Sunday, December 14, 2003

Gotcha:I, like many people, woke up to the news that Saddam was captured. Looking at that first photo all I can say is, wow, did he really let himself go. While it is good to see this tryant brought to justice, I feel a strange unease. I'm glad to see the shouts of joy from Iraqis who lived for decades under his oppressive rule. However, I'm not certain that this will end the current insurgency against the Americans. From intial reports it looks like Saddam was not heading this guerilla war against us, he was more of a symbol. Another question is how will Saddam be tried? The Iraqi governing council wants to have Iraqis try him. Others are calling for a Hauge-style international court. I tend to favor a hybrid model of the two. Yes, Saddam hurt his own popualation, but his brutal use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988 and the slaughter of Kurds and Southern Shiite Arabs in 1991 would be considered war crimes and affect all of humanity. As someone on NPR said, we need to make sure that Saddam has a fair trial in order for history to not leave any doubt for revisionists to slip in and paint Saddam as a martyr.

It will also be interesting rto see if Saddam will talk about any weapons of mass destruction. I have my doubts there are any, but at least they have the chance to know for sure. The interesting thing is that the Bush Administration seems to be making this the raison d'etre of the reason we are in Iraq. But this was about WMDs, not Saddam. Or was it? The hawks seem to have several reasons for attacking Iraq. If he doesn't say anything about WMDs or says that they were long disposed of, what does that mean?

This capture also poses questions for the anti-war camp. The hawks will say that those who opposed the war did not care about the Iraqi people who suffered under this brutal tyrant. I don't think that is the case for the most part, but it will be made and hard to refute. While I had my disagreements with them, I think the anti-war people were right to say the ends don't justify the means. Yes, we have brought down a brutal regime, but we did it by using preventive war without, at this time, any solid evidence of a threat, and by upsetting the half-century long alliance with Europe.

All in all, an extraordinary day.


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