Posts Tagged Saddam Hussein
WASHINGTON DC – In a startling development Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today that Saddam Hussein’s missing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have been discovered in Libya.
“It appears that the WMDs that were supposed to have been in Iraq have finally turned up in Libya,” said Secretary Clinton. When asked how certain the US is of this, she replied, “It’s a slam dunk.”
When reminded that the “slam dunk” phrase was used by a previous administration in regards to WMD in Iraq, Secretary Clinton said, “President George W. Bush was a baseball owner and President Barak Obama plays basketball. This administration knows what a ‘slam dunk’ really is.”
When asked how the US could know this when the President has promised to not have “boots on the ground” in Libya, Clinton responded, “We don’t have boots on the ground. Military guys wear boots. CIA guys wear shoes.”
When asked for a comment on this remark Director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta , said, “The Agency has a policy of not commenting on the footwear of our covert operatives.”
Reached by telephone for comment, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld , said “What? In Libya?” then there was sound that sounded like a hand slapping a forehead, “Why didn’t we think of looking there?” Then the line was disconnected.
A question was posed to Secretary Clinton as to what kind of WMD had been found in Libya to which she replied, “Bad ones.” When questioned as to if there were any sort of “good WMD” she answered, “Good WMDs are ones that we or our friends control. Bad ones are in the hands of bad people.”
Since shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi claimed to have given up on his own nuclear and WMD programs. It was asked why he would have Saddam Hussein’s WMD.
“You just said it,” answered Clinton. “He gave up his own WMD because he already had Saddam’s, why did he need his own?”
Asked if this will increase the US operation Odyssey Dawn from just enforcing a “No-Fly” or a “No-Fly and No-Drive” Zone to something else, Clinton remarked:
“The Kinetic Military Action in Libya should more properly be referred to as a ‘Flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ Zone.”
Current Defense Secretary Robert Gates was contacted for comment on the existence of Saddam Hussein’s WMD in Libya. He responded by saying, “Ask Valerie Plame.”
More of this story to come as it breaks, today, the first day of April…
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Generally, I don’t want to make a habit of reissuing old posts. Recent events have made a strong case for the premise of this piece and it deserved a revisit. This post was originally written weeks before the Tunisian Revolution, the Egyptian Revolution and the Libyan Revolution. President Zine El Abadine Ben Ali of Tunisia wound up in exile in Saudi Arabia. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has peacefully retired to a palace along the Red Sea. Yet that did not happen in Libya. According to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi:
“Once someone put forward the idea of bringing Gaddafi before the International Criminal Court, I think the idea of staying in power became entrenched with him and I don’t think anyone can make him change his mind,” he told reporters.
Granted Berlusconi certainly has his own share of political and legal problems. But of all the European countries Italy has been the closest to Libia and Berlusconi probably has the best read of the Libyan strongman’s mindset. His statement gives credibility to this post that I originally made last December.
Why haven’t the two Korean nations united as did East and West Germany?
Perhaps it is because there is no way out for North Korea’s ruling Kim family. If the Korean nations unite, who can doubt that a prosecutor or judge in Europe will indict them for crimes?
This was the same dilemma that faced Saddam Hussein. He knew the US invasion was coming. Days before the start of military action in 2003, Saddam was offered a life in exile. Why not live out his days with his wealth and Viagra?
But Saddam only had to look at the situation of his friend, former Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic. Four years earlier Milosevic, after having left power in Serbia, was arrested and held in a jail cell. He was placed on trial. He died in prison.
Saddam knew Milosevic well. The Iraqi’s had their bunkers built by the Serbs who had learned from the US bombing in the 1990’s.
They were kindred spirits. So when Saddam was offered exile, he had only to look at Slobodan’s fate and conclude that he was better off trying to stick it out in Iraq. We all know the rest.
Contrast this to the Exile of Chilean General and dictator Augusto Pinochet several decades earlier. Pinochet was allowed to live in exile in Spain with some of his ill-gotten gains. The transition in Chile to democracy was relatively smooth and peaceful when compared to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The Kim’s of North Korea have no doubt watched what happened to Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. They knew them both. People who are used to leading entire countries can conceive of retirement with their wealth, but living in a prison cell is worse than death.
The European courts and judges mean well. The idea of dictators living out their years in the lap of luxury without being brought to justice is distasteful. No civilized human being likes that idea. Part of the idea is making sure that dictators and others know that there is an international watch on their doings and that this would encourage good behavior.
But reality has us working in a world with paranoid dictators at a time that nuclear technology is achievable. Dictators and repressive regimes are turning to the Korean model of buying time and respect by acquiring nuclear weapons. Wounded dictators with nowhere to go are as dangerous as cornered animals. They will fight to the finish. Now they can do so with nukes.
The exile option is far from perfect (Europeans know this from the Napoleon experience, where his return from exile led to another war.) The alternative, attempting regime change against dug in despots with atomic weapons (think North Korea, and soon Iran) and suddenly exiled dictators playing in their retirement palaces doesn’t seem so bad.
The world and European courts need to reexamine their prosecutorial zeal and allow the exile option to reemerge.
After the recent events in Lybia and Berlusconi’s remarks the last sentence above is more relevant than ever.
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