never true of the people at the time. Too many millions were being butchered, and blood flowing from political clashes in the streets of most of Continental Europe to ever think of the Interwar Period as passive times.
The Munich meme is for the lazy and ignorant, Verc. What the era does reveal is an ignorance of the harm that a totalitarian movement integrating the tools of a modern state could do.

And you become logically incoherent when you say the Holocaust and the Rise of the Nazis are one and the same.

What the National Socialists did was study the totalitarian tools of the Bolshevik jews and integrate them as possibilities. The first real slave labor camps were created after the Bolshies came up with the concept of class enemies and Abram Yagoda conceived the White Sea Canal project with the idea of working class enemies to death rather than liquidate the whole class with little to show for it but wasted bullets - as the Checka did with the Kulaks.

In the end, it was the Nazis stupid racial theories that unified the Germans but doomed them in war. If the Nazis had been good faith allies of the Slavs against Just the Communists...they could have had plenty of allies and likely prevailed. But if they had won, and been inclusive and stooped their bloody work with victory, the National Socialists
likely would have played their culpability out like the Communists did.

There would have been Nuremburg-like show trials, then executions, of the original jewish Bolsheviks, the Stalinists that had largely taken power from them. All the communist death camps and mass graves like Katyn Forest only more so would have been publicized and movies made of the suffering of the 23 million Christians and innocent persecuted groups. And somewhere around a year or so after Hitler's death in the 50s or 60s, a la Kruschev, someone would have arisen to make a Formal State Denounciation of the "excesses and terror" - more death than necessary to liquidate the adherents of Communism - that had occured under Hitler, hastening to add that it did not undermine the legitimacy of national socialism. And pointing out the deaths in work prisons of certain classes - Jews, sexual deviants, gypsies - was not as bad as what Stalin and the earlier Bolshies did to the Tatars, Cossacks, Chechens, Finns, Lithuanians in similar class enemy camps. Little imagery would exist because the Nazis would have sanitized much of the evidence. And for 50 years hence, the world would still be lectured about the Red Terror and how it did nothing to stop it until the heroic Germans and their allies stopped the slaughter. Some books and movies would be written about bad Nazis but only a few compared to the vast media devoted to crimes of the commies.

Eventually, academia would catch on and when National Socialism finally fell in the 80s all the files would show what the Nazis had done - but to little emotional impact since it was so long ago. But definitive scholarship like "The Black Book of Communism" would exist and we would learn the Nazis were almost as bad a bunch of totalitarians in their early years as the communists, though we would still shudder at the thoiught of the slaughter the communists would have done if they had made it to China or the USA.

If anyone deserves censure, Verc, it is you for ignorance of the actual history of the era. You only know what you are fed by the mass media. You have no idea of the factors post-WWI that led to the rise of Communism or National Socialism or what led to what.

Without the deadly threat of Communist totalitarianism and it's determination to spread the butchery westward using a largely jewish network of activists and provocateurs, there it little likelihood that a countervailing form of totalitarianism would have emerged - or officials in the Baltics, France, Benelux, Ukraine, Poland, the Balkans, Romania, Italy, and Greece would have all cooperated so much in aiding the Nazis in the round-up and what they thought at the time (except the Poles) was expulsion eastward of the "trouble-making parts" of their population.

No Communism & No Red Terror - No Nazi Party, Italian Fascist, Phalange ever created as bulwarks against it. It's that simple. Without the heavy jewish involvement with Communism, chances are another Continental war would have left them suffering no more and no less than any other peoples on the Continent.

10/21/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

c:

Couldn't agree with you more on the contemptible and very dangerous path EUropean bureaucrats are attempting. But why then is Rice doing this? I disagree that you can clearly say that the Iraqi and Afghani operations as conducted have been to the interests of the US. Iraq will most likely fail like the Weimar republic for the same reason although not in the same manner: the Iraqis are not ready for freedom yet.

And, yes, the thread is about Saddam's trial. The trial is a waste of time. Don't the Iraqi courts have enough militant insurging rebels to process to study due process? And Saddam is such a special case. Look at the Romanians. Ceaucesco's demise was "quick and dirty." Didn't hurt them. And they are allies in the so-called War on Terror.

10/21/2005 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Peter,

Why is Rice doing that? My guess is it's a feint, probably with British cooperation. Isn't she big into football?

It's important that Saddam be treated like a mere mortal who is subject to a higher law than himself, and it's good for the Iraqi people (and other Middle Easterners) to see this. They see too much killing for vengeance and convenience as it is. Time to try a better way. Thankfully/allegedly, Saddam's sons gave a fight and cover for us to put them down on the spot. But their father will be dragged through the legal system before he is strung up. It's a bit more civilized than being dragged through the streets before a hanging, except for the legal bills presented to the estate.

10/21/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

Why stop here W? '[A]n international system that pretends to civilization' has chosen to leave unmolested a whole host of despots even more deadly, percentage-wise, to the populations they rule. Mugabe is a boil on their collective face. Mbeke seems to be taking notes. NPG in service to the "civilized" world could not be more obvious. Their theme: "Let the inferior races exterminate themselves and do the rest of us a favor."

10/21/2005 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Keep digging, C4, keep digging. That's an excellent, long-winded synopsis you wrote that completely misses the point, per usual.

You still pepper your arguments with the same absurd 'national'/'racial' rhetoric. The Nazis hated the Jews because of communism. Well, swell.

THis just gets old, C-4. I read these rambling posts and say...true, true, true, true, true, true, oh, you're an idiot. You're like some freshman math student, adding a negative sign. Oops, the answer is immaculate and...wrong.

For the record, I'm not arguing the tripartite war between fascism, parlimentarianism, and communism, or that fascism and communism were deadly enemies, and thus important in shaping each other. Might as well argue that water is 'wet.' On the other hand, you buy into the same crazy conspiracy theories of Mein Kampf (published 1926) about the jews and then blame communism's many atrocities for inciting anti-semitism (as a justified provocation). But see, the murder of the Ukrainains took place in 1928, not 1922 when fascists took power in Italy. Anti-semitism was a party platform well before communists distinguished themselves as mass murderers.

How hard is this, really? Is it this hard, C4, is it this hard to get? It's like that old saying, if you build a thousand bridges, you're a bridge builder, but if you deepthroat one banana, well, you're a $%#^$#%^er. It is quite easy to hate communists, but it is pretty despicable to hate the Jews who, of course, started communism. yeah, Freikorps, yeah, Bolsheviks, yeah, whatever. I couldn't care less. I do care when you argue that, Nazis, in years to follow, would point out they perhaps had less blood on their hands than the Jews who started Bolshevikism, so we have two political parties and...a race, or three things that don't match.

Hey, bud, that's when all of the misc. facts, and historic lectures gets thrown right out the window before you even begin.

10/22/2005 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Arguing that communism had nothing to do with jews, because one thing is a philosophy and the other is a race is stupid, Verc. As stupid as saying Nazism had nothing to do with the Germans.

and then blame communism's many atrocities for inciting anti-semitism (as a justified provocation). But see, the murder of the Ukrainains took place in 1928, not 1922 when fascists took power in Italy. Anti-semitism was a party platform well before communists distinguished themselves as mass murderers

Your dates are as wrong as your facts. No surprise there, given the depth of your historical knowledge.

The Ukrainian deaths did not happen in 1928. The 3 Bolshie- caused famines were 1921-23 (saved by Hebert Hoover from going above 2 million), the Great 1932-33 Famine (6-7 million deaths), and the Stalin ordered famine of 1946-47(1/2 million deaths).

By the time the fascists took power, the butchery in the Soviet Union had taken 5-6 million lives. The Red Terror was started in Sept 1918. The Italians knew this Soviet blood toll and that helped the Fascists rise against their rivals, the communists and socialist workers parties.

Curiously enough, Mussolini did not have the animosity towards Jews as entirely responsible for the tens of millions killed, as Hitler did, or mostly responsible, as Churchill wrote in the 1920s. He pointed out that though Russia's Jewish population was 1.8% the total, and at their Bolshevik peak the Jews had a bare numerical dominace of the Party numbers and organs, it was almost expected that Jews would dominate. Given they had been shutout of other parties and had a superior education to most of their Soviet rivals, had resources, organizational ability, and were transnational in nature. (as was communism in it's internationalist drive).

Mussolini also pointed out that by the early 30's, Stalin had diminished jewish power in the communist movement, so they no longer dominated, and had taken control of most instruments of state terror they had created away from them for his own evil uses. So Mussolini railed at communism - but did not consider jews synonymous with communism, just a large part of it. A jew who was communist was his enemy. A jew who was not, was not.

10/22/2005 01:52:00 AM  

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