Syracuse Peace Council Response to the Arrest of Saddam Hussein

The Syracuse Peace Council is pleased to hear that Saddam Hussein has been detained. We hope his capture will help relieve the fear of his return to power, a fear which has hindered the Iraqi people from reconstructing their nation. For many Iraqis the ongoing US occupation is also a major obstacle to self-governance.

The US government now has the opportunity to continue this process by spelling out a timetable for the departure of US troops and the end of the occupation. Such a step would provide some assurance to the Iraqi people that the Bush administration really supported their transition to self government. Saddam’s capture also creates a new opening to develop a true international coalition to guide this transition.

Saddam Hussein is one of the major criminals of the 20th century, having been directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Iranians and Kuwaitis. He should be held accountable for these crimes either in Iraq or in the International Criminal Court. The United States has no legal or moral jurisdiction to prosecute Saddam.

From the beginning of his reign, and for many years thereafter, the US was Saddam’s key ally, providing him with arms and funding. Our nation must remember this as we continue such “realpolitik” arrangements today with repressive governments in countries such as Colombia, Cameroon and Saudi Arabia.

It is clear that much of the opposition to the US occupation comes not from Saddam loyalists or foreign fighters, but from ordinary Iraqis who have come to see the US presence as one of domination and repression. Unless the US role changes from hand picking Iraq’s leaders and controlling Iraq’s economy to one of turning control over
to the Iraqi people it is unlikely that attacks on the US military will stop.

The Syracuse Peace Council hopes that the capture of Saddam Hussein opens the way for the Iraqi people to develop their nation as they see fit. While those words are similar to those from the White House, we continue to believe that the Bush administration is motivated by a desire to control Iraq’s oil and gain geopolitical advantages from the creation of a client state in Iraq. This flies in the face of our nation’s ideals and would not serve the people of Iraq.

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