Tuesday, December 06, 2005

# Posted 11:19 AM by Patrick Porter  

FROM THE LION'S MOUTH: During the heated exchanges in the Baghdad trial yesterday, the overthrown tryant of Iraq claimed: 'Like the path of Mussolini, to resist occupation to the end, that is Saddam Hussein.' A little rich coming from a serial aggressor. I suspect the Iranian student I taught two years ago would be interested to hear that Saddam imagines himself as a martyred defender, rather than the annexationist predator of the Gulf. But Saddam's identification of himself with Mussolini is accurate in other ways. Both began as socialists before becoming aggressive nationalists adroit at manipulating international opinion, both turned their nations into one-party states, both tried to create empires by invading and mustard-gassing tribesmen, and both were arrested as fugitives in the hinterlands they had terrorised.

But the new sovereign Iraqi state has at least accorded this Mussolini the courtesy of a trial, as the foundational event of the new Iraq. The dancing on his toppled statue by jubilant crowds is the nearest it has come to seeing his corpse hung upside down. But it has also given him the opportunity to prolong his own personality cult by giving him a platform for grandiose speeches. It would therefore be wise to remember his own identification with Mussolini, to prevent the desire for a fair trial sliding into misplaced sympathy. Saddam's American attorney Ramsay Clark, not content to represent his client in court, fell victim to this when on radio he tried to justify Saddam's torture and killing of hundreds of inhabitants of a Shiite town. To be sure, everyone should be given due process and a fair trial. But lets not start weaving for this Mussolini the kinds of excuses offered for terrorists.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

Kuwait = Ethiopia? I.E. Mussolini was an aggressor, too. Restoring Italy's honor after their 1898 defeat.

I suspect, as a leader, if Saddam can say this with a straight face, that he did sometimes model himself after Mussolini.

When I think of his standing before the parade, firing off a rifle with one hand, it almost evokes the militarism of Benito.

You ever hear the comments Berlusconi never intended to be made public? That he considered Mussolini a "benevolent dictator" and Silvio actually said that Mussolini didn't send anyone to the death camps, but sent the Jews and his political enemies "on holiday" in the country. I guess 9,000 Jews to the death camp does sound like a pretty small number, all things considered, but I really don't like Berlusconi or his neo-fascii allies.
actually although the comparison is not 100% exact, I was also thinking of the northern Kurds who he gassed, amongst other atrocities.

I never knew that about Berlusconi.
What is just me, or did anyone else feel that the Iraq war was incomplete without the appearance of Ramsey Clark? In principle he is a lawyer, an advocate, but what a loon.
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