Two takes on Saddam

Saturday, December 10th, 2005 11:51 am by Neal

These two articles look at mass-murderer and dictator Saddam Hussein from different angles. Charles Krauthammer, in Saddam Belongs in a Glass Booth, rips the Bush administration on its bungling of the Hussein trial.

“This has become a platform for Saddam to show himself as a caged lion when really he was a mouse in a hole,” said Vice President Ghazi Yawar. “I don’t know who is the genius who is producing this farce. It’s a political process. It’s a comedy show.”

What kind of message does that send to Iraqis who have been endlessly told that Saddam and his regime were finished? “The performance has heartened his followers,” writes The Washington Post’s Doug Struck from Baghdad. “In Tikrit … a large crowd of demonstrators chanted their loyalty on Tuesday. Several marchers said they were emboldened by his courtroom bravado.”

Now that Saddam has walked out, the administration needs to sieze this opportunity to ensure that, in his next courtroom appearance, he’s not allowed to run the show. Can you imagine an American trial where the defendant “lectured” the judge? Hardly. Read Krauthammer for how we can improve this mess.

While Krauthammer observes Saddam’s current situation, Holman Jenkins contemplates how the world would look had Saddam been allowed to remain in power.

Let’s see: Sanctions have collapsed; the French and Russians are keen on rehabilitating the Iraqi dictator and his military. He benefits from the sharp increase in oil prices, whether or not he still labors under the U.N.’s corrupted and creaky Oil for Food program (most likely it would be gone). The U.S. no-fly zones still exist only on paper, because neighboring countries won’t let our planes fly armed. Kurds in the North and Shiites in the South are either preparing for civil war or seeking coexistence with a resurgent Saddam.

Next, Jenkins addresses Arafat’s death and the nuclear regime in Iran. These are real problems that must be addressed, but thanks to Bush, Hussein is no longer a factor. Plus, our formidable military presence in Iraq tempers both the Palestinians and the Iranians (and the Syrians and Libyans) at this critical time.

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