"The first weapon of mass destruction was Saddam Hussein," writes Bernard Kouchner, who has been observing atrocities in Iraq since he led the first Medecins Sans Frontieres mission there in 1974. "Preserving the memory of the arbitrary arrests that Saddam's police conducted every morning, the horrible and humiliating torture, the organised rapes, the arbitrary executions and the prisons full of innocent people is not just a duty. Without that one cannot understand either what Saddam's dictatorship was or the urgent necessity to remove him."The Black Book of Saddam Hussein also details the economic, military, and personal support from the French establishment elite, particularly Jacques Chirac. It was a relationship that spanned decades and involved Iraqi oil exchanged for Mirage jets, French missiles, and nuclear technology. The authors do not ignore the immense risks and difficulties inherent in overthrowing a repressive tyranny with a 35 year history of brutal and total control.
"Sinje Caren Stoyke, German archeologist and president of Archeologists for Human Rights, catalogues 288 mass graves [and] estimates one million people are missing in Iraq, presumed dead, leaving families with the dreadful task of finding and identifying the remains of their loved ones. Military convoys crossed towns, full of civilian prisoners, and returned empty. People living near execution sites heard the cries of men, women and children. They heard shots followed by silence."
"Abdullah Mohammed Hussein was a soldier fighting in the mountains when Iraqi troops took the Kurdish village of Sedar and deported three-quarters of the inhabitants, including his mother, his wife and their seven children. They were taken to a concentration camp at Topzawa and from there some were taken to an execution ground near the archeological site of Hatra, south of Mosul. The remains of 192 people have been found, 123 women and children and 69 men, among them Abdullah's wife and three of their children. There is no trace of his mother and the other four children. They were victims of the genocidal Anfal campaign, which sought to exterminate the Kurds."
"Between February and September 1988, 100,000 to 180,000 Kurds died or disappeared. The bombing of the Kurdish village of Halabja with chemical weapons including mustard gas, tabun, sarin and VX on March 16, 1988, which killed 3000 to 5000 civilians, was the most publicised of these atrocities because it occurred near the Iranian border and Iranian troops were able to penetrate with the assistance of Kurds, filming and photographing the victims."
"...the security services arrested and imprisoned people without charging them, with no access to a lawyer or contact with their family. Everyone was targeted, including women and children. Torture was systematically used to secure confessions including beating, burning, ripping out finger nails, rape, electric shocks, acid baths and deprivation of sleep, food or water."
"...Le Livre Noir de Saddam Hussein charts the sorry history of France's slavish support for Saddam, from Right and Left, for 30 years, a relationship that was fundamentally based on the trade of Iraqi oil for French missiles, fighter jets and nuclear technology."
"There was no democratic solution to Saddam's dictatorship: no popular movement, no insurrection could have overthrown him...The American war was perhaps not a good solution for getting rid of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. But, as this book shows, after 35 years of a dictatorship of exceptional violence, which has destroyed Iraqi civil society and created millions of victims, there wasn't a good solution."
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.