Sunday, August 01, 2004
A new line of attack against the regime change in Iraq being deployed increasingly is to downplay or deny Saddam's crimes. To this Christopher Hitchens has a stern rebuke:
Sure, he says breezily: "Saddam gassed the Kurds. Yes, an unknown number of Iraqi citizens were tortured and slaughtered." But that -- with its casually "unknown number" -- apparently counts only against today's regime-change because Iraq was then being backed by Washington. (I interrupt myself to ask whether or not one might approve of Washington's change of policy here?)
. . .
Well, I am no friend of sanctimony. But when I stood on the mass grave at Hilla, near Babylon, about a year ago, I was upset not just by the huge number of cadavers, which by the way ran into the thousands. I was upset by the relatives who'd had to wait a decade to inspect the place, and who had found that the water table had washed a lot of the bodies away. A possible shred of clothing, or fragment of an identity card, is not much consolation in these circumstances. Indeed, many of the relatives had acted against their own interests, here as elsewhere, by rushing to the site as soon as the murderer had fallen, and by digging with their bare hands.