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This columnist has very little credibility as far as I'm concerned. See this article for some sanctions denial: http://www.wadinet.de/News/archiv/iraq/nw380_aaronovitch.htm This latest column is simply an attempt to undermine the antiwar movement in general and Matt Barr in particular. On 8 Jan 2003 at 4:06, IRAQI wrote: > A few inconvenient facts about Saddam > > David Aaronovitch > Wednesday January 8, 2003 > The Guardian > > Matt Barr is 21, the same age that I was the > year the Vietnam war ended, and the last > disgraced vestiges of American intervention were > airlifted over the rooftops of Saigon. In the > next few months, if the war against Iraq looks > like going ahead, Matt plans to be part of a > human shield protecting potential civilian > targets. He is braver than I was at his age. I > never offered to stand outside the central > station in Hanoi as the B52s approached. > The idea is to "show solidarity" with the Iraqi > people, who he visited in December 2001. "The > people of Iraq are as human as we are," said > Matt, "and yet many would die" if there were a > war. > > I saw Matt the other night on telly, and he's a > lovely looking bloke from Sussex, with long > plaited hair, who plays the electric guitar. But > he has a problem that the Vietnam generation of > protesters never had. Most of us were happy to > see the National Liberation Front win out in > Vietnam, and - whether we were right or wrong - > thought Vietnam would be a better place if they > did. We had wispy-bearded Uncle Ho. Matt, on the > other hand, has Saddam Hussein. > > He tries not to have him. Last spring, in the > Winstanley lecture theatre in Trinity College > Cambridge, Matt gave an illustrated talk about > how the Iraqi people had suffered under UN > sanctions. He used slides showing how downward > infant mortality trends had been interrupted > since the Gulf war. Then he talked about > ordinary Iraqis and showed a slide of Baghdad at > dawn. "Baghdad," he said, "is probably the most > peaceful, mellow place I've ever been in my > life. Everybody is so laid-back it's > unbelievable." > > He was right. It was unbelievable. According to > Amnesty the regime was busily torturing and > executing various enemies, real and imagined. > Eyes were being gouged, genitals zapped, tongues > ripped out and heads cut off. The torture of > political detainees, said Amnesty "generally > takes place in the headquarters of the General > Security Directorate in Baghdad or in its > branches in Baghdad. Torture also takes place in > the headquarters of the General Intelligence (al- > Mukhabarat al-'Amma) in al-Hakimiya in Baghdad." > > Also in mellow Baghdad, shortly before Matt's > visit, the assassination (almost certainly by > the regime) of a Shia leader and his two sons > had led to riots in the Saddam City suburb, in > which 100 people were killed. In October 2000 a > woman obstetrician was beheaded in the capital > on charges of prostitution, though Amnesty notes > that the real reason may have been her criticism > of corruption within the Iraqi health services. > This was followed by the decapitation of dozens > of women - suspected prostitutes - without any > judicial process. Amnesty reports that members > of Feda'iyye Saddam, the Saddam militia, "used > swords to execute the victims in front of their > homes", mostly in laid-back Baghdad. > > Incidentally, this militia was recently invoked > by the Labour MP, George Galloway. "You know," > he told IraqJournal.org somewhat jauntily, "the > Iraqi youth are not less than the Palestinian > youth, who are facing the Israeli occupation > forces every day. And ultimately they'll have > their bodies as weapons, just like in Palestine. > The Saddam militia, which is several million > strong, are the suicide bombers of tomorrow > against the occupation forces." > > Perhaps. But it is one thing to behead unarmed > women in front of their appalled neighbours, and > quite another to explode yourself in the middle > of a column of marines. And that raises a second > problem for those of us who do not want war, but > who loathe the Iraqi government. The "Iraqi > people" are constantly referred to by anti-war > campaigners - but without any obvious > consideration of what the Iraqi people > themselves want. If I were an Iraqi, living > under probably the most violent and repressive > regime in the world, I would desire Saddam's > demise more than anything else. Or do we suppose > that some nations and races cannot somehow cope > with freedom? > > In Cambridge, when he had finished his talk, > Matt was finally asked about Saddam's > government. "The situation in Iraq," he > said, "is bizarre, because when Iraq was > committing its human rights violations they were > being economically supported by the US and the > UK ... So the first thing is you have got to get > in there straight away - as soon as you hear > about a violation you have got to sort it out." > > I agree with that. The logic of which is that > the invasion should have happened long ago. But, > as someone who has opposed Saddam for more than > 20 years, I have to say that this all cuts both > ways. Where, after all, was the left movement > against Saddam? Where was solidarity with the > Iraqi people then? Who dared go to Baghdad? > > · David Aaronovitch will write in G2 every > Wednesday. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk