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Le Mont de Sisyphe
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Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Je suis beau et intelligent. À part cela, je suis juriste helvète, libéral-conservateur, amateur d'armes, passionné d'histoire et de politique. Je suis libéral et capitaliste convaincu car je pense que c'est cela l'état naturel de l'homme. Je parle le "Schwiizerdütsch" avec un accent zurichois, j'adore la bonne musique, la bière et surtout la femme avec qui je vis.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Why it was right to invade Iraq

A few days after Le blog du chatborgne spoke of it, I found a link at LGF to an english speaking review of Le Livre Noir de Saddam Hussein (The black book of Saddam Hussein). This book is a reminder of what Saddam Hussein's regime internally really was: one of the bloodiest and most perfect totalitarian regimes of the 20th century (see below).

The facts enounced are in the end nothing less than an accusation against all those who, opposing the operation "Iraqi Freedom", virtually wanted Saddam to stay in power - and thus accepted that he would continue to rape, to kidnap, to torture, to steal, to abuse and to kill iraqi men, women and children. We shouldn't forget why this all finally stopped: Because George W. Bush had guts enough to bring it to an end. Otherwise, Saddam's executioners would stil be ravaging across the country.

Of course, the U.S.-led coalition did make mistakes. Their handling of the situation in the wake of the fall of Baghdad has been catastrophic. But this doesn't alter the fact that it was the coalition who eliminated this regime which would have otherwise persisted, maybe for decades. Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay would have been glad to pursue their father's bloody legacy.

This is leaving aside all the international factors that had to lead to a regime change. Some of Bush's critics of course accuse him of cheating on the "international community" about iraqi WMD. But this is in fact a totally misled discussion: First, everybody believed there were WMD and it would have been easy for Saddam to prove they were destroyed. Second, you'd never attack a harmless country only because it is possessing WMD. Saddam's Iraq was in no way a harmless country. And third, it is not the excuse you give to an action, but it is only its result that is counting. Focussing on the coalition's motives is a proof of the real weakness of any counter-arguments.

On this occasion, I don't want to miss to draw my fellow readers' attention to this article that Democratic (!) senator Joe Lieberman wrote in the Wall Street Journal on the progress and the absolute necessity to keep U.S. troops there until the Iraqis are able to take over the struggle for a free Iraq.

But let's get back to the book I mentionned in the beginning. For french speaking readers, via Le blog du chatborgne:
« La première arme de destruction massive, ce fut Saddam Hussein » nous rappelle Bernard Kouchner en introduction du « Livre noir de Saddam Hussein ».

200.000 chiites sont massacrés lors du soulèvement de 1991, 500.000 kurdes sont éliminés suite à la politique génocidaire du tyran. Saddam Hussein est également responsable de plus de 200.000 disparitions forcées, sans compter le nombre de morts dus aux guerres contre l’Iran et le Koweït.

Le régime irakien est aussi à l’origine de 4 millions de réfugiés ! Le bilan est accablant. Lorsque l’on sait que 33% des français souhaitaient la victoire de Saddam Hussein en 2003, on perçoit l’ampleur de l’ignorance et de l’abrutissement idéologique d’une partie de nos concitoyens.

And via the Weekly Australian:
The writers - Arabs, Americans, Germans, French and Iranian - have produced the most comprehensive work to date on the former Iraqi president's war crimes, assembling a mass of evidence that makes the anti-intervention arguments redundant.

"The first weapon of mass destruction was Saddam Hussein," writes Bernard Kouchner, who has been observing atrocities in Iraq since he led the first Medecins Sans Frontieres mission there in 1974. (Note: Bernard Kouchner has also been a french minister - of the socialist party...) (...)

Sinje Caren Stoyke, a German archeologist and president of Archeologists for Human Rights, catalogues 288 mass graves, a list that is already out of date with the discovery of fresh sites every week.

"There is no secret about these mass graves," Stoyke writes. "Military convoys crossed towns, full of civilian prisoners, and returned empty. People living near execution sites heard the cries of men, women and children. They heard shots followed by silence."

Stoyke estimates one million people are missing in Iraq, presumed dead, leaving families with the dreadful task of finding and identifying the remains of their loved ones.

Abdullah Mohammed Hussein was a soldier fighting in the mountains when Iraqi troops took the Kurdish village of Sedar and deported three-quarters of the inhabitants, including his mother, his wife and their seven children. They were taken to a concentration camp at Topzawa and from there some were taken to an execution ground near the archeological site of Hatra, south of Mosul. The remains of 192 people have been found, 123 women and children and 69 men, among them Abdullah's wife and three of their children. There is no trace of his mother and the other four children. They were victims of the genocidal Anfal campaign, which sought to exterminate the Kurds.

Between February and September 1988, 100,000 to 180,000 Kurds died or disappeared. The bombing of the Kurdish village of Halabja with chemical weapons including mustard gas, tabun, sarin and VX on March 16, 1988, which killed 3000 to 5000 civilians, was the most publicised of these atrocities because it occurred near the Iranian border and Iranian troops were able to penetrate with the assistance of Kurds, filming and photographing the victims.

Halabja was not an isolated case however. Saddam used chemical weapons at least 60 times against Kurdish villages during Anfal. (...)

Abdoul Hadi al-Hakim, a Shi'ite, was arrested with 90 members of his family on May 10, 1983, and was detained for eight years without being charged or tried. (...) [He] says: "The worst moments? It was all terrible, but the worst was the fear of being executed. Each time we heard the lock turn we were silent; it could be the moment to leave, for me, for another. I am angry with those who mix the crimes of the Americans with those of Saddam when they are not comparable."

The repression of the Shi'ites included the forced deportation of Iraqi Shi'ites into Iran, which started when the Baathists seized power. At least 40,000 were deported in a first wave in 1969-71 and a second wave of at least 60,000 were deported nine years later. Deportations continued throughout the 1980s. At the time of the fall of Saddam, 200,000 Iraqis were living in Iran, one-quarter Kurds and three-quarters Arab Shi'ites. Of these exiles, 50,000 were living in refugee camps in great poverty. (...)

The brutal repression of the Shi'ite uprising after the 1991 Gulf War resulted in another 300,000 deaths, most of them civilians. (...)

Everyone was targeted, including women and children. Torture was systematically used to secure confessions including beating, burning, ripping out finger nails, rape, electric shocks, acid baths and deprivation of sleep, food or water.

Then there were the victims of Saddam's three devastating wars. It is estimated that more than one million people in both countries died during the Iran-Iraq conflict which has been compared by Kutschera (note: the books editor) to World WarI with its trench warfare and colossal loss of human life. The enormous cost of the Iran-Iraq war inspired Saddam to invade Kuwait to seize its assets and Saddam's refusal to comply with the UN resolutions obliging him to disarm finally led to Iraq's invasion and his downfall. (...)

Kouchner, who was France's health minister until he was picked by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan as his special representative for Kosovo, had hoped that a united international community might be able to bring down Saddam in the way that resolute action by the international community liberated that country. He felt bitterly ashamed when the French veto in the Security Council divided the international community and made it impossible to bring about a united front to bring down the dictator. "Was there a worse way of duping those who hoped for so much from us?" he writes. (...)

Determined to keep Saddam in power, the French never once denounced the dictator. Yet far from preventing war, the French veto in the Security Council facilitated it. In the absence of a UN resolution authorising force against Saddam, the only possibility was a US-led coalition. (...)

Far from glossing over the difficulties in rebuilding Iraq, the book documents the extent to which this was inevitable after 35 years of a brutal dictatorship in which Saddam ruthlessly eliminated civil structures, political opponents and those within his party he viewed as a threat.

The repressive system put in place by Saddam was impregnable from within. There was no democratic solution to Saddam's dictatorship.: no popular movement, no insurrection could have overthrown him, as the Kurds and Shi'ites found out through bloody experience.

"The American war was perhaps not a good solution for getting rid of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. But, as this book shows, after 35 years of a dictatorship of exceptional violence, which has destroyed Iraqi civil society and created millions of victims, there wasn't a good solution," Kutschera writes.
What does all this tell us? It's easy: The longer you leave a tyrant in power who is seriously threatening and aggressing both his own people and his neighbours, the harder it will be to get rid of him. But the confrontation remains inevitable, whatever you might wish.

Does this maybe remind you of anything?


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