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Saddam Hussein's arrest won't bring democracy
Washington hypocrites

January 9, 2004 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,
The Bush administration is trying to portray Saddam Hussein's capture as a sign of victory and the confirmation that the attack on Iraq had a noble purpose--namely, the installment of a democracy in Iraq. A quick review of these two arguments indicates that neither is true.

As the U.S. military recognized in the last few months, the attacks on the U.S. military have little to do with Saddam "loyalists" and everything to do with ordinary Iraqis who see the American forces for what they are: an occupying force. For those in the West who have a hard time understanding the nature of the resistance, Samarra's U.S.-appointed police chief, Ismail Mahmoud Mohammed, put it bluntly to the Financial Times. "Were the French happy under the Nazis?" he said. "It is the same thing here."

If the Bush administration was in fact worried about bringing a "war criminal" to justice, then why are there a number of bloody criminals who enjoy U.S. protection and who have not spent sleepless nights worrying about prosecution by international courts?

Gen. Efrain Rios Montt was a darling of the Reagan administration in Guatemala. He came to power through coup in March of 1982 and ruled with a savagery that earned him the title of the "worst human right abuser" in the Western Hemisphere. He presided over the "scorched earth" policy in which thousands of indigenous Mayans were tortured, raped, killed and driven to starvation. Nowadays, Rios Montt enjoys freedom and an active political life in Guatemala, thanks to the support of the U.S.

Anastasio Somoza Portocarrero used to be the commander-in-chief of the feared Escuela de Entrenamiento Básico de Infatería (EEBI) battalions in Nicaragua during the late 1970s. The EEBI was responsible for the indiscriminate killings of civilians, rape and torture.

It was organized and trained under a program sponsored by the U.S. In 1979, when it was clear that Somoza would be defeated by a popular uprising, the Carter administration opposed the dismantling of the EEBI and the military hierarchy. Somoza Portocarrero now lives in relative peace in Guatemala overseeing "legitimate business."

Gens. Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, Jorge Videla of Argentina and Augusto Pinochet of Chile were the pillars of the U.S. "Plan Condor." Plan Condor was designed to suppress democracy in the southern cone of South America. Together, Stroessner, Videla and Pinochet were responsible for genocide, torture and rape--all committed with the blessing of the U.S.

The fact that these monsters and others have never been tried under the International Court of Justice tells us how biased "justice" is. In a nutshell, if the criminal is one sponsored by the U.S. or other Western democracies, then there is little to no chance that he will be prosecuted--let alone convicted--by any court of justice.

The only criteria for prosecution and punishment is whether the criminal has dared to turned against his bosses. For Saddam, this is his greatest crime. It is a sad reality that in this world of oppressor and oppressed, justice is another commodity for sale.

Abe Gomez, San Francisco

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