Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Degree of Separation

Amongst all this talk about whether Saddam received a fair trial or whether the death penalty is ever a suitable punishment, it is easy to forget that he is not the only one guilty of such crimes. His crime was the murder of 148 Shia Muslims in 1982 and yet, there is a leader in office right now that has so far managed to escape justice for a not dissimilar crime. The current resident of the White House has a pretty horrific history of murdering citizens. In fact, Saddam was executed for murdering only 17 more people than George W Bush, if you discount the ongoing Iraq war.

During his tenure as Governor of Texas, George Bush was directly responsible for the murder of 131 Americans. His supporters may argue that they were criminals, but were the Shia not criminals to Saddam? Although it would seem highly unlikely that Bush would face a trial, no matter how hard we wish for it. It is only semantics that prevents Bush from being guilty of the same charges as the ones Hussein was executed for. Furthermore, it is highly questionable that those that were murdered by the then Governor received anything like a fair trial, the kind of trial we insist that others adopt in our attempts to spread 'Western democracy'.

Shortly before his fraudulent election victory in 2000, the Chicago Tribune published a report investigating the executions carried out in Texas, under the authority of George W Bush. The report revealed many disturbing facts, including:

In one-third of [the] cases, the report showed, the lawyer who represented the death penalty defendant at trial or on appeal had been or was later disbarred or otherwise sanctioned. In 40 cases the lawyers presented no evidence at all or only one witness at the sentencing phase of the trial.

In 29 cases, the prosecution used testimony from a psychiatrist who -- based on a hypothetical question about the defendant's past -- predicted he would commit future violence. Most of those psychiatrists testified without having examined the defendant: a practice condemned professionally as unethical.

Other witnesses included one who was temporarily released from a psychiatric ward to testify, a pathologist who had admitted faking autopsies and a judge who had been reprimanded for lying about his credentials.

Despite this evidence, Bush claimed that the defendents 'had full access to a fair trial.' As fair a trial as those who suffered at the hands of Hussein in Dujail in 1982.

The facts of the matter are that when you strip the facts down to the bare basics, there is little to divide those that were murdered by Hussein in 1982, and those that were murdered by Bush when Governor of Texas. Both would claim that the victims were criminals, both signed the death warrants that enabled the authorities to carry out these crimes against humanity, and both parties refused to acknowledge basic rights to fait trial. The question only remains, when will Bush face trial for the murders he authorised?