Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been dead for almost ten years. But his name came alive as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump praised Hussein’s dealing with suspected terrorists.
“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read 'em the rights, they didn't talk. They were a terrorist -- it was over."
Trump has made similar statements in the past. In 2014, he wrote on Twitter that Iraq was more dangerous then than it ever was under Hussein.
“(The) war was a mistake, as I said from the very beginning. Bush and Obama should apologize,” Trump wrote.
FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2006 file photo, former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein sits in court in Baghdad, Iraq, during the "Anfal" trial against him.
However, in 2003, when American forces found Hussein hiding in a hole near the city of Tikrit, Trump appeared to support Hussein’s removal from office.
He told Fox News: “Some people agree and some people don’t agree, but we are there. And if we are there, you have to take down Saddam Hussein. And they have done that, and they did it -- maybe not as quickly as they thought in terms of finding him -- but they found him. And that is a huge day for this country.”
Lukman Faily is a former Iraqi ambassador to the United States. On Twitter he strongly criticized Trump’s statement about Hussein.
“As a diplomat, I tried to keep away from this, but as an Iraqi and a victim of Saddam’s ethnic cleansing…I say get your facts first,” he wrote.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign also criticized Trump. Jake Sullivan is Clinton’s senior policy adviser. He said Trump’s praise for “brutal strongmen” like Hussein “demonstrate how dangerous he would be as Commander-in-Chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
In an interview with Fox News, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan disagreed with Trump’s comment about Hussein.
“He was one of the 20th century’s most-evil people,” Ryan said. “He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons.”
Trump is not likely to be influenced by the criticism. Throughout the campaign he has said he is the person who can best answer the actions of the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq.
I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.
VOA News Writer Chris Hannas reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his reporting for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
ethnic cleansing – n. the practice of removing or killing people who belong to an ethnic group that is different from the ruling group in a country or region
genocide – n. the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political or cultural group