Ramsey Clark for the Defense:

Ramsey Clark has decided to join Saddam Hussein's defense team. The likely reason, as Case Western law professor Michael Scharf notes in this post on Grotian Moment: The Saddam Hussein Trial Blog, is to advance Clark's own anti-war political agenda. What will it mean for the trial? Scharf has some thoughts:

Clark is known for turning international trials into political stages from which to launch attacks against U.S. foreign policy. He has represented Liberian political figure Charles Taylor during his 1985 fight against extradition from the United States to Liberia; Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a Hutu leader implicated in the Rwandan genocide; PLO leaders in a lawsuit brought by the family of Leon Klinghoffer, the wheelchair bound elderly American who was shot and tossed overboard from the hijacked Achille Lauro cruise ship by Palestinian terrorists in 1986; and most recently Slobodan Milosevic, the former leader of Serbia who is on trial for genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Much as Clark objected to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Clark joined the defense for the former Serb leader in 2001 because he objected to the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, which also had not been authorized by the U.N. Security Council. For a preview of Clark's Saddam Hussein trial strategy, one can examine Clark's tactics in the Milosevic trial. . . .

Building on the theme of Clark's brief, the Milosevic defense began with Hollywood-quality video and slide show presentations showing the destruction wrought by the 1999 NATO bombing campaign. Though the acts of NATO were not relevant to any of the charges or defenses, and therefore not likely to help Milosevic obtain an acquittal, the presentation had an immediate impact on Milosevic's popularity back home in Serbia. The tactic transformed Milosevic from the most reviled individual in Serbia to number four on the list of most admired Serbs . . .

Like Clark, I published articles in opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But I don't think Clark's strategy of putting the United States on trial will be constructive. Since the "Tu Quoque" (you also) defense is not legitimate [see here], it won't help his client's case. . . . But as the Milosevic case has demonstrated, Clark's strategy of putting the United States on trial is likely to incite greater opposition to and violence against the new Iraqi government and the U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. Ironically, Clark's trial strategy will result in lengthening the amount of time U.S. troops must remain in Iraq, rather than hastening their withdrawal as Clark has advocated.

There's much more about recent trial developments on the Grotian Moment blog.

tefta (mail):
I think the world has changed sufficiently since the earlier trials you mention and the media have too many problems of their own right now to compound them by endorsing Clark's far left point of view.

I doubt he'll be on the front page of any major newspaper in the U.S. as he might have been in the past.
12.4.2005 1:34pm
Juan Non-Volokh (mail) (www):
The issue is less whether he receives U.S. press coverage than how much coverage he receives in Iraq and the surrounding region.

12.4.2005 2:27pm
Abdul (mail):
Christopher Hitchens skewered Ramsey's logic in this piece.

Best line:

In a recent BBC interview, he offered the excuse that Iraq was then fighting the Shiite nation of Iran: He (Saddam) had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt. Just go back and read that again. Ramsey Clark believes that A) the massacre and torture did occur and B) that it was ordered by his client and C) that he was justified in ordering it and carrying it out.

Hey, Ramsey, doesn't that sound like you're justifying the actions of some other famous world leader? And if George bush were ever indicted for war crimes, would you defend him or would he have to torture and kill more people first?
12.4.2005 3:00pm
Reluctant Imperialist (mail):
Who are you to say that Saddam Hussein doesn't deserve the best presentation of his case? And why shouldn't Clark do his best to make it clear that American petro-imperialism is to blame for the fascist invasion?

Americans deserve to die for what they did. It's just a happy irony that it will be an American who injects backbone into the resistance and makes sure they survive as an entity. Mr. Clark truly represents the best qualities of America, no matter what Bush's fascists say.
12.4.2005 3:17pm
TomFromMD (mail):
Reluctant Imperialist: "Americans deserve to die for what they did."

Try parsing that again, buddy. What you're really saying is that some Americans deserve to die for what other Americans did, which is stupid. Those that put us in this war aren't the ones on the front line.
12.4.2005 3:23pm
Eric Muller (www):
"Clark is known for turning international trials into political stages from which to launch attacks against U.S. foreign policy."

What an absurd and outrageous defense strategy that would be in a case like this!
12.4.2005 3:37pm
Humble Law Student:
Reluctant Imperialist,

What an atrocious thing to say. If you are an American, why don't you do us all a favor and volunteer to be the next to die. Afterall, Americans deserve to die, so why not you?
12.4.2005 3:54pm
Humble Law Student:

You are probably correct about the American media. But the Europian and Arab media will feel no such compunction.
12.4.2005 3:57pm
Cornellian (mail):
I continue to be astounded that such an obvious lunatic as Ramsey Clark ever got appointed U.S. Attorney General. I suppose he hadn't dived off the deep end back at that time but still, Democrats deserve to cringe every time that guy shows up in front of a TV camera. He's beyond even Michael Moore and well into Chomsky territory.
12.4.2005 4:04pm
dk35 (mail):
Humble Law Student,

Your statement was rather atrocious too. And hypocritical, unless of course you are volunteering to go to war yourself.
12.4.2005 4:35pm
I wish Clark would go away. He makes us honest anti-war types look bad, and somehow he sticks better than the Pat Robertsons and Dan Savages do to the pro-war types.
12.4.2005 4:51pm
I don't believe Humble Law Student said Americans deserve to die.

How is that Clark's involvement is not aid and comfort. This goes far beyond protest.
12.4.2005 4:53pm
dk35 (mail):
The argument in the post is patently absurd.

The power to bring US troops home, and thus get them out of danger, lies exclusively with President Bush and Congress. Those who profess to be concerned about the safety of US troops should look to Bush and Congress to commence troop withdrawal now.
12.4.2005 5:02pm
Wintermute (www):
What a paradox (or might it be better called a trick bag?)! "Raise defenses for Saddam against the charges that led us into pre-emptive war, and you weaken the reconstruction effort."

Clark can articulate these matters in the English language in a way far more comprehensible to the US public; and given the rush to judgment that occurred here to go to war, that's something that needs to be done in the service of the future.
12.4.2005 5:11pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Guys, "Reluctant Imperialist's" email address is listed as "" I think you ought to take that at face value, and simply ignore his post.
12.4.2005 5:15pm
Defending the Indefensible:
1. Everyone is entitled to a defense, however atrocious the actions he or she is accused of committing.

2. Tu quoque may indeed be a valid assertion of the clean hands doctrine.

clean hands doctrine
n. a rule of law that a person coming to court with a lawsuit or petition for a court order must be free from unfair conduct (have "clean hands" or not have done anything wrong) in regard to the subject matter of his/her claim. His/her activities not involved in the legal action can be abominable because they are considered irrelevant. As an affirmative defense (positive response) a defendant might claim the plaintiff (party suing him/her) has a "lack of clean hands" or "violates the clean hands doctrine" because the plaintiff has misled the defendant or has done something wrong regarding the matter under consideration. Example: A former partner sues on a claim that he was owed money on a consulting contract with the partnership when he left, but the defense states that the plaintiff (party suing) has tried to get customers from the partnership by spreading untrue stories about the remaining partner's business practices.
12.4.2005 5:56pm
tefta (mail):
I don't doubt for a second the rest of the world media will hang on Clark's every hate-America word, but it's the American public that he's trying to reach and I don't think the U.S. media will give him his usual voice. At least, I hope they won't. We must win the war in Iraq. No other outcome can be tolerated.

It's just amazing that there could be such ferocious hatred on a blog like VC as the hate Bush, hate America comments above.
12.4.2005 5:57pm
Kevin Jon Heller:

Let me get this straight: Clark's mere involvement in Saddam's trial as a defense attorney is "aid and comfort" to the insurgency? I wasn't aware that defending war criminals is now itself an act of treason.

Think what you want of Clark's supposed defense strategy — and if Scharf's prognostications are correct, I agree it's a counterproductive one — Saddam's trial will be seen (especially by the Sunnis) as nothing more than a low-tech lynching if there is not genuine equality of arms between the prosecution and the defense. Clark wouldn't be my first choice if I was Saddam, but at least the Iraqi security forces are unlikely to kill him, unlike some of his less-fortunate Iraqi colleagues.
12.4.2005 6:11pm
Defending the Indefensible:
The United States can't actually "win" in Iraq, though. A democratically elected government would be anti-American, given the public sentiment among the Iraqi public. The alternative is to impose a dictatorial state of our own choosing, which ultimately will only increase the level of popular opposition to the US.

It's an unfortunate situation, truly.
12.4.2005 6:14pm
Roger (mail):
Saddam does not deserve a defense. Only the liberals want to try them. Real Americans know that there are some people who, because of their ethnicity, should be sexecuted without trial. An evil cadre of liberals is responsible for this trial, in which Saddam will get off by claiming a technicality and/or be sentenced to parole.
12.4.2005 6:17pm
Splunge (mail):
Go, Ramsey Clark, is all I can say. Give him the biggest possible microphone and broadcast his ravings into every corner of the Earth. The best possible medicine for a crazy is to make sure everyone hears everything he says. That inoculates people against others of his ilk.

The wisest comment above is that Mr. Clark is a disaster primarily for the anti-war party, inasmuch as when people hang out with unserious grandstanding narcissist fools they are often mistaken for being that way themselves. If I were a major Democratic party boss I'd pay Mr. Clark handsomely to go take an extended vacation on a Pacific island lacking any telephone or Internet service.
12.4.2005 6:35pm
Defending the Indefensible:
The argument against the tu quoque defense seems to hinge on the Iraqi tribunal being independent of the United States. This is far from an established fact, and I would not expect the defense to ignore the fact that Iraq remains presently under US occupation, and the "lawfulness" of a Vichy government is subject to some question.
12.4.2005 6:39pm
JBurgess (mail) (www):
Insofar as Clark tries to make his defence of Saddam an attack on the US, he ill serves his client. Saddam isn't on trial for the war, but for what he did to his own people, long before the war.

Maybe this is just a clever scheme to get an appeal on grounds of incompetent representation?

GW Bush is not germane to the crimes for which Saddam is being prosecuted, plain and simple.
12.4.2005 8:02pm
dk35 (mail):
Whether W is responsible for the crimes is a debatable issue. But it is obvious that (shaking hands with Saddam) Cheney bears some responibility. Now that's a trial I am looking forward to.
12.4.2005 8:05pm
TomCS (mail):
Another thread which demonstrates the sad but rampant collapse of decent values in the politicised, attack-ad, play the man not the ball, world of US political discourse. Some of this would be funny if it was not desperately, desperately, sad.

Narrowly, I cannot judge Ramsay Clark's competence as a trial defense lawyer. But if this is a trial with any pretense of credibility, then the defendant is entitled to the defense team of his choosing. Clark's form as retailed in the post seems relatively middle of the road as far as conduct and stunting goes in high profile US court cases, where counsel have been known to play to the media as much as to the judge.

If the game plan behind the proceeding is to demonstrate (to global public opinion, or some subset of it) in a fair trial process that Saddam is a criminal who deserves appropriate penalties, then the prosecution has invited a defense which seeks to address the same audience. And Ramsay Clark would be behaving as a good lawyer should, in mounting the best defense he can for his client. It might have been more impressive if the ABA had offered pro bono one of its non-political stars to do this. But a fundamentally legal blog is on weak ground arguing that Saddam is not entitled to a fair trial, or to counsel of his choice.

That however may be the real problem. If that's the aim, it's not going to work. Globally, this circus starts with minimal credibility and loses it progressively at every painfully clumsy session, shown globally to any TV station that wants to repeat it. Whoever is managing the courthouse, it's evidently not the poor presiding judge (anyone seen his prior track record?--something of a stealth judge). Possibly it's the same PR geniuses caught planting stories in the free Iraqi press. The longer it goes on the worse the US and its allies will look. At the last session Saddam was not allowed to bring his notes into court, or any paper on which to take notes. And it was the prosecution which started showing edited press coverage.

The old saw goes "when you're in a hole, you need to know when to stop digging". US lawyers (academic and trial) seem to me to have a real responsibility to stand up here and tell their government to stop this farce.
12.4.2005 8:16pm
ajf (mail) (www):
ugh. clark was involved with lori berenson's legal issues as well. the thought of him makes my stomach churn.
12.4.2005 8:20pm
Humble Law Student:

Yah, most of the democrats will be running over each other to get as far away from Clark as possible.

However, the true danger lies beyond our borders. Much of the European and Arabic media (that we haven't paid off), rejoice at any chance to print charges and rhetoric that is damaging to America. I'm sure Clark will give them plenty ammunition.

Think about it this way. Clark is an American. That status alone raises his credibility. The fact that he was a former attorney general only increases his stature. What better source to give credibility to your anti-American rhetoric than from someone who comes from the "belly of the beast" as it were.

If some European or Arab made the same anti-American charges in the European or Arab press, it would be relatively for them to gain traction. But with the charges coming from a reputable (in their view) American, they carry great weight.

For case in point, look at how the Europeans eat up Michael Moore's crap. Yes, he is popular in America but mostly with the fringe. In Europe, he is considered very mainstream. His criticisms of America are considered very legitimate. Half of my relatives live in Germany, and I constantly have to explain to them that Michael Moore presents a very biased view of the US.

Ramsey Clark will be a Michael Moore on steriods.
12.4.2005 10:01pm
Humble Law Student:
In the fourth paragraph, I meant, "it would be relatively hard for them to gain traction."
12.4.2005 10:02pm
Mark H.:
I figure that Ramsey is entitled to do whatever he wants, but it's those same choices that cause me puzzlement. It is most certainly beyond my comprehension that he was ever a high-ranking government official representing the USA.

He will get his place in the history books, but it will be a sad chapter indeed -- for both he and us.
12.4.2005 10:14pm
dk35 (mail):
Humble Law Student,

Funny that the majority of Americans seem to agree with Michael Moore about the war now, eh?

I have many friends in Germany too, and these days I am happy to tell them that more and more Americans are coming to their senses.
12.4.2005 10:33pm
Humble Law Student:

Well, I doubt many Americans would agree that the Iraqi insurgents are Iraq's "Minutemen," but I understand your point.
12.4.2005 10:54pm
b.trotter (mail) (www):
Saddam is entitled to the best defense available, but there is still a responsibility for that defense to be an accurate one, and one relevent to the case.

I don't think JNV was trying to infer that Ramsey Clark was committing a crime by helping to defend Saddam, only the apparant contradiction between his goals and his actions. If Ramsey Clark's goal is to end the occupation, his sensational style is more likely to increase hostilities, which is likely to increase, not decrease the length of the occupation.
12.5.2005 12:58am
Visitor Again:
Ramsey Clark will come off a lot better in the history books than anyone in the Bush II Administration even if he is not mentioned.

I'm not sure how much credit it deserves, but there is a story told about Ramsey Clark's appointment as A.G. Lundon Johnson asked how can I get Thurgood Marshall on the Court as the first black justice? He was told one way to create a vacancy was to offer the A.G. appointment to Ramsey Clark, the expectation being that his father, Justice Tom Clark, would resign from the Court. And that is what happened; Clark junior was appointed, Clark senior resigned and Marshall was appointed.

A similar reliance on fatherly affection for son backfired once, if another story is to be believed. President Hoover felt politically obliged to offer the Chief Justiceship to Charles Evans Hughes (who had been on the Court as a justice several years earlier) and did so in the expectation he would refuse it because Hughes' son was Solicitor General and would be forced to resign if his father was on the Court. The plan was that after Hughes had refused to accept the Chief Justiceship, it would be given to Justice Stone and Learned Hand would be appointed to replace Stone as associate justice. Hoover made the phone call and Hughes, to his surprise, accepted the offer. One of the observers is reported to have said, --"the son-of-a-bitch never even thought of his son." And so Stone had to wait several years before he became Chief, and poor Learned Hand never got on the Court. You can read about it here.
12.5.2005 6:05am
Ramsey Clark is a disgrace as a lawyer. One thing a lawyer has to do is to separate the cause from the client. Clark is putting his personal political cause above his client's interests.

As much as I think Bush deserves criticism for his handling of Iraq, the goal of Saddam's lawyers should be to save Saddam's sorry skin, not to attack Bush. It's fair to criticize the process, but eventually the lawyers are going to have to accept "motion overruled" and move on.

Defending an accused war criminal can be a noble effort. It gives the accused the chance to tell his story and to put the prosecution's case to the test. Most defendants will be found guilty, but the trial process can help heal the country by separating the innocent from the guilty and by ensuring that Saddam is convicted only for what he actually did.

If the system works fairly, it will be one more step in the creation of a true Iraqi democracy.
12.5.2005 8:27am
Gary McGath (www):
Ramsey Clark gave legal assistance to the Branch Davidians after the Waco atrocity. He deserves credit for that, whatever else he's done.
12.5.2005 10:19am
Ramsey Clark gave legal assistance to the Branch Davidians after the Waco atrocity. He deserves credit for that, whatever else he's done.
That depends. Did Clark actually defend the Davidians or did Clark just use the Davidians to further his own political causes?
12.5.2005 10:26am
Houston Lawyer:
Not every trial has to be run as incompetently as the OJ trial. Today, the Iraqi judge refused to let Clark speak. His reason, the trial is being conducted in Arabic, and Clark can't speak Arabic. Bush haters should note that a great many of Sadaam's crimes have nothing to do with attacks against Iraq. Also, the Iraqis will have an election in a couple of weeks that will give them the only democratically elected government in the Arab world. And I'm sure that some portion of the people elected in this election will be as hostile to the US as some of the posters to this site.
12.5.2005 10:30am
Not every trial has to be run as incompetently as the OJ trial.
The OJ trial wasn't a farce because of defense antics in the courtroom (although some of their courtroom steps stuff crossed the line). It was a farce because the cops and prosecutors bungled the investigation and prosecution. The defense just caught them.

And yes, because of the police and prosecutorial bumbles, a guilty murderer got off. The lesson of that trial is that sloppy work can kill even a strong case.

Let's hope that Saddam's prosecutors do a better job than Marcia Clark did.
12.5.2005 10:53am
dk35 (mail):
Houston Lawyer,

So, are you saying that the US war is justified because there will now be a democratic election? If that is the case, shouldn't we go to war right now against all of the other Arab states to bring about democratic elections? Or do you espouse the "Cheney" principle (i.e. as long as Cheney reaps economic rewards and chooses to shake hands and smile with a dictator, the American people should fall in like sheep and embrace such nations, and as soon as Cheney decides he can reap more economic rewards by eliminating the dictators, we suddenly embrace their overthrow as a fundamentalist Chrisitan inspired, if-you-don't-agree-you're-a-Godless-Communist-traitor moral crusade).

How dare you call other Americans hostile to the US when they are critizing an adminstration that has repeatedly lied to the American people and put thousands of Americans in harm's way, all for the sake of megalomania, fundamentalist Christian bigotry, and greed. You may get away with scapegoating Bush's disaster on political liberals down in Texas, but in the blogosphere you are going to find people like me who tell you that you should be ashamed of yourself.
12.5.2005 11:07am
Visitor Again:
The trial of Sadaam Hussein is a political trial, not the kind public defenders or most criminal defense lawyers are used to trying.

How does anyone know what Sadaam wants as a defense? From what I've read, the prosecutors have the goods on him for at least some of the charges, and it's likely he'll get the death sentence not only because he's guilty but because the new regime won't want him around (much like the Bolsheviks didn't want the Czar and family around after they took power). So why not leave as his legacy the political message Clark will no doubt put forth as part of the defense? How do you know Clark is going against Sadaam's wishes? Or is it your position that the lawyer's judgment as to what is a good defense should always prevail over the defendant's wishes and that Clark's defense is not the defense you would choose to present were you Sadaam's lawyer?

I doubt many lawyers would think Fidel Castro's defense at the Moncada Barracks trial was legally beneficial. But it stood him in good stead a few years later.
12.5.2005 11:16am
Josh Jasper (mail):
I'm surprised no one here ahs noted how short the life span of Saddam's previous lawyers has been. This is a dangerous job for Clark.
12.5.2005 11:45am

Clients don't get to control every aspect of their cases. I have refused to raise issues that I thought were legally irrelevant. All good defense attorneys do the same thing.

Part of the tribunal's job is to establish the image and reality of propriety in the Iraqi judiciary. It has a duty to insist that Saddam's lawyers follow procedure and remain respectful. His lawyers have a duty to argue both forcefully and respectfully. If they can't handle the "respectfully" part, they are in the wrong profession.

Saddam's lawyers are right to question the tribunal's jurisdiction, and the tribunal should give Saddam one chance to argue the subject in writing and in open court. But after giving a fair hearing on the question, the tribunal should immediately shut down any further argument on the subject.
12.5.2005 12:03pm
Houston Lawyer:

You make me laugh. Is that supposed to be a rebuttal?

While it is true that we have found no WMDs in Iraq, only the truly hysterical believe that the Bush administration didn't believe that they were actually there. I'm still trying to figure out how the great evil overlord "Cheney" managed to profit from this war. We all know that his powers are all consuming and that he is not even bound by the laws of gravity. In addition, it's news to me that we have been conducting the Spanish Inquisition over in Iraq. Can you tell me exactly how many Muslims we've converted, I'm not privy to that information.

There are many legitimate criticisms that may be made of this war and the administration's handling of it. They don't involve conspiracies that would make Lyndon LaRouche proud.
12.5.2005 12:09pm
dk35 (mail):
Houston Lawyer,

1) In poll after poll in recent months, the majority of the American people think that Bush lied. A much higher percentage than those who follow Lyndon LaRouche. Sorry. The majority of Americans are not hysterical about this...they are finally waking up.

2) You don't seriously claim that Haliburton is not profiting from this escapade, do you?

3) I'm not saying that Bush's crusade (his word, not mine) is going to work. I'm saying that many fundamentalist Christians probably view this as a "good opportunity."

I certainly don't mean to make anyone laugh, as Americans are dying almost every day in Iraq due to Bush's war.
12.5.2005 12:18pm
It's interesting that some are turning this into a thread about whether it was wise to invade Iraq. The real question is whether this tribunal can try Saddam for his crimes, and whether Saddam is in fact guilty.

Does anyone believe that the tribunal shouldn't try Saddam or that Saddam is not guilty?
12.5.2005 12:32pm
Humble Law Student:
Public Defender,

It would be interesting to hear from someone who thinks that Saddam shouldn't be tried by the tribunal (and not because they doubt its legitimacy by arguing that the war was illegal and that Iraq is under occupation, etc.)

Anyone for the trial at the Hague?
12.5.2005 1:08pm
Humble Law Student:

By the way, I just noticed your earlier post. I have spent some considerable time in Iraq working with an NGO. So, while I was never directly in harms way like our soldiers, I have put myself in the proverbial line of fire. So, shut up kindly!
12.5.2005 1:11pm
Visitor Again:
Public Defender,

Clients don't get to control every aspect of their cases. I have refused to raise issues that I thought were legally irrelevant. All good defense attorneys do the same thing.

In political cases, a lawyer who refuses to raise issues the client is serious about raising wouldn't be hired in the first place. I've tried a few political cases. If the issue was important to our clients, I and my colleagues tried to find ways to make it legally relevant, as all good political lawyers would. It was not always possible, of course, but we always recognized that the doctrine of legal relevance is the way the powers-that-be control the contours of what may be raised in a courtroom. The general rule is that nothing that challenges or threatens the legitimacy of the system is legally relevant.
12.5.2005 1:21pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Ramsey Clark will be a Michael Moore on steriods.

Don't you mean "Michael Moore on Fen-Phen?"
12.5.2005 1:39pm
In political cases, a lawyer who refuses to raise issues the client is serious about raising wouldn't be hired in the first place.
That's one advantage of my position. If a client fires me because I won't cross an ethical line, I still get paid and I still have a long line of people who want to be my clients.
I've tried a few political cases. If the issue was important to our clients, I and my colleagues tried to find ways to make it legally relevant, as all good political lawyers would. It was not always possible, of course, but we always recognized that the doctrine of legal relevance is the way the powers-that-be control the contours of what may be raised in a courtroom. The general rule is that nothing that challenges or threatens the legitimacy of the system is legally relevant.
I use a different approach. After they listen to my advice, my clients get to pick the goal of the litigation (a new trial, withdrawing their plea, a new sentencing hearing, etc.), but I pick the best way to get there. If they don't like that, they can fire me.

Good judges would let you make your legitimacy arguments in a motion to dismiss, but then they would ruthlessly shut you down if you tried to raise it during trial.

I guess we'll see if these judges have what it takes.
12.5.2005 1:46pm
tefta (mail):
Saddam is only being charged for murdering a hundred or so people. His trial has nothing to do with the WoT.

Interesting that the judge wouldn't let Clark speak. The rule is only the lead lawyer may speak. Odd Clark didn't know that, or perhaps he thought the rules wouldn't apply to him.
12.5.2005 2:58pm
Reluctant Imperialist (mail):
Hey, dk35, thanks for standing up for "me". Unfortunately, I was caught out soon after. I didn't mean what I said, I just came up with a post as blatantly treasonous as I could ("Americans deserve to die for what they did. It's just a happy irony that it will be an American who injects backbone into the resistance and makes sure they survive as an entity."). I meant to dangle it to draw out what the lefties REALLY thought, because I was tired of hearing the standard "we support the troops but think those who believe in what they're doing are fascists who deserve to die."

You, being the poor deluded sap that you are, imediately stood up for me and signed right on. Thanks! You're a great example, keep up the good work!

By the way, "Public_defender", you're still a poseur. I know it and you know it. You're not a public defender, so quit fronting.
12.5.2005 4:04pm
Visitor Again:
When the court refuses Ramsey Clark permission to speak, he scores political points for Sadaam. Not with you guys, but with a good part of the rest of the world.

The only hope Sadaam has--and it's a faint one--is to make his trial appear to be a grossly unfair put-up job, and I think these folks may accommodate him, although it will take their very highest level of incompetence.
12.5.2005 4:28pm
dk35 (mail):
Reluctant Imperialist,

The ironic thing is that you actually did more to prove the hypocricy of the Right. You proved that right-wingers, when faced with any opinion other than blind support for Bush, immediately resort to accusations of lack of patriotism. Well done!

Humble Law Student,

I will not kindly shut up. Whether or not you worked for an NGO is irrelevant to speaking out against an unjust war.
12.5.2005 4:36pm
Stevethepatentguy (mail) (www):
dk35 look up "Reductio ad absurdum" it might help you to understand the mire you are in.
-Do you believe that Saddam is innocent?
-Do you believe that Iraq would be better off with Saddam in power?
-Do you think Mr. Clark is interested in the guilt or innocense of Saddam?
-Are you willing to see Saddam freed to score points against President Bush?
12.5.2005 5:08pm
Reluctant Imperialist (mail):
Hey, dk35, you agreed with someone who was cheering for the murder of American servicemen. You don't think that demonstrates a "lack of patriotism"?

Not that I really care what you think. Just thought it would be funny to set you and your fellow travellers up, thanks for playing the patsy.
12.5.2005 5:21pm
The Plumber (www):
It doesn't matter what Clark does or doesn't do. Saddam will be hung, cut up into little pieces, and then used as fertilizer (or unceremoniously flushed down the toilet).

dk35, I hope you never shut up.
12.5.2005 5:30pm
dk35 (mail):
Reluctant Imperialist,

If you had written in your initial comment "I am cheering for the murder of American servicemen," I certainly would not have agreed with it. Moving the goal posts isn't a particularly effective tool.

But, now that you bring it up, if anyone is cheering around here, it is you for this war. If it were up to me, the American troops would be out of there right now. It is your cheering that facilitates Bush's immoral act of putting American troops there. Accusing me of being happy for the murder of American servicemen is not only silly (as the accusation is untrue) but also ineffective to absolve you of your part in this unjust war, in that it fails to wipe the blood of innocent Americans and Iraqis off of your hands.

Your questions are entirely irrelevant. The issue in the post has to do with smearing Ramsay Clark personally for bringing up US foreign policy in providing a defense in Saddam Hussein's trial. Considering that US policy is largely to blame for putting Saddam in the position to be able to have done what he did, I would think that any halfway decent lawyer would try to bring this up. The questions you ask have nothing whatsoever to do with this.


I think you're right. And thanks for the encouragement.
12.5.2005 5:55pm
Humble Law Student:

Stop moving the goalposts. My working for an NGO was a perfect rebuttal to the point you had made against me.
12.5.2005 6:39pm
Humble Law Student:

For all of those troops who are over there that support the war, is their own blood on their own hands?

Or what about for civilans (and troops) who volunteer?
12.5.2005 6:42pm
dk35 (mail):
Humble Law Student,

You were not there as an American. You were representing an NGO.

And, American Servicemen are not there voluntarily. They have no choice to to go where their President sends them. And most who enlist in the army do so because we essentially have a system where young people are blackmailed into joining as it is the only way to obtain an education and basic job training. Unfortunately, this system is based on the notion that the President, and his "cheering supporters," act morally and will only send them to war when absolutely necessary to defend this country. My point is that if Bush and his cheering supporters want to go to war for other reasons, they should volunteer to go themselves.
12.5.2005 6:51pm
dk35 (mail):
Our President is not asking for volunteers. Instead, he has enacted a backdoor draft forcing reservists into extended tours of duty.
12.5.2005 6:59pm
Humble Law Student:

Your post is full of half-truths and falsehoods. First, I don't know about you, but when I go to other countries, I go representing America. I guess you are so quick to sell America out, that you wouldn't keep your national identity overseas.

Second, many American servicemen are there voluntarily, as in they signed up TO GO BACK. There are numerous stories on the news about soldiers who elist for the purpose to help out in Iraq, and many who re-enlist because they think the cause is just. Granted, not that they all do. But, your point is a half-truth at best, and I'm being very generous today.

Finally, many go over (as I myself did) because they believe in the rightness of the cause. Many of his cheering supporters are already over there. They are the troops!

So, I take back what I said before. Please don't shut up. You only make it that much easier for the rest of us.
12.5.2005 7:18pm
dk35 (mail):
Humble Law Student,

When you enlist, we'll talk. In the meantime, I note that no one has provided me with a worthy justification for this war. Accusing others of "selling America out" is a pathetic diversionary tactic from the fact that armchair hawks refuse to take responsibility for the deaths that their cheering has brought about. For people so excited about starting wars, your weakness is striking.

I stick to what I said originally. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.
12.5.2005 8:15pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Ramsey Clark is a traitor. Not because he's representing Saddam, but because he actually advocates for hostile actions against U.S. troops in wartime. [I had a link saved to his name among the signatories of the "Second Cairo Declaration", but the site it was on ( is now gone.] A summary of the declaration itself, and his participation in the conference that established it, can be found on a few Socialist Workers' Party-affiliated websites. there are other examples, but I'm not about to spend much time sifting through mere anti-American propaganda pieces for them.

Ian Williams, who wrote regularly for The Nation, skewered Clark (including his competence as a defense lawyer) in a piece on Ramsey Clark, the war criminal's best friend a few years ago.

12.6.2005 12:51am
Ian Williams, who wrote regularly for The Nation, skewered Clark (including his competence as a defense lawyer) in a piece on Ramsey Clark, the war criminal's best friend a few years ago.
His lack of competence makes him one of the "war criminal's worst enemies." Instead of actually defending his clients, Clark focuses on making his clients feel defended. Lawyers who cater to their clients' spiteful whims rather than to their clients' interests are a bane to the legal system and to their clients.

You find lawyers like Clark in all types of practice. They strut and hurl insults, but they generally hurt their clients in the process.
12.6.2005 7:59am
Stevethepatentguy (mail) (www):

Way to avoid the questions.

You state "the issue in the post has to do with smearing Ramsay Clark personally." I believe that Ramsey Clark would answer each of my questions in the affirmative. I believe that most of his defenders, if honest with themselves, would as well.

Your "chicken hawk" and "Haliburton" non-sequitors are used as a dodge to avoid confronting your hostility toward George Bush.

Do you honestly believe that "US policy is largely to blame" for the murder of 143 Shiite Muslims in 1982 in Dujail? Remember that is what he is charged with.

Oh that's right it is all Dick Cheney's fault.
12.6.2005 10:10am