Impeach George W. Bush
More Journamalism from the Washington Post

Saddam Hussein, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Rumsfeld

Matthew Yglesias writes:

Matthew Yglesias / proudly eponymous since 2002: Saddam Hussein is a monster who the world will be well rid of.... [But] Saddam was charged with the wrong crime. When you think "Saddam Hussein and crimes against humanity" your thoughts naturally turn to Halabja/Anfal. Prosecuting that case, however, raised awkward questions about Don Rumsfeld's meet-and-greet.... The purpose of said visit, as people might recall were the American press not to have its head in the sand, was largely to reassure Saddam that the Reagan administration's public condemnation of Iraqi chemical weapons use against the Iranian military and Kurdish insurgents was not something Baghdad should take especially seriously. [George Shultz's] State Department would condemn, but [Ronald Reagan's] special envoy Rumsfeld was around to cut deals.... At any rate... prosecutions for further crimes, including matters related to Anfal, are now deemed unnecessary, and Rumsfeld and the rest of the Reagan national security team can escape scrutiny....

Saddam is being executed for the specific charge of killing 148 men and boys from the town of Dujail in retaliation for a July 8, 1982 assassination attempt.... Saddam's legal team argued that... this fell under the purview of sound counterinsurgency strategy and said argument was rejected.

Fair enough, but compare this to, say, Fallujah. Thirteen civilians were killed when American soldiers opened fire on protesters. This led, in turn, to the murder and mutilation of four contractors employed by the US military. This led to a retaliatory military strike on the town by US and Iraqi government forces that local doctors claimed killed over 600 people. The Iraqi health ministry disputes that, arguing that "only" 271 civilians died in the attack, during which "more than half" of the city's homes were destroyed.

The exact same as what happened at Dujail? No. A completely different sort of thing? Also no.... [And what] about the people tortured to death after the Bush administration's decision to ignore international and domestic law regarding detentions and interrogations? Which is all just to say that the Bush administration has every reason to seek to undermine international human rights law...