7.02.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 27: Saddam has murdered Americans

Many thanks to Dave Kopel, who's forthcoming article on Fahrenheit 9/11 provides many, many factual problems with the film, as well as providing us with a lot of facts. Here he addresses the assertion that Saddam never "murdered" an American:
Fahrenheit asserts that Saddam’s Iraq was a nation that “had never attacked the United States. A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen.” Jake Tapper (ABC News): You declare in the film that Hussein’s regime had never killed an American … Moore: That isn’t what I said. Quote the movie directly. Tapper: What is the quote exactly? Moore: “Murdered.” The government of Iraq did not commit a premeditated murder on an American citizen. I’d like you to point out one. Tapper: If the government of Iraq permitted a terrorist named Abu Nidal who is certainly responsible for killing Americans to have Iraq as a safe haven; if Saddam Hussein funded suicide bombers in Israel who did kill Americans; if the Iraqi police—now this is not a murder but it’s a plan to murder—to assassinate President Bush which at the time merited air strikes from President Clinton once that plot was discovered; does that not belie your claim that the Iraqi government never murdered an American or never had a hand in murdering an American? Moore: No, because nothing you just said is proof that the Iraqi government ever murdered an American citizen. And I am still waiting for you to present that proof. You’re talking about, they provide safe haven for Abu Nidal after the committed these murders, uh, Iraq helps or supports suicide bombers in Israel. I mean the support, you remember the telethon that the Saudis were having? It’s our allies, the Saudis, that have been providing help and aid to the suicide bombers in Israel. That’s the story you should be covering. Why don’t you cover that story? Why don’t you cover it? Note Moore’s extremely careful phrasing of the lines which appear to exonerate Saddam, and Moore’s hyper-legal response to Tapper. In fact, Saddam provided refuge to notorious terrorists who had murdered Americans. Saddam provided a safe haven for Abu Abbas (leader of the hijacking of the ship Achille Lauro and the murder of the elderly American passenger Leon Klinghoffer), for Abu Nidal, and for the 1993 World Trade Center bomb maker, Abdul Rahman Yasin. By law, Saddam therefore was an accessory to the murders. Saddam order his police to murder former American President George Bush when he visited Kuwait City in 1993; they attempted to do so, but failed. In 1991, he ordered his agents to murder the American Ambassador to the Philippines and, separately, to murder the employees of the U.S. Information Service in Manila; they tried, but failed. Yet none of these aggressions against the United States “count” for Moore, because he has carefully framed his verbs and verb tenses to exclude them. According to Laurie Mylroie, a former Harvard professor who served as Bill Clinton's Iraq advisor during the 1992 campaign (during which Vice-Presidential candidate Gore repeatedly castigated incumbent President George H.W. Bush for inaction against Saddam), the ringleader of the World Trade Center bombings, Ramzi Yousef, was working for the Iraqi intelligence service. Laurie Mylroie, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks: A Study of Revenge (N.Y.: HarperCollins, 2d rev. ed. 2001.) But even with Moore’s clever phrasing designed to elide Saddam’s culpability in the murders and attempted murders of Americans, Tapper still catches him with an irrefutable point: Saddam did perpetrate the premeditated murder of Americans. Every victim of every Palestinian terrorist bomber who was funded by Saddam Hussein was the victim of premeditated murder—including the American victims.
(Emphasis mine) Believe it or not, we've only used a small amount of Kopel's facts. We'll link to the article once its published in NRO.