The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 January 2007

Saddam's Mass Graves, Young Turks, Air America Radio


With Crazy 'Reasoning', Libtalker Tops Them All

In the hours after Saddam Hussein's weekend execution, American liberals seemed to be competing with one another to see who could make the silliest denunciation of the Iraqi government's action.

With so many dueling hand- wringing sessions, each trying to stand out in the crowd, it took one of liberal talk radio's "Young Turks" to push beyond the limits of what one might find even remotely credible.

For a good New Year's Day chuckle, get a load of this one:

Cenk Uygur

Where Were the Mass Graves?

As I watched nonstop coverage of Saddam's Death Watch, I was told over and over that this was a heinous mass murderer. There were mass graves. That up to 300,000 people were killed during his reign.

Then they told us what he was actually convicted for -- 148 dead in Dujail. That's a terrible crime.

But there's at least that amount of people killed every two days in Iraq now.

Now, I looked into the mass grave claims and the US government found graves that contained hundreds of bodies in some places. And prosecutors claimed that Saddam gassed 5,000 Kurds in Northern Iraq.

This hardly adds up to 300,000 killed. I am not saying that he didn't kill that many, I just don't know why we didn't do our homework and convict him all of his crimes. As Robert Jackson, the lead prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials famously said, "We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow."

We need history on our side on this one. Remember we invaded the whole country and turned it upside down because Saddam was such a bad guy. It would have been nice to prove how bad. I don't know why the trial seemed so rushed and third rate. Actually, I do know why. It's because Iraq is a complete mess and this whole fiasco is being run by the same incompetents who have screwed everything else up.

Please spare me the nonsense about how the Iraqis are a sovereign government and they were running the trial and we had nothing to do with it. Saddam did cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people when he started a war with Iran. That didn't get brought up much in the trial.

I am sure the fact that United States supported him in that war and Don Rumsfeld sold him weapons to use in that war was not a factor at all as to why that was not emphasized in his trial ... run by the Iraqis. Remember starting a war of aggression is the highest war crime. And Saddam clearly started one with Iran, let alone Kuwait. But then we're not in a very good position to talk about wars of aggression anymore.

The hotel I'm staying at today only has Fox News Channel (Dick Cheney must stay here when he's in town). So, first I was subjected to the inane chatter of Sean Hannity claiming this might turn things around in Iraq. That our troops were very happy about the execution of Saddam and that it was really going to help their morale. The Vulcan mind meld he did with them must have proved this.

As usual, there were two lackey former colonels on the air to parrot everything Hannity said right back at him, "Yes Sean, our troops our ecstatic that this man will be hung. Yes, things are probably going to get much better now."

Then Greta had one of Saddam's lawyers on, and he clobbered her. She said that Saddam had been convicted of killing the 148 people in Dujail and prosecutors had information about another 5,000 Kurds killed. First, he said some completely unconvincing nonsense about how some of the dead people in Dujail were still alive. But then he made a fair point that Saddam was never convicted of the crimes against the Kurds and that now we would never truly know.

When Greta said those are some tremendous numbers referring again to the two incidents of 148 and 5,000 killed, the lawyer responded that those numbers were not nearly as tremendous as the 750,000 Iraqis killed since the US invasion. Ouch.

Uygur's logic is so faulty here that it's no wonder we haven't seen other "progressives" attempt this line of "reasoning".

While it might seem obvious, let's make the point anyway: is Cenk really attempting to suggest that Saddam's body count might be inflated? And why would it have been necessary to prosecute Hussein for every murder he ever ordered, does he think that 5000 is too insignificant to justify a prosecution?

If so, we should free Charles Manson, the Green River killer and others at once, as they look like petty criminals next to Saddam Hussein. And if there were additional murders that we haven't yet been able to pin on them, then why didn't prosecutors wait until all of the evidence was in?

As for the mass graves, the Iraqi people will be digging them up for the next 50 years or more. And look at what a former government official has to say about Saddam's antics:

“My feeling is that it’s about time that justice came down. I personally am against capital punishment, but there is an issue with ethnic cleansing, there’s mass graves, there’s persecution on a grand scale. He’s not a common criminal.

“I was a government official from 1970 to 1980. Saddam was a strong vice president. Everybody feared him.

In official meetings I had the chance to see him. He inspired awe. He inspired fear.

He was the master manipulator. The master of the carrot and the stick. Those he could not buy, he would just execute.

“For instance a doctor from Tikrit, Raji al-Tikrit, he was executed by launching on him wild dogs. (Saddam) used to behead women that were accused of being prostitutes and leave their bodies without their heads in front of their families’ homes.

“Or somebody would get executed and he would demand the bullet back from his family. . . . He used to publicize that to inspire fear. You know (the novel) ‘1984.’ Iraq is a dramatization of ‘1984.’ He was the Big Brother.

Where Uygur could have made a credible point would have been to argue that keeping him alive longer might have led to more information about past crimes that he has now taken to the grave. We know now the US government has made that very assertion, but the Iraqi leadership had other ideas. It was their call to make.

Worse, contrasting Saddam's crimes with the "750,000" supposedly killed since the US invasion is beyond foolish, since it attempts to turn this into a mere numbers game, rather than a question of justice. If Hussein ordered just one of his citizens murdered each day, it would have been too many.

By contrast, any suggestion that coalition forces are responsible for 750,000 deaths isn't going to hold up to scrutiny. Funny, because isn't that what he's arguing about Saddam's trial, that the prosecution didn't dig up as much evidence as it should have?

And if there's any reason why the trial might have been "rushed", it's because the Iraqi people were still fearful Saddam could return to power at any moment. Only his death could remove that widespread sentiment and allow its people to move forward.

Apparently, Uygur holds himself to a lower standard than what he expects of others, particularly when it's time to play partisan politics.

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Technorati tags:

Basra family watching hanging: NYT via AP, Saddam trial: AP, Anwar Diab photo: David Goldman, Boston Herald, lower left Saddam montage: al-Reuters


  • Near as I can find, Sandra Hodgkinson (You don't credit her. How come?) is the one who came up with the figure of 300,000. Here's how Sandra Hodgkinson described her "methodology" in coming up with that number:

    “When they [Iraqis] want to come in and tell their story to somebody,” Hodgkinson said, “we allow them to sit down in an office and talk about what happened, or we give them a Summary of Past Abuse form that they can fill out.”

    Using a methodology that was at least as "professional" as the "stories" Sandra used to multiply her figures, the Lancet came out with 100,000 Iraqis killed since our invasion in 2003.

    The Lancet's death toll was scoffed at by the likes of you and, yet, you swallow whole any gilding of Saddam's creepy lily by people you think are more patriotic than the rest of us. How come? You don't have any facts. You just repeat something you heard once.

    Let's just change the subject to something you can understand:

    There was an Army nurse who took care of Saddam while he was held by us and this is from a few different sources...

    "Saddam shared with Ellis happier times, when his children were young: how he told them bedtime stories and how he would give his daughter half a TUMS when she complained of a stomach ache."

    I bet GlaxoSmithKline is real proud of that. Like they say , there is no bad publicity. Hurray for democracy and free advertising.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 January, 2007 16:43  

  • Are the Young Turks progressives to begin with?

    Or just dyed-in-the-wool Rethugs either (#1-cynical view) jumping on the "progressive bandwagon"?

    Or (#2-charitable view) simply driven from the Rethug party by neocon extremism to the most moderate flavor of the moderate Democratic blogosphere?

    Do your homework, please. None of their pedigrees are classified information.

    If you're gonna slam "progressives", try finding a real one, at least...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 01 January, 2007 20:54  

  • It's very strange. Maloney, you attack Uygur for using no logic. But, in fact, your attack on his post is just invective, just name-calling. He's the one who uses logic, not you. All you have to do is read the very post that you have quoted. You just name call and appeal to right-wing commonplaces. There is no logic or argumentation in your commentary--just finger pointing. Is it possible that you really aren't capable of reasoned argument?

    I do hope you're getting something in terms of monetary rewards for all this from right-wing sources, because, otherwise, this sort of whorish behavior would be completely shameful.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 02 January, 2007 01:09  

  • Maloney

    Nobody is buying the right wing ghoulish celebration over a hanging. Saddam's hanging does not mean Iraq is OVER. Only in the sick, parallel universe of right wing talking points is this a cause for celebration.
    The killing of 500,000 marsh arabs, who Saddam supposedly cut the water supply off and killed was NEVER investigated, nor was he charged.
    When someone is executed, justice is served best when all of the CRIMES are laid to rest, the GASSING of the KURDS, was ignored as well!!!!!
    wonder why??? Mmmmmmmmm, something to do with who sold him the nerve gas???????????? Anyone with a slight grip on the issues would be saying these same things, critics are saying.
    Last point, we did not spread a Western style democracy as advertised either, we propped up a radical Islamic goverment as evidenced by the cheers of Al Sadar while he was hung. Nobody on Fox news mentioned the cheers of Al Sadar, we went from dictatorship to Islamic theocracy.
    America just is too smart for the stoy-book crap right wing media is trying to toss into the public.
    don't even try to mention the military times poll on Bush, taken by soldiers. Not looking pretty. Keep listening to right wing media for complete dismissal of reality
    "more reality...less oxycotin

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 02 January, 2007 09:17  

  • Human Rights Watch says that under Saddam approximately 400,000 children under the age of 12 died from preventable diseases in Iraq. This is largely due to the Oil for Food scam but also because Saddam didn't give a fig about his own people.

    By Blogger Amy P, at 02 January, 2007 22:26  

  • Actually, evil lib, the US is incapable of setting up a Western style democracy in Iraq and that was never our goal. A few days ago our goal was complete; the disposition of Saddam Hussein.

    We have not, however, set up a "radical Islamic government as evidenced by cheers of Al Sadar (Al Sadr)". I would say this: the vast majority of Iraq had been victimized by a minority Sunni leadership compliments of Saddam for decades. Particularly in an Islamic country where social justice (in Islam) is a cornerstone, would you expect the majority Shia to wear black mourning clothes? Every Shia should be happy. Every Iraqi Christian who was victimized by Saddam should be happy. Every Arab, every Persian in Iraq, every Kurd... the only ones displeased are the 25% of Sunnis who remain in Iraq. I guess it's tough to have it good for so long. That stinks for them.

    Liberals used to call the government in Iraq a puppet government of George W. Bush. Now they complain that Iraq isn't a puppet government resembling the US. So which is it?

    By Blogger Amy P, at 02 January, 2007 22:39  

  • How many children have been killed under George W. Bush overseas, Amy?

    What about since the Bush Crime Family, under Pappy Bush, took control?

    How many since the onslaught of Reagan?

    I'm not saying you shouldn't feel for the children Saddam killed, Amy. I'm saying, we have to keep it in perspective of our own war crimes in the region, and the mentality that encourages the slaughter to continue.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 02 January, 2007 22:42  

  • Amy wrote:
    "This is largely due to the Oil for Food scam"

    How did the oil for food program lead to the deaths of 400,000 kids? I'm not saying you're wrong, Amy; I just don't get it. Wasn't it the sanctions (and, admittedly, Hussein's recalcitrance) that led to those deaths? How could "oil for food" lead to those deaths?

    And this who "oil for food scam" is a crock. The U.S. approved of every contract. If there was malfeasance (and I don't know how much of that there was), the U.S. could have stopped it any time. This is just a right-wing fake scandal, like Whitewater, to snow the gullible public.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 02 January, 2007 23:16  

  • Oh, and Happy New Year, Hashfanatic, Elmonica, and others (including Brian Maloney).

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 02 January, 2007 23:19  

  • Metro,

    You must only listen to AAR. By the way, who is AAR scaming to get funds to stay on the air now?

    But to the point of your misinformation on the Oil For Food Scandal, Saddam used oil vouchers to BRIBE UN Officials and kin (most notably Kofi Annan's son) along with many officials in Russia, France, and other countries caught cheating on the sanctions. But you wouldn't know that listening to Libtalk radio.

    By Blogger PCD, at 03 January, 2007 07:45  

  • hash,

    Do you hate America more when the DEA does its job and stops another load of hashish from reaching MADison?

    By Blogger PCD, at 03 January, 2007 08:41  

  • If the DEA did its job, the drugs (not to mention half the illegal aliens) we have wouldn't be here in the first place!

    But you support your government's crookedness in this regard anyway....

    You DUMBASS, I've never been within a mile of hashish, nor ever set foot in Wisconsin....chalk your last contribution to your own unbridled wingnuttery and go back to packing fudge....

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 03 January, 2007 09:41  

  • PCD, your facts are wrong.

    Kofi Annan and his administration did only what a review board, whose membership included the United States, told them to do. The United States and other members of the board had full access to the contracts that have proven so scandalous. And the United States actually approved of the policy that made up for most of the questionable deals, a policy not to interfere with Jordan's trade with Iraq.

    Kofi Annan was never found guilty of any wrong-doing. One might argue that he should have supervised better as an administrator (I believe that one or two U.N. administrators under him may have been corrupt, but they acted agains U.N. policy), but the sums involved are miniscule in comparison to, say, the sums lost to poor adminstration in the U.S. occupation of Iraq (where, incidentally, the lost money has far greater chances of winding up in the hands of those actively hostile to the U.S.)

    As I said, this is a made-up scandal meant to confuse the poorly informed such as yourself.
    Kofi Annan was, if anything set up by a cynical U.S. administration which disliked him for opposing the illegal invasion of Iraq. He was in a weakened position, hardly one to challenge the U.S. policies that led to the oil-for-food scandal if he had known to or wanted to, and then the U.S. blamed him for it. You're just falling for another right-wing big-lie smear campaign. Open your eyes.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 03 January, 2007 10:48  

  • Metro,

    The UN like AAR is corrupt, and lefties like yourself will deny any and all proof, URLs, and convictions in your delusional world.

    Annan's son got caught being bribed. You deny that? How many elected officials of Russia, France, one UK maverick, and Germans that turn up with Saddam's oil vouchers will it take for you to admit you are very wrong.

    By Blogger PCD, at 04 January, 2007 08:52  

  • PCD, you're changing the topic because you have no facts to back you up.

    How was Kofi Annan guilty in the oil for food scandal? He wasn't found guilty of anything by the commission headed by Paul Volker, a real live Republican on your team. That's a fact.

    You know who's corrupt? Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff. That is being determined by courts of law. That's corruption.

    You know who lies? The current administration: about Social Security, Medicare, Iraq, and everything else. After all those lies, there is not a thing that I can believe that comes from these shameless Republicans. If they accuse someone of wrong-doing, I have no trust in their accusation. They are without credit among large numbers, probably the majority, here in the United States. Abroad, where I prefer to spend my time, no one believes their crap. And those who support it are hypocritically playing politics. Again, this will become clearer and clearer as the Congress investigates over the following months.

    How is AAR corrupt? What are the specific charges? In what court has this been determined? I know that there is some stuff about some Boys and Girsl Club. Fine. What are the specific charges? In what court has it been determined that AAR is corrupt? In fact, I think that AAR has been legally cleared yet has still gone beyond that in pursuing it's ethical duty in this matter.

    Re Kofi Annan. His son did screw up, but, in the view of justice I adhere, people are not responsible for the acts of their adult children. And Kofi Annan expressed his hurt and regret over this.

    What kills me about this whole impasse is how the lies and fantasies propagated by the Republicans are about to affect all our lives (except for the hyper-rich). The Euro is about to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency of choice thanks to six years of record-setting Republican deficits. We have squandered our reputation as a military power with this quagmire in Iraq--when Clinton left office, no one dared to challenge us. Who can we frighten now?

    You guys have so messed up. We were sitting pretty six years ago.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 05 January, 2007 01:49  

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