Damning tape of Saddam calling for chemical weapons against Kurds
Saddam Hussein is dead and buried, and the charges against him for the murder of as many as 180,000 Iraqi Kurds have been dropped. Nevertheless, the former dictator held center stage at yesterday’s court proceedings for the remaining defendants in the Anfal case. John F. Burns reports for the NYT on how recordings played of ...
Saddam Hussein is dead and buried, and the charges against him for the murder of as many as 180,000 Iraqi Kurds have been dropped. Nevertheless, the former dictator held center stage at yesterday's court proceedings for the remaining defendants in the Anfal case. John F. Burns reports for the NYT on how recordings played of Saddam coldly advocating the use of chemical weapons on Kurdish villages prove that the world just said goodbye to a brutal despot.
On one recording, Mr. Hussein presses the merits of chemical weapons on Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, his vice-president, and now, the Americans believe, the fugitive leader of the Sunni insurgency that has tied down thousands of American troops. Mr. Douri, a notorious hard-liner, asks whether chemical attacks will be effective against civilian populations, and suggests that they might stir an international outcry.
“Yes, they’re very effective if people don’t wear masks,” Mr. Hussein replies.
“You mean they will kill thousands?” Mr. Douri asks.
“Yes, they will kill thousands,” Mr. Hussein says. […]
Mr. Hussein sounds matter of fact as he describes what chemical weapons will do. “They will prevent people eating and drinking the local water, and they won’t be able to sleep in their beds,” he says. “They will force people to leave their homes and make them uninhabitable until they have been decontaminated.” […]
But it was Mr. Hussein’s chilling discussion of the power of chemical weapons against civilians that brought prosecutors and judges to the verge of tears, and seemed to shock the remaining defendants. One of the recordings featured an unidentified military officer telling Mr. Hussein that a plan was under development for having Soviet-built aircraft carry containers, packed with up to 50 napalm bombs each, which would be rolled out of the cargo deck and dropped on Kurdish towns.
“Yes, in areas where you have concentrated populations, that would be useful,” Mr. Hussein replies.
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