The Trial of Saddam

Revolutionary Worker #1224, December 28, 2003, posted at

President Bush quickly called for Saddam Hussein's execution--and he predictably got an amen from among the Democratic presidential candidates. General Wesley Clark said, "All punishments should be on the table." Senator Joe Lieberman said if no one else executes Saddam Hussein, "he should be brought before an American military tribunal and face death."

Today, in post-9/11 America, it is now common for government officials to declare captives guilty before there are charges, and announce penalties before there are trials.

Bush added that before execution there should be a trial conducted by Iraqis--meaning a trial controlled by those Iraqis controlled by the U.S.

This plan to try Saddam Hussein in an Iraqi court was immediately denounced, especially by European governments who urged that Saddam Hussein be tried by an international tribunal. The European imperialists said any Iraqi trial would be seen by the world as a crude instrument of U.S. occupation. This was their way of also opposing unilateral U.S. plans to impose a new Iraqi government. And it is their way of restating their demand that they--meaning the European powers--get some bigger share of the power and spoils in Iraq.

Some prominent spokesmen of the U.S. ruling class noted that such an international tribunal might expose embarrassing facts about the close involvement of the U.S. government (including the Bush family and Donald Rumsfeld) in notorious crimes of Saddam Hussein. And this may be exactly what some forces in the world have in mind.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called for a tribunal that would "put the truth on the table." Iran's government said Saddam should be charged for the 1980s Iran-Iraq war--when he was a close U.S. ally and used poison gas against Iranian troops with U.S. help. Former UN inspector Hans Blix said there should be investigations into whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when his country was invaded by the U.S.

The U.S. government is just as determined that any future trial not dig into any of these details-- because they are quite aware that Saddam could "spill the beans" on their own role in this region. And they are aware that the facts would show Bush and Powell were lying to justify invading Iraq.

There will be no justice for the people in any trial or punishment of Saddam Hussein under U.S. direction. He has not fallen into the hands of the oppressed -- like Mussolini did in Italy or the Tsar did in Russia.

Any future U.S.-controlled trial will be used to serve as a way of legitimizing the occupation and a new government of oppressors. And the instant global debate over his trial is a new way for the various imperialists to squabble over who will now get to dominate Iraq, its resources and its future government