Attorney General for the defense

Really all that anyone needs to know about Ramsey Clark's mindset in dashing off to Iraq to defend Saddam Hussein can be summed up by one sentence written as part of a profile of the former attorney general of the United States of America:

'After a failed bid for the Senate in 1976, Clark abandoned government service and set out to provide legal defense to victims of oppression.'

Since that time, Mr. Clark has been outspoken in his belief that the United States government is a force for terror, oppression and murder. He has shown up at anti—war and anti—American protests and causes of all kinds, even convening a war—crimes tribunal in 1991 that 'convicted' President George H.W. Bush, Colin Powell and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Mr. Clark is of the belief that American foreign policy has been rotten to the core since the Monroe Doctrine.

Now, even though the overthrown tyrant and his defense team have not requested any outside help, Mr. Clark deems it necessary to attempt to attach himself to the cause and defend the modern—day Hitler in a case that really has nothing to do whatsoever with the dark forces unleashed by the United States government beginning in the 18th century. Mr. Hussein and seven of his thug henchmen are charged with ordering the torture and deaths of more than 140 Iraqi citizens from the town of Dujail, crimes that occurred 23 years ago. Now, Mr. Hussein begins to face the legal consequences of the heinous actions of a heinous life, and Mr. Clark wants to help him out. 

The trial has been delayed until December 5th, and may even be delayed for a further three months if Mr. Hussein's current defense team can convince the court that they are not in receipt of various documents and a recess is necessary. These advicates must have been watching C—SPAN and the news conferences by Democrat Senators in the days leading up to the Judiciary hearings for John Roberts to bone up on strategy.

Ramsey Clark is no longer an official of the United States government. He is not in charge of enforcing the laws of the executive branch. He is a private citizen and can speak his mind, just as the odious Cindy Sheehan has done in a Herculean effort to humiliate herself. Yet the spectacle of a former attorney general for the greatest force for freedom and democracy the world has ever known swooping into Iraq to defend one of the most notorious mass murderers the world has ever known is embarrassing and ridiculous.

Does the mere act of attempting to help in the defense of a tyrant against whom the United States has gone to war, and who is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers, constitute treason? The Constitution says in Article III, Section 3, clause 1 that

'Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.'

Attempting — in open Court — to attach oneself to explicitly aid a deposed tyrant and enemy of the United States, an individual who is responsible not only for the torture and murder of his own citizens, but the deaths of American soldiers is pretty bad, but it is probably not treason. 

In the Nuremberg Trials and Tokyo War Crime Trials American citizens in good standing provided defense counsel for Nazi and Japanese defendants. These were military tribunals, held under the auspices of the victorious allies, and using principles of international law in unprecedented fashion, to charge crimes against humanity. The trial of Saddam Hussein is taking place under the auspices of the interim Iraqi government, still in the process of re—creating itself as a democratic government, with support from the United States and its coalition partners.

Probably the most important difference is that hostilities had ceased and surrender had been accepted at the time of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. Saddam Hussein not only failed to surrender, he went into hiding, and his supporters continue to wage war against the United States and coalition forces and against the Iraqi government and people. In a very real sense, then, Saddam Hussein remains an enemy of the United States, though his status as prisoner renders him personally impotent to inflict harm, no matter what his followers continue to do. Mr. Clark is almost certainly off the hook for charges of treason.

Mr. Clark is an old fool, however, and his actions and statements will stand for all time, and will stand when the judgment of history is rendered long after he is gone. That he thinks Saddam Hussein is a victim of oppression is enough of an indictment against this sad old man. Mr. Clark says of Mr. Hussein's case 'A fair trial in this case is absolutely imperative for historical truth to justice.'

Yet one question remains for Mr. Clark, a basic legal and historical question. Perhaps no one has posed the question to him and perhaps his mind is far too addled to contemplate such a question, but one wonders if Mr. Clark is not aware that under the former regime of one Saddam Hussein, a free and fair trial was nothing but a fiction.

Matt May is a freelance writer and can be reached at matthewtmay@yahoo.com; his website is here.

Really all that anyone needs to know about Ramsey Clark's mindset in dashing off to Iraq to defend Saddam Hussein can be summed up by one sentence written as part of a profile of the former attorney general of the United States of America:

'After a failed bid for the Senate in 1976, Clark abandoned government service and set out to provide legal defense to victims of oppression.'

Since that time, Mr. Clark has been outspoken in his belief that the United States government is a force for terror, oppression and murder. He has shown up at anti—war and anti—American protests and causes of all kinds, even convening a war—crimes tribunal in 1991 that 'convicted' President George H.W. Bush, Colin Powell and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Mr. Clark is of the belief that American foreign policy has been rotten to the core since the Monroe Doctrine.

Now, even though the overthrown tyrant and his defense team have not requested any outside help, Mr. Clark deems it necessary to attempt to attach himself to the cause and defend the modern—day Hitler in a case that really has nothing to do whatsoever with the dark forces unleashed by the United States government beginning in the 18th century. Mr. Hussein and seven of his thug henchmen are charged with ordering the torture and deaths of more than 140 Iraqi citizens from the town of Dujail, crimes that occurred 23 years ago. Now, Mr. Hussein begins to face the legal consequences of the heinous actions of a heinous life, and Mr. Clark wants to help him out. 

The trial has been delayed until December 5th, and may even be delayed for a further three months if Mr. Hussein's current defense team can convince the court that they are not in receipt of various documents and a recess is necessary. These advicates must have been watching C—SPAN and the news conferences by Democrat Senators in the days leading up to the Judiciary hearings for John Roberts to bone up on strategy.

Ramsey Clark is no longer an official of the United States government. He is not in charge of enforcing the laws of the executive branch. He is a private citizen and can speak his mind, just as the odious Cindy Sheehan has done in a Herculean effort to humiliate herself. Yet the spectacle of a former attorney general for the greatest force for freedom and democracy the world has ever known swooping into Iraq to defend one of the most notorious mass murderers the world has ever known is embarrassing and ridiculous.

Does the mere act of attempting to help in the defense of a tyrant against whom the United States has gone to war, and who is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers, constitute treason? The Constitution says in Article III, Section 3, clause 1 that

'Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.'

Attempting — in open Court — to attach oneself to explicitly aid a deposed tyrant and enemy of the United States, an individual who is responsible not only for the torture and murder of his own citizens, but the deaths of American soldiers is pretty bad, but it is probably not treason. 

In the Nuremberg Trials and Tokyo War Crime Trials American citizens in good standing provided defense counsel for Nazi and Japanese defendants. These were military tribunals, held under the auspices of the victorious allies, and using principles of international law in unprecedented fashion, to charge crimes against humanity. The trial of Saddam Hussein is taking place under the auspices of the interim Iraqi government, still in the process of re—creating itself as a democratic government, with support from the United States and its coalition partners.

Probably the most important difference is that hostilities had ceased and surrender had been accepted at the time of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. Saddam Hussein not only failed to surrender, he went into hiding, and his supporters continue to wage war against the United States and coalition forces and against the Iraqi government and people. In a very real sense, then, Saddam Hussein remains an enemy of the United States, though his status as prisoner renders him personally impotent to inflict harm, no matter what his followers continue to do. Mr. Clark is almost certainly off the hook for charges of treason.

Mr. Clark is an old fool, however, and his actions and statements will stand for all time, and will stand when the judgment of history is rendered long after he is gone. That he thinks Saddam Hussein is a victim of oppression is enough of an indictment against this sad old man. Mr. Clark says of Mr. Hussein's case 'A fair trial in this case is absolutely imperative for historical truth to justice.'

Yet one question remains for Mr. Clark, a basic legal and historical question. Perhaps no one has posed the question to him and perhaps his mind is far too addled to contemplate such a question, but one wonders if Mr. Clark is not aware that under the former regime of one Saddam Hussein, a free and fair trial was nothing but a fiction.

Matt May is a freelance writer and can be reached at matthewtmay@yahoo.com; his website is here.