Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death yesterday by the court that has been trying him for, what? The last year or two? Shia Iraqis generally celebrated the verdict; Sunnis generally didn’t. But the appeal of this particular sentence could take another year, and prosecutors are said to be preparing “numerous other cases.” Great. At this pace, Saddam may yet die of natural causes.
As I’ve written before, the whole idea of “trying” Saddam is foolish. His countless crimes are known to the Iraqi people, and the world, beyond the ability of any judicial proceeding to prove or disprove. The only potential question of fact is whether the man in the dock is the tyrant Saddam, and that fact is not disputed.
Saddam should have been shot years ago. A commission of inquiry, not a court, should have been established to interview witnesses and make an official record off Saddam’s reign. Keeping Saddam alive, more or less forever, contributes to keeping the Sunni insurgency alive, more or less forever. At this point, dispensing with Saddam is far more important than treating the Iraqis to “numerous” additional prosecutions.
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