Halabja Denial

Recently I noticed a couple of our commenters raising doubts about Saddam Hussein’s culpability for the 1988 gas attack that killed thousands of Kurds in the Iraqi town of Halabja. Perhaps they think that by minimizing Saddam’s barbarity, they help to undercut the rationale for overthrowing his regime.

Do they– or anyone else on the Left– really want to go there?

What Slate’s Timothy Noah calls Halabja Denial recently found its way onto the Al Jazeera website. Other Halabja Deniers include conservative Jude Wanniski, who helped popularize Reaganite supply-side economics, and Austrian People’s party leader Jorg Haider. (Wanniski and rightwing economist Paul Craig Roberts are now favorities at the hard-left website Go figure.)

By contrast, even George Galloway, Robert Fisk and Arundhati Roy acknowledge the Ba’athist regime’s responsibility for the Halabja atrocity, although they try to deflect blame onto the United States. And we have on audiotape the words of Ali Hassan Majeed, aka “Chemical Ali,” discussing the Kurds in an address to Ba’ath party leaders:

I will kill them all with chemical weapons! Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them! The international community and those who listen to them.

Perhaps he was speaking metaphorically.