The Corner

As Unlikely as Snow in Winter in Alaska

On the Today Show this morning, Katie Couric said: “Now to another big story going on in Iraq: the trial of Saddam Hussein. And an unlikely member of his defense team: Former U.S. Attorney Ramsey Clark. He is here for his first interview since visiting his client in Baghdad last week. Mr. Clark, good morning.”

Yes, Katie, what a shocker! I mean, Ramsey Clark defending a bad guy? You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Of course, there may be just a little teeny-tiny bit of precedent for this. Clark did defend Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslavia president who is on trial for war crimes.

And, of course, Radovan Karadzic, the former Yugoslavian general also indicted for war crimes.

Oh and come to think of it, Ramsey Clark also defended Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization leaders, when they were sued in connection with the Achille-Lauro terrorist attack.

And didn’t he defend Libyan dictator Muammar El-Qaddafi after the United States bombed Libya in response to terrorist attacks?

Gosh, how could this have slipped both our minds, Katie (a senior moment?): Ramsey Clark also defended Karl Linnas, a Nazi who ran an Estonian concentration camp, and Jakob Reimer, a notorious Nazi concentration camp guard.

And – silly us – we plum forgot he defended Sheik Omar Abdel, convicted of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks. And Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a leader of the Rwandan genocide. And Charles Taylor, the former Liberian leader charged with crimes against humanity. And Leonard Peltier, convicted of killing 2 FBI agents. And Lyndon Larouche.

But I see your point, Katie: These were all unlikely cases – every single one of them. Which is why you went on to ask Clark this hardball question: “…And many Americans scratch their heads and say simply: Why? Why is this man with such a distinguished record, although controversial, why is he representing someone known as the Butcher of Baghdad?”

Clark’s response: “It’s very simple. We are the ones that named him the Butcher of Baghdad and demonized him.”

Yeah, once again we have met the enemy and he is us. We demonized Saddam – it has nothing to do with the mass graves and the rape rooms and the amputations and the poison gas used against Halabja and the genocidal campaign against the Kurds and the terrorist training camp at Salman Pak and the plot to assassinate a former U.S. president and…well, you know this history a lot better than I ever will. That’s why they pay you the big bucks! That’s why they’re considering making you an evening news anchorperson!

Anyway, as I was saying, Americans named Saddam the Butcher of Baghdad – when to his friends and family he’s always been the “Teddy Bear of Tikrit.”

So what’s on deck for tomorrow, Katie? I’m hoping you might have Ramsey Clark back. Ask him about his Christmas recipes. I hear they, too, are highly unlikely – and surprisingly tasty!

Clifford D. May — Clifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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