Vol. 4 Num 64 Wed. July 30, 2003  
Letters to Editor

"Saddam's sons and grandson killed-- but under what law?"

It has come to my attention regarding the above mentioned column written by Mr. Muslehuddin Ahmad duly published in the Daily Star in it's July 27,2003 issue.

I sincerely agree with Mr. M.Ahmad and would like to add the followings:

"Removing Saddam" has been the stated goal of the Bush administration for more than a year, and in the last fall Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesperson, said war with Iraq could be avoided at "the cost of one bullet". This open discussion of killing Saddam marks a profound retreat from the long-standing insistence that the US did not and would not use assassination as a tool of state. The discovery by the Church Commission in 1976 that the CIA had plotted to kill several foreign opponents including Fidel Castro was described as an aberration; supporters of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy insisted they had authorised nothing of the kind, and official efforts to pinpoint responsibility never went farther than the words of US Defence Secretary Robert McNamara, who told a Senate investigation committee, "I just can't understand how it could have happened." Executive orders banning assassination issued by Presidents Ford and Reagan, prompted by public dismay over the poisoned cigars and exploding seashells intended for Castro, have never been revoked. Reagan's order flatly states that "no person employed by or acting on behalf of the US government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination."

US intelligence organisations and military forces, once forbidden from attempts to assassinate foreign leaders by the executive orders of two recent US Presidents, have embarked on an open, all out effort to find and kill Saddam Hussein in a campaign with no precedents in US history.

But where will it end? Saddam Hussein's two sons and grandson were killed by US forces. Can it still be called assassination if it is carried out in wartime? Does a White House decision to attack Iraq make it "a war", and thereby turn Saddam into a legitimate target? US led coalition has crossed all limits of it's own and other international laws showing dead bodies of Saddam's two sons. During US led war in Iraq, Iraqi TV showed some of the PoWs for which US government and other US media seriously expressed grave concerns and reminded Iraqi authority to honour all world's conventional laws. Now showing two son's of Saddam to journalists and airing their dead bodies before the world should be treated a heinous crime by the US government and it's own media. Is it correct that the US administration has quit arguing the rights and wrongs of killing enemies? Is Saddam's survival and recent broadcasts of his voice as a psychological barrier, scaring off some Iraqis who might be willing to work with the Americans, and inspiring others including different national military forces to go on fighting?

How can Washington be sure that killing Saddam will be a change for the better? Success might only clear the path for another Iraqi leader, just as intransigent but free of Saddam's burden of decades of crime against his own people.