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Re: [casi] A few inconvenient facts about Saddam

This columnist has very little credibility as far as I'm concerned. See this article for some
sanctions denial:

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 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

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