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Date: March 28, 2012
Time: 11:44 AM
GregM, thanks for brgniing up the case of Saddam Hussein Al-Tikriti, which actually proves the point I was making about the partiality of the law just as good an example as that of GW Bush. Saddam was indeed a dictator and not in practice subject to Iraqi law (this is part of the definition of dictatorship really). There was no way he could've been tried there for his war crimes against Iran, or against Iraqi Kurds, communists, Islamists, etc. And if Mr Zaidi had dared to assault him while he was the Iraqi president he'd certainly have copped something worse than the severe beatings and several months of imprisonment he got for his assault on Bush.Yet Saddam Hussein was eventually brought before a tribunal, tried and convicted of war crimes, and hanged, something which would've been inconceivable at the time the crimes were committed. How did this come about? Because Saddam had made the mistake of falling out with the US over Kuwait. Prior to that debacle, Saddam had been backed by the US right through the war with Iran they were enthusiastic supporters, irrespective of Saddam's crimes that they were well aware of and did nothing about. Saddam was not brought to justice because international law is an effective way to bring about international justice. Not at all. He got his beans because the US government decided to eliminate his regime, because he was no longer a reliable ally (or servant , more accurately; let's not exaggerate his importance). Am I being too cynical or realist ? Everyone knows this.Similarly, the legal justification for the NATO bombardment of Libya is weak. The idea that legalities are actually behind the attack, in any substantive way, is very weak. And the idea that is helpful to pretend that the law is more powerful than it actually is that's just as weak.