Tony Snow is filling in for John Gibson as host of The Big Story.

Cardinal Renato Martino (search), head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace Department, complained today that American captors besmirched the dignity of Saddam Hussein (search) because they videotaped the despot shortly after plucking him from a reeking hole in the ground.

Said the cardinal: "I felt pity to see this man destroyed... (doctors) looking at his teeth as if he were a cow... seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him."

Wow! Some people will use anything as an excuse to go anti-American.

Let's review the facts:

After the collapse of his regime, Saddam went hiding in rat holes and tenements. No American made him look like a sterno bum. While on the lam, he lugged around millions in stolen money and likely orchestrated the slaughter of a lot of Iraqis and a relatively few Americans. Then our guys found him. And what did they do? Beat him? Toss him from a building? Pound the soles of his feet? Hook him up to electrodes?

Nope: Those were old Saddam tricks. Our guys plucked the lice, ticks and debris from his beard and treated him to luxuries still unavailable to many Iraqis — such as a decent shower, shave, haircut and dental exam.

No people on earth strive as hard as we do to fight humanely. We spent billions this year to spare non-combatants' lives. So why the complaint?

Easy: The cardinal opposed the war, and he's unhappy that each day brings new vindication for George W. Bush. But then again, there's nothing like several hundred thousand mass graves to make the war seem not only justified, but long overdue.

That's My Word.

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