Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Context baby, C-O-N-T-E-X-T:

At Hussein's Hearings, U.S. May Be on Trial
Posted on Nov. 28, 2005
By Juan Cole
The ongoing trial of Saddam Hussein could prove increasingly uncomfortable for the Bush administration. The first crime of which the deposed dictator is accused, the secret execution of 143 Shiites arrested in 1982, seems an odd choice for the prosecution, and politics may be behind it. Hussein is accused of using poison gas against Iranian troops, of genocide against the Kurds and of massacring tens of thousands to end the 1991 uprising after his defeat in the Gulf War. The problem for the Bush administration with these other, far graver charges, is that the Americans are implicated in them either through acts of commission or omission.
The saga of Dujail began, as the BBC explained recently, with Hussein’s visit to the mixed Shiite and Sunni town north of Baghdad in summer of 1982. Many of the young men in Dujail were conscripts fighting at the front against Khomeini’s Islamic Republic of Iran, which Hussein had invaded in 1980. Hussein appears to have gone there to drum up support for his war, which had quickly become a costly and dangerous quagmire. Worse, many Iraqi Shiites were members of the fundamentalist Dawa Party. They were willing to fight Iran to stop it from taking over Iraq, but they hated Hussein, who had made membership in their party a capital crime. As Hussein was leaving Dujail, Shiite assassins tried to kill him.


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