Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. — an Iraq War vet — blasted Donald Trump’s praise of Saddam Hussein at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, Tuesday.
“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? … But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” Trump said. “They didn’t read ’em the rights. They didn’t talk. They were a terrorist, it was over.”
In a statement, Moulton said he takes Trump’s “latest piece of bile personally.”
“Whether you agreed or disagreed with the Iraq War, here’s a sentence you would never hear from someone who served there: ‘Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, but …’ There is no ‘but,'” Moulton said. “He [Saddam] was one of the worst dictators of the 20th century — a highly exclusive club whose membership required a commitment to evil and an exceedingly high body count.”
Moulton said that “praising the leadership of an enemy combatant directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service members” is beyond the pale. “Some of these service members, as well as the thousands who gave their lives in the years after Saddam Hussein met his own deserved end, were my friends. All of them were 10 times the men and women that Trump could ever hope to be.”
Human Rights Watch estimated in 2004 that in the last 25 years of Saddam’s Baath Party rule, his government murdered or disappeared a quarter of a million Iraqis. This figure does not include the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed fighting Iran or during the occupation of Kuwait, both which occurred under his rule.
Human Rights Watch said that about 100,000 Kurds were slaughtered by his government during the 1988 Anfal genocide in northern Iraq.
Mass graves are still being uncovered. In 2011 one was found with more than 800 bodies in it, thought to have been from executions during Saddam’s regime. In 2003 a grave was found containing 3,000 bodies.
Hussein was executed by hanging after a criminal trial on Dec. 30, 2006.