Thursday, July 01, 2004
I had my eyes wide open while watching Saddam Hussein in front of an Iraqi judge. What happened today resembled an earthquake in this country and in the region. For the very first time in history, Arabs are going judge their own rulers. This is unprecedented.
The judge looked very balanced and professional. Saddam was in an OK state but definitely not the god he was a year ago. I just can't believe it, an Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein, wow. We'll have to wait and see how things turn out to be. I still prefer that he be sentenced when an elected government takes place. I believe this will be the case because an Iraqi official said that the trial will not take place until 2005.
One of the most profound words I heard was from the judge. Saddam referred to Kuwaitis as "dogs" when he commented on his invasion of Kuwait. The judge firmly told him "that this is a court and any indecent words are unacceptable." Wow, an Iraqi actually told those words to Saddam. Then a simple policeman went and slowly pulled Saddam from his arms when the hearing ended.
The Arab media, including Al Jazerah that actually took financial assistance from Saddam, seemed totally surprised. They kept on interviewing Arab "law experts" who said that this court is not legal because the country is under occupation. A team of 500 lawyers and experts volunteered to defend Saddam. Most of them are Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians, a French and an American lawyer are with the team. I think the American lawyer is the Jewish orthodox lawyer Stephen Cohen who said right after 911 that he is looking forward to defend Osama Bin Laden. Cohen was Omar Abdul Rahman's (the mastermind of the 1994 WTC bombing) attorney. The French lawyer is also known for defending the Pol Pot and Carlos the terrorist. Anyway, this team did not come together to defend Saddam Hussein per se or to defend justice. Anti-Americanism was what brought them together. They will turn the trial into a blame-America-for-everything political show. That's sad. To them, anti-Americanism is thicker than the blood of thousands of Iraqis whom Saddam killed and tortured.
Anyway, Saddam does deserve a fair trial and it is his right to appoint any lawyer he chooses.