Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ramsey Clark: From shaking hands with Ayatollah Khomeini to defending Saddam Hussein

Ramsey Clark, US Attorney General under president Lyndon B. Johnson who once shocked the world by rushing to meet and shake hands with Ayatollah Khomeini in January 1979 and later made a habit of it by giving legal council and advice to such notorious figures as Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Yugoslavia and an accused war criminal, is now, as Christopher Hitchens puts it, 'sticking up for' Saddam Hussein.

Hitchens's reaction to Clark's response to the first charge brought against Saddam is quite an interesting read. Hitchens quotes Clark who in a recent BBC interview and in response to the first charge brought against Saddam--the massacre of Shiite town of Dujail--said: "He (Saddam) had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt."

Now note how Hitchens beautifully puts Clark's response in perspective:

Just go back and read that again. Ramsey Clark believes that A) the massacre and torture did occur and B) that it was ordered by his client and C) that he was justified in ordering it and carrying it out. That is quite sufficiently breathtaking. It is no lessbreathtaking when one recalls why Saddam "had this huge war going on." He had, after all, ordered a full-scale invasion of the oil-bearing Iranian region of Khuzestan and attempted to redraw the frontiers in Iraq's favor. Most experts accept a figure of about a million and a half as the number of young Iranians and Iraqis who lost their lives in consequence of this aggression (which incidentally enjoyed the approval of that Nobel Peace laureate Jimmy Carter). And Ramsey Clark says that the aggression is an additional reason to justify the massacre at Dujail.
Be sure to read Hitchens's whole article here.