The White House has arranged to announce two days before the November 7, 2006, elections a guilty verdict for Saddam Hussein and, no doubt, plans to finally murder him. Meanwhile an appeals process is delaying until at least five days after the elections release of photos of members of the U.S. military and its contractors raping and murdering children and adults at Abu Ghraib.
While use of the death penalty is one of many American practices that much of the world views as barbaric, there can be little doubt that Saddam Hussein is guilty of major crimes stretching far beyond those he's been tried for, and including many in which the United States has been complicit.
A famous image shows Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. There's nothing wrong with shaking hands with a dictator. It's potentially far more productive than slaughtering 650,000 of his nation's people. Bush should be shaking hands and talking with the leaders of Iran and North Korea rather than threatening to destroy their countries. The trouble is that Rumsfeld wasn't meeting with Hussein in order to promote democracy. Rumsfeld was there on December 20, 1983, as a special envoy for President Ronald Reagan to assist in Iraq's efforts to kill Iranians, including through the use of chemical weapons an illegal practice that Rumsfeld has more recently used himself against civilians in Iraq, most notably in Fallujah.
For all the crimes that Saddam Hussein committed, with and without U.S. assistance or approval, it is noteworthy that there was no terrorism in the nation he controlled, not until we spent over $400 billion of our U.S. tax dollars to transform Iraq into the "central front in the War on Terror" and a training ground for a generation of terrorists.
In the course of making the world less safe for democracy, Donald Rumsfeld has overseen the slaughter of 650,000 Iraqis and 3,000 Americans. He has targeted civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances. He has used white phosphorous as a weapon on civilian families. He has used depleted uranium and a new form of napalm. (When did melting the skin off children become a family value?) He has approved the hiding of prisoners from the Red Cross, the detention of Americans and non-Americans without charge or counsel, and the use of torture. Acceptable torture techniques at Abu Ghraib were posted on the wall in a memo from Rumsfeld.
This article draws on research done by United for Peace and Justice.