Bill Clinton's 'Good German' Defense of Saddam's Aides

There are two absolutely extraordinary aspects of this story. One is that Bill Clinton, a former President of the United States, offered the “good German” defense of the murderers, torturers, and rapists who worked for Saddam Hussein, and he did so on foreign soil. Equally extraordinary, however, is the fact that only Newsmax.com, and an on-line publication called Village Soup in Maine, bothered to report this comment. Here is the quote:

"When [the U.S.] kicked out Saddam, they decided to dismantle the whole authority structure," Clinton told an audience at American University in Dubai. "Most of the people who were part of that structure were good, decent people who were making the best out of a very bad situation," he added.

Source: http://www.villagesoup.com/commletters/letters.cfm?TopicID=6534

“Good, decent people who were making the best out of a very bad situation”? Hasn’t anyone in the American press read a history of the Nuremberg trials? Or, if reading a book is too daunting a task, haven’t any of them seen the award-winning Spencer Tracy movie, “Judgment at Nuremberg”?

Either way, the reporters and editors would have realized that Bill Clinton was offering the same defense of Saddam’s associates as the associates of Adolf Hitler offered for themselves in their war crimes trials. Hundreds of thousands of unspeakable acts of murder and torture were defended on the basis that those who actually committed the crimes were “good Germans” who were “just following orders.”

Bill Clinton left out that part about “following orders.” But he clearly meant it. The “very bad situation” he referred to was holding onto a job under Saddam Hussein, who had an established pattern of murdering on the spot anyone who failed to do whatever he said, as soon as he said it. So all of these “good, decent” Iraqis were following orders. Furthermore, these modern murderers were almost all members of the Ba’ath Party, just as those tried at Nuremberg were almost all members of the Nazi Party.

The depravity, dishonesty, and historical ignorance of Bill Clinton’s remark are impossible to overestimate. Why is almost the entire American press not up in arms over this reprehensible statement?

Why?

John_Armor@aya.yale.edu