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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

With friends like these…

Some of the more perceptive anti-war bloggers like Jim Henley must despair when certain opponents of possible U.S. action against Iraq turn out to be little better than odious apologists for Saddam’s regime. An example of this breed is former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has been touring Iraq warning that a strike against Iraq would constitute a huge violation of international law.

Watching Britain’s Channel Four television news show last night, we were treated to an interview with this gentleman, and it had the effect of hardening my conviction that Saddam’s regime has to go. How come? Well, when asked about the reported use of chemical weapons against Kurdish villagers in the 1980s, Clark dismissed it out of hand. When asked if he thought weapons inspectors should be let into Iraq to verify whether weapons of mass destruction were being stockpiled and manufactured, he dismissed the notion, saying such inspections could never work. He claimed – without citing hard evidence – that WMDs hardly exist in Iraq and that Saddam has no desire to build them. And of course he repeated the line that economic sanctions against Iraq have led to the deaths of millions, though he declined to cite clear evidence or reflect on the fact that if Iraq is so poor, it is odd that it can afford to offer financial rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

There are perfectly honorable reasons for opposing war with Iraq, such as concerns about the aftermath of such a war, the possibility of igniting further trouble down the line, and the fact that Iraq, may not be the prime mover behind the 9/11 attacks. But when supposedly eminent folk seek to portray Saddam as some kind of misunderstood old gent who simply is the victim of hostile forces and events, then one has to smell a rat. With friends like Ramsey Clark, Saddam hardly needs enemies.

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