Saturday, August 02, 2003

US Debates Bid to Kill Hussein and Avoid Embarrassing Trial: "Senior Bush administration officials are debating whether to order military commanders to kill rather than capture Saddam Hussein to avoid an unpredictable trial that could stir up nationalist Arab sentiments and embarrass Washington by publicizing past US support for the deposed Iraqi dictator, according to defense and intelligence officials... Cheney, whose office would not comment on the issue last night, and senior Bush advisers are said to worry that a trial would be a spectacle in which Hussein could tap into Arab anxieties about the American occupation, try to implicate the United States for previously coddling the regime, and assert Iraq's compliance with United Nations resolutions outlawing weapons of mass destruction -- measures that the administration says gave legal justification for the war... One worry is that a host of embarrassing charges might be leveled at the United States. Washington supported Hussein's regime during Iraq's war against Iran between 1980 and 1988 -- including providing satellite images of Iranian military formations -- at a time when Iraqi forces used chemical weapons against troops and civilians. The United States may have even given Hussein the green light to attack Iran... Publicly, US officials contend that the decision to capture or kill Hussein will be up to commanders on the ground, the same scenario presented after American troops killed Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay"

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