Growing numbers of Iraqis are refusing, with good reason, to fight for Saddam Hussein. Many of those who are fighting for him are making clear the evil nature of his regime, as President George W. Bush pointed out:
"In the ranks of that regime are men whose idea of courage is to brutalize unarmed prisoners. They wage attacks while posing as civilians. They use real civilians as human shields. They pretend to surrender, then fire on those who show them mercy. This band of war criminals has been put on notice. The day of Iraq's liberation will also be a day of justice."
Serious war crimes, including the murder of prisoners of war and attacks on Iraqi civilians, have been committed by paramilitary forces calling themselves the Saddam Fedayeen. By dressing in civilian clothes or using civilian hostages, the Saddam Fedayeen are trying to force coalition forces to fire on civilians. By using false surrenders as a means of ambushing coalition forces, the Saddam Fedayeen hope to make it dangerous for Iraqi troops to abandon Saddam Hussein.
The Saddam Fedayeen was organized in 1995 by Saddam Hussein's son, Uday. The men under his command include hardened criminals. They are lavishly paid and equipped and receive land and other privileges denied the Iraqi people. The Saddam Fedayeen have committed many atrocities against Iraqi Shi'a Muslims and others considered opponents of the regime. Victims include two hundred women beheaded by the Saddam Fedayeen. Families of the victims were forced to publicly display the heads.
The tactics of terror used by the Saddam Fedayeen and other agents of the regime are making the war more terrible. But they cannot change its outcome. As President Bush put it:
"Day by day Saddam Hussein is losing his grip on Iraq. Day by day the Iraqi people are closer to freedom."
When that day comes, those who have committed war crimes and crimes against the Iraqi people will be brought to account.