Saddam's Farewell Letter: Don't Hate the U.S.

On November 5, after being convicted at trial, Saddam Hussein wrote a letter. His lawyers have confirmed its authenticity.

''I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking,'' said the letter, which was written in Arabic and translated by the AP.

''I also call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us,'' it added, referring to the invasion that toppled his regime nearly four years ago.

Saddam also referred to himself as a martyr:

Saddam said he was giving his life for his country as part of that struggle. ''Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if he wants, he will send it to heaven with the martyrs,'' he said.

As to why Saddam wrote the letter,

The deposed leader said he was writing the letter because his lawyers had told him the Iraqi High Tribunal that tried his case would give him an opportunity to say a final word.

But, they didn't.

''But that court and its chief judge did not give us the chance to say a word, and issued its verdict without explanation and read out the sentence -- dictated by the invaders -- without presenting the evidence,'' Saddam wrote.

''Dear faithful people,'' he added, ''I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any honest believer.''

Saddam should have been tried in an international tribunal. He is now in the midst of a second trial, one that will continue past his execution.

Saddam is in the midst of another trial, charged with genocide and other crimes during a 1987-88 military crackdown on Kurds in northern Iraq. An estimated 180,000 Kurds died during the operation. That trial was adjourned until Jan. 8, but experts have said the trial of Saddam's co-defendants is likely to continue even if he is executed.

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Where Should Saddam Hussein Have Been Tried
Iraqi Tribunal 13%
International Tribunal 80%
U.S. Court 0%
U.S. Military Tribunal 0%
None, There should not have been a trial 6%

Votes: 15
Results | Other Polls
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    Not Exactly What He Said (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 10:51:08 AM EST
    I don't read the letter as saying "Don't hate the U.S."  I read it as saying "Don't hate the American people," because many of them disagree with their government's policies.  Saddam cites Ramsey Clark (not by name, but referring to Americans who volunteered to help defend him in the show trials) as an example of why he draws this distinction.  On the other hand, he does condemn hatred as a motivation for action generally, so I suppose you could generalize from that.

    International Tribunal? (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jarober on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 05:46:46 PM EST
    Yeah, that worked so well for Milosevich.  His crimes were against the Iraqis, and they have the right to try him.  Your opposition to the death penalty is blinding you to that.

    and Bush? (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 05:51:07 PM EST
    His crimes were against the Iraqis, and they have the right to try him.  Your opposition to the death penalty is blinding you to that.

    Who were/are his crimes against? Are you suggesting that we send him over to Iraq as a peace offering?

    I voted for the International Tribunal... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 06:06:00 PM EST
    ...but with reservations. He would not have been captured and brought to trial had not Iraq been invaded.

    I believe the invasion was an overt and illegal aggression.

    Any trial in resulting from that is in my view illegitimate.

    I voted for the International Tribunal only because I think that under the circumstances it is probably the fairest option.

    I would have preferred to see the Iraqis overthrow and try him on their own.

    Trying Saddam in Iraq as has been done is I think equivalent to Iraq invading the US, capturing Bush, and setting up a kangaroo court to try him for his assaults on the Constitution and the deaths of American soldiers in his fictitious WOT.

    I didn't know you could spam (none / 0) (#8)
    by Deconstructionist on Sun Mar 11, 2007 at 11:47:59 AM EST
     a board like this.

      As to the question. IF Iraq had something one could consider a legitmate government with a legitimate judicial syatem, then I would say that for the charges presented an Iraqi court would be the proper forum.

      It becomes a more difficult question to answer when one finds it difficult to  accord the "Iraqi government" legitmacy.

      I have profound disdain for "international tribunals" as a  forum  for trying anyone for anything. (My reasons are far too numerous to briefly describe -- but at the most basic level I don't believe they are capable of existing and operating as anything more than a formalized expression of the balance of power and do not serve justice-- even if I might agree with a particular outcome)

     I can't construct a principled reason to make an exception for Hussein  just because I think he was  a bad guy who deserved to be held accountable and the jurisdiction in which he should have been held accountable was incapable of establishing a legitimate forum.

      I'd also oppose trying him in a U.S. civil or military forum because I think the charges he faced were beyond any acceptable assertion of U.S. jurisdiction. (this would apply to the courts of other nations as well.)

      So, I've pretty much eliminated the options. So be it. If there were no legitimate courts operating in the jurisdiction where his charged crimes were committed, we should not just then pretend to "judicialize" what is in reality a "political"  outcome.

      As he was a military commander, I think upon capture he should have been held by the USA as a POW without pretense of trying him in what we call a court proceeding.

       What if he had he lived until the settlement of the war and his POW status thus expired and Iraq still had no legitimate courts?

      Good question.