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11 January 2007 Edition

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The Mary Nelis Column

Mary Nelis

Mary Nelis

Saddam execution distracts from other war crimes

We are told that millions world wide watched the obscenity that was the death of Saddam Hussein. The barbaric hanging of a human being became just another episode in the global entertainment market such is the lust in this so-called civilised world for the macabre. It was hailed as another victory for the war on terror justified by governments who claim that this barbaric execution was retribution for his crimes against humanity.

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator on his home turf and elsewhere. Like all dictators, even those democratically elected, his lust and love of power was nourished by mass murders, torture and slaughter, most notably the gassing of the Kurdish people. He reigned supreme in Iraq, due to the support of the United States and Britain who supplied him not only with weapons of mass destruction but with the authority to use them in the butchery of his own people.

But as he is hanged by the neck, the butchery goes on. Some 500 Iraqis were killed in the month of December alone. That does not include those who died from their wounds or those who died because of lack of proper medical care.

The entire health infrastructure in Iraq has been decimated by sanctions imposed by the United Sates since 1991. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reported in December 1995, that more than one million Iraqis died then, some 567,000 of them children, as a direct result of US economic sanctions, in itself a war crime. Is this not a crime against humanity?

In the macabre death of one dictator it is easy to forget the other dictators albeit democratically elected, who have violated international law and the United Nations charter, by launching a war on the pretence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In the first few days of that war we saw the technological power of the real weapons of mass destruction being used against the Iraqi people.  This war’ more obscene than anything Saddam Hussein had ever done, has so far cost the lives of some 600, 000 people. We do not know how many others have died in the torture chambers of Guantanamo and the other secret prisons set up by the United States in countries too afraid to resist American and British imperialism.

Is this war not a crime against humanity as defined by the Nuremberg principles?

We are now witnessing global domination by the US, where the rest of the world only exists as collateral.

For hundreds of years this little island existed as collateral for England and its global colonial conquests. We too were brutalised, stripped of our language, our culture, our laws, and our resources. The great famine caused the deaths or the forced emigration of more than four million Irish people.

That was a crime against humanity.

The world is littered with war criminals that did not hang by the neck but are living the good life. What are we doing about them?



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