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Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Were Saddam's attacks on the Kurds genocidal?

Stephen C. Pelletiere made waves this weekend by arguing that Saddam Hussein didn't gas the Kurds in Halabja in 1988 — the Iranians did. The New Republic's Spencer Ackerman picks Pelletiere's argument apart — especially Pelletiere's contention that Bush couldn't find support for war if Saddam had not in fact gassed his own subjects:

[W]hile Bush invokes the Kurdish genocide in his brief against Saddam, the president does so to establish Saddam's willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, not to argue that, as Pelletiere ludicrously puts it, "we go to war over Halabja."

Update 2.5.03: Slate's Timothy Noah examined the argument for Saddam's innocence in Halabja last April. Curiously, the other advocate for Saddam's innocence is supply-side guru Jude Wanniski. Noah laments that Wanniski and Pelletiere's effective denial "that Iraq is a bloody and vicious regime just makes the dove position look idiotic." But in the face of the overwhelming evidence that Iraq did in fact gas the Kurds — from Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, among other investigations — it looks like Pelletiere is grasping at straws.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 4 February 2003 at 5:35 PM

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