Trump praises Iraqi’s Saddam Hussein for killing ‘terrorists’
CHARLOTTE — Donald Trump has praised late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for killing off “terrorists,” reprising previous comments in support of leaders in the Middle East and earning a swift rebuke from White House rival Hillary Clinton.
The US “shouldn’t have destabilised” Iraq, now a hotbed for the Islamic State group 13 years after the US-led invasion, said Trump, who showed lukewarm support for the war before it took place and later opposed it.
“He was a bad guy — really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” Trump told supporters. “They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism,” he added, referring to the prestigious US university.
Shortly after the remarks, Clinton’s campaign pounced on Trump’s apparent support of a strongman, who was hanged in Iraq in 2006 for ordering the sectarian killings of nearly 150 Shiites two decades earlier.
“Tonight, Trump yet again lauded Saddam Hussein as a great killer of terrorists, noting with approval that he never bothered to read anyone their rights. In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism,” Clinton senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan said.
“Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as Commander-in-Chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, did not back Trump when asked about the comments.
Saddam “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there, and he committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy,” Ryan said on Fox News.
Last year, Trump said the world would be “100 percent” better off if Hussein and slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were still in power, adding that human rights abuses are “worse than they ever were” in Iraq and Libya.
“I mean, look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Iraq used to be no terrorists. He (Saddam) would kill the terrorists immediately, which is like now it’s the Harvard of terrorism,” Trump said at the time. “If you look at Iraq from years ago, I’m not saying he was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now.”
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said yesterday that Trump confirms his belief that Trump isn’t qualified to be president “every time he speaks”, adding that he was confident Americans would ultimately reject the brash billionaire on election day.
Obama, closing out his final presidential trip to Asia, said his meetings with foreign leaders during the trip had illustrated that governing is “serious business” requiring knowledge, preparation and thought-out policies that can actually be implemented.
He urged Americans not to allow the “outrageous behaviour” seen amid the campaign-season din to become the new normal.
“The most important thing for the public and the Press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions to what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright whacky ideas,” Obama said.
Throughout the campaign, Obama has repeatedly denounced Trump and deemed him “unfit” to serve as commander-in-chief, while arguing that his controversial positions and comments are a step beyond what Republican nominees have embraced in the past. — AFP