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Justice is impossible under occupation

Published Nov 6, 2006 11:05 AM

Workers World statement on the verdict against Saddam Hussein

The U.S.-machinated “trial” and the Nov. 5 guilty verdict and death sentence against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and two of his colleagues are nothing more nor less than a continued attack on the people of Iraq and all the peoples of the region threatened by U.S. imperialism. No good for the people can come from a U.S.-dictated punishment of the Iraqi president. The “trial” is a frontal attack by the conquering power on Iraqi sovereignty at a time when the 2003 U.S. conquest of Iraq is collapsing under the determined assault of Iraqi resistance fighters.

The whole conduct of the Baghdad kangaroo court was intended to justify the completely illegal and aggressive U.S.-British assault on Iraq in 2003 and their subsequent seizure of the Iraqi people’s resources, especially Iraq's oil and natural gas reserves. No one should be deceived that it has anything to do with the charges in the indictment against the Ba’athist leaders. With Washington responsible for the deaths of over 2 million Iraqis during 16 years of wars and sanctions, it should be apparent to all that the verdict has nothing to do with U.S. concern for the Iraqi people.

Even if the trial had been conducted in an impeccably fair manner in all its details, the court and the charges could not stand up as legitimate. But its conduct was far from fair. There is no legal basis for such a trial under the Geneva Conventions. The acts the prisoners were charged with did not take place as acts of war.

Three defense lawyers were among nine people associated with the trial who were assassinated. Another defense lawyer was wounded. A judge was replaced when others decided he was too soft on Saddam Hussein and gave him too much opportunity to speak in court.

Even Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program and no friend of Hussein, said of the verdict, “We don't consider it was a fair process. The court was not impartial. There were not adequate steps taken to protect the security of defense lawyers and witnesses...."

Given the obvious bias of the court, the verdict was no surprise. Nor was its timing, as the administration of President George W. Bush is presenting this news as a victory for the occupation forces and for his Iraq policy.

The timing of the verdict shows the utter subservience of the court to the most minute demands of imperialism. The timing alone should disqualify the verdict, inasmuch as it is prima facie evidence that the proceeding was closely coordinated with Bush, showing the dominant political role of Washington. It demonstrates the impossibility of there being any judicial validity behind the sentence. If Bush dictated the timing, it must be presumed that he also had a hand in the verdict.

Bush has already welcomed the verdict as a “milestone in the Iraqi people’s efforts.” He says this when the disastrous Iraq war and occupation has become a millstone around the neck of the Republican Party in its attempt to maintain control of the Congress in the midterm elections.

It should also be clear that this verdict has nothing to do with evaluating Saddam Hussein’s historic role. An extensive Workers World Party statement at the time of Hussein’s capture in December 2003 evaluated his often contradictory historic role and especially the negative impact of his government’s decision to “wage a reactionary bourgeois war of conquest against Iran.” (workers.org/ww/2004/hussein1225.php) The U.S. took advantage of that war in the 1980s to the detriment of both Iran and Iraq. At this time, too, none of the forces struggling against imperialism for sovereignty and self-determination in the Gulf region can gain from the U.S.-imposed verdict against Saddam Hussein.

While the verdict’s impact on the Iraq occupation and on the U.S. elections is still a question, there is no doubt that anyone who opposes the U.S. war on the people of the Middle East should also stand up and protest Washington’s criminal attempt to impose an illegal verdict against an individual who represented the sovereign state that U.S. imperialism is attempting to conquer.

The verdict will bring no justice to Iraq. As Workers World said in its Dec. 25, 2003, statement, “Justice for the Iraqi people will begin on the day that the war criminals in Washington are put on trial.”

Workers World, Nov. 5, 2006