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The judges in charge of the trial of Saddam Hussein denied today that his American guards had ever beaten their most notorious prisoner, despite Saddam's numerous protestations. In what has to be a crushing blow to the New York Times, the Scotsman reports that the judge remarked that American security professionals provide the former Iraqi dictator with a standard of care far better than any ordinary Iraqi:
AN INVESTIGATIVE judge said yesterday that officials never saw evidence that Saddam Hussein was beaten in US custody, contradicting claims by the former Iraqi dictator that he was abused and "the marks are still there". ...
When the court gave the former Iraqi leader an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, Saddam instead used the time to expand on earlier assertions he had been abused in custody. He claimed that the wounds he suffered from the alleged beatings had been documented by at least two American teams.
Saddam claimed that American denials that he was beaten could not be believed, noting that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq despite Mr Bush's pre-war claims that Saddam was harbouring such weapons. ...
But Raid al-Juhi, the investigative judge who prepared the case against Saddam and forwarded it to the trial court in July, said that neither the defendants nor their lawyers had ever complained about beatings. Officials also did not see any signs of beatings, Mr Juhi said. "The defendants receive complete and very good health care by the authorities in charge of the detention. No ordinary Iraqi receives this kind of care," he added.
I know that the NYT wanted to make Saddam's beating yet another "scoop" with which to paint the entire American war effort as one atrocity after another, but I think even Bill Keller knows that beating Saddam wouldn't exactly rate high on the American outrage meter. However, the effort of the Iraqi judges to answer Saddam's false allegations about the professionalism of our troops does help in countering the negativism and defeatism coming from the American media these days.
I'm being a bit sarcastic about the NYT, but in general, Saddam is making a mistake about antagonizing his guards. The troops selected for this duty will undoubtedly have been chosen for their professionalism and their ability to keep their heads despite any antagonism from their captives. However, if Saddam gets desperate enough to want to make an exit like Hermann Goering instead of Joachim von Ribbentrop, he might do better to emulate Goering's greasy seduction of his guard detail. All his accusations do is ensure that the Americans remain motivated to keep him nice and healthy in order to face whatever fate the Iraqis have in mind, and self-termination by cyanide capsule likely won't be the sentence.Sphere It View blog reactions
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