The Big Lie has been exposed again: While the Left preens as the champion of the oppressed, the defender of the weak, and the advocate of liberty, one of its most venerable contemporary exponents, Ramsey Clark, has become the foremost apologist for a blood-spattered dictator. Has Clark betrayed the Left? By no means. He has just revealed yet again that behind the rhetoric of love and peace is a thinly-concealed taste for the boot on the face and the shackles on the mind — tools so favored by the regimes most beloved of the international Left, from Stalin’s Russia to Mao’s China to Saddam’s Iraq.
Clark says he is doing what any good defense lawyer does: taking even the most noxious case, not out of any love for the defendant, but because every man deserves a fair shake. He has thundered: “the idea that you don’t represent someone because they’re awful, if they are, is contrary to the idea of the right to counsel.”
But does Clark actually think Saddam is awful? Clark declared in 2004 that “Saddam Hussein was demonized. … It must be observed that all the rogue states, the victims of the many U.S. interventions and the U.S. captives mutilated, or humiliated as Saddam Hussein has been, are members of the great majority of the world’s population that has beautiful darker skin.”
Does Clark love Saddam only for his “beautiful darker skin”? No, there is much more to it than that: Ramsey Clark has seen the enemy and it is us. The one constant that runs through his career since the Johnson Administration is not the Left’s vaunted but empty quest for justice. Clark’s advocacy for Saddam is of a piece with his defense of Mohammad Daoud al-Owhali, who bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in 1998, killing 213; with his participation in a “Crimes of America” conference in Iran in 1980; and his work for the likes of Nazi war criminals and Slobodan Milosevic.
It has become habitual for all too many Leftists to embrace anyone who is opposed to the United States, and commonplace for Leftists to espouse the totalitarian agenda (and a totalitarian intolerance for dissent that manifests itself today in many ways in the Leftist-controlled mainstream of the America media and academic spheres) in search of the earthly utopia for which they long. Yet the Islamic jihad aims not to establish a just and equitable society in which the state will wither away, but one in which life is hard, punishments are draconian, and mercy is absent — but of course, that is just the kind of society that Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot constructed, to paroxysms of ecstasy from Leftists.
Clark is as ridiculous as Lynne Stewart, lawyer for the blind Egyptian Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Convicted of smuggling messages from Sheikh Omar to his disciples, she explained her actions by saying: “To rid ourselves of the entrenched, voracious type of capitalism that is in this country that perpetuates sexism and racism, I don’t think that can come nonviolently.” The idea of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman as a champion of the struggle against sexism and racism is beyond absurd, but so was Stalin’s self-portrayal in the 1930s as a beloved figure leading his people to a just society — yet New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who spiked stories of the Stalin-induced Ukrainian famine, and others were all too happy to peddle the myth.
Saddam, of course, is no Sheikh Omar. With his mistresses, Sinatra records, and liquor cabinet, Saddam’s Islamic bona fides were always suspect to the most devout among his citizens, try as he might to use the language of jihad to fire up support for his regime in its dark days, as well as in its last days. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that he is a bona fide anti-American — and a ruler who did not hesitate to unsheathe the sword against his enemies.
That was probably all that Ramsey Clark needed to know before he caught the next plane to Baghdad.