Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
April 7, 2003
This is why I believe this is a just war
Look at Saddam's atrocities at home, admonishes writer
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Recently, I've been asked how I, as a professed Christian, can support the war in Iraq, and it is indeed true that a great many Christians worldwide, including Pope John Paul, are strongly opposed to the Coalition of the Willing's operation to disarm and depose Saddam Hussein by force.
I have profound respect for the Holy Father. However, I also believe that he and the Vatican, and other Christians opposing the war, are profoundly mistaken on this issue. I have to ask where is their compassion for the thousands of Iraqis being murdered and tortured by Saddam's regime?
The December 2001 Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty endorsed the policy of humanitarian intervention, stating: "sovereign states have a responsibility to protect their own citizens from avoidable catastrophe, but when they are unwilling or unable to do so, that responsibility must be borne by the broader community of states.
In an instance where predation is directed at those unable to defend themselves, the use of necessary force is a moral imperative, and to not act would represent abject moral failure.
Saddam Hussein has been responsible for an estimated 1 million deaths over the past 30 years - several hundred thousand more or less directly - a toll that is ongoing. Arbitrary arrests and killings are commonplace in Iraq.
We hear eyewitness accounts of bodies stacked like cordwood in Iraqi prisons. The British government has compiled a dossier documenting, among many other tortures and human rights abuses, that Saddam's political prisoners are kept in coffin-size metal boxes until they confess or die.
Each box has a tap for water and a floor made of mesh to allow the detainees to defecate. Others are kept in cells that were originally built as dog kennels. Families of executed prisoners are invoiced for the cost of the bullets used.
In the event of hostile demonstrations, official standing orders are to kill 95 per cent of demonstrators and to leave 5 per cent for interrogation.
Iraqi police interrogation methods include the use of eye gouging, Piercing of hands with electric drills, having acid poured into open wounds, suspension from the ceiling by the wrists for hours blindfolded and stripped, electric shock to the genitals, ears, tongue and fingers, broken bottles inserted into the victim's anus, being gradually lowered into acid vats, and starvation. Saddam has issued a series of decrees establishing penalties such as amputation, branding, cutting off of ears, or other forms of mutilation. There is an account of the secret police torturing a two-year-old girl, half-crushing her feet. Children of a family arrested by Saddam's Republican Guard were forced to watch while their parents were interrogated under torture.
A chemical weapons attack on the town of Halabja in northern Iraq resulted in the death of up to 5,000 people. Amnesty International listed 38 methods of torture used by the Iraqis during the occupation of Kuwait in 1991, including beatings, breaking of limbs, extracting finger and toenails and subjecting detainees to mock executions.
Udayy Saddam Hussein Saddam's elder son (who is reputed to be worse than his father) has been frequently accused of serial rape and murder of young women, and maintained a private torture chamber, known as "al-Ghurfa al-Hamra" (the Red Room), disguised as an electricity installation, in a building on the banks of the Tigris.
A CTV newsman recently related an anecdote about Udayy watching people being ground to hamburger in some sort of diabolical torture machine for entertainment. Udayy also ordered the national football team to be caned on the soles of their feet after losing a World Cup qualifying match.
Saddam's younger son, Qusayy Saddam Hussein. as head of the Iraqi internal security agencies, has permitted and encouraged the endemic use of torture, including rape and the threat of rape.
The Iraq Research and Documentation Project at Harvard University reports female prisoners are routinely raped by Saddam's card carrying (literally) professional rapists. In October 2000, dozens of women accused of prostitution were beheaded without any judicial process, together with men accused of pimping. The wives of dissidents have been either killed or tortured in front of their husbands in order to obtain confessions from their husbands.
Stomach turning yet? There's more - much more - but I think we've amply qualified avoidable catastrophe, and predation directed at those unable to defend themselves. Peace and non-violence are not unassailable virtues, and in some instances war is a moral imperative, and pacifism a moral dead end.