Saddam Hussein testified Wednesday for the first time at his trial, calling on Iraqis to stop a bloody wave of sectarian violence and instead fight American troops, prompting the chief judge to close the courtroom after declaring Saddam was making political speeches.
Even as the judge repeatedly yelled at Saddam to stop, the deposed leader read from a prepared text, insisting he was still Iraq's president. Read more.
Do you think the judge was justified in shutting the courtroom to the public?
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and jump into the debate.
Check out what FOX Fans are saying:
“Yes, in fact, they should take a page from the Nuremberg Trials and put him in a glass box!” — Dave
“Gene is way off in saying 'just hang him.' This government has to show the trappings of government and that means carrying the trial through to its legal conclusion. The judge was definitely in order when he cut off the media because Saddam was spouting things intended only for the media and intended to provoke civil unrest. It had nothing at all to do with the trial or the charges against him.” — Bob
“It's too bad the U.S. didn't just shoot Saddam when they had the chance. Now we are spending lots of money to maintain him, so that he can make every effort to make us look like the bad guys. The judge should show some courage and put a muzzle on him and get this so-called trial over with.” — A.J. (Ketchikan, AK)
“Saddam is a total coward. Even his sons had more guts than he does. What's going on now is a waste of money and is continued torture for the Iraqi people. They ought to allow the people to hang him in the middle of town square.” — Mike (Scottsdale, AZ)
“The whole thing is a joke. Does it not seem that Iraq AND the U.S. were better off before we sent in our troops. Are there not more lives lost and more injuries today than when Saddam was in power? We should never have started this war.” — Mona
“The trial is for show; he will be convicted and executed. They will then shovel his lifeless carcass into a hole in the sand and fill it in, with no marker. Let it be said, as it was after the hanging of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, '...and let us hear their names no more.'" — Roger (Lilburn, GA)
“They need to dethrone Saddam — remove the silk business suit and put him in prison orange, with chains on his feet and hands and control his actions — just like any other violent felon. The longer Saddam remains a potential Sunni leadership figure, the more inspiration he gives to the radical element.” — Pos
“We had better get this trial over with before the prosecutors get in trouble for stepping on Saddam’s rights and then have to let him off because they made a mistake. As usual, the accused have more rights than the victims. If the victims have no venue for political statements, then neither should the accused. Whatever happened to contempt?” — RM
“There should be a complete media lockdown on the Saddam trial. No cameras and no reporters, only justice.” — Luke (UT)
“I think this trial should be moved to The Hague and the World Court. The strain is proving too much for Iraq to handle.” — Jim (Las Vegas, NV)
“During his trial for the 1923 ‘Beer Hall Putsch,’ Hitler took control of the proceedings to blame the Weimar Republic for the nation’s woes and place the guilt for Germany's defeat in World War II on a 'stab in the back' by liberals and communists. This trial provided an otherwise obscure fringe politician a forum, and Hitler used it to promote his name and the beginnings of his Nazi ideology throughout Germany. Saddam is trying to use his trial in a similar manner, to promote Sunni resistance. The court must take control of Saddam’s trial, or it will become a humiliating defeat for democracy and the rule of law, no matter what the final verdict.” — Steven
“Saddam’s trial is political correctness run amok. I’m not a card-carrying GOP member, but anyone with a brain understands what Saddam did to so many thousands of innocent people. He deserves a fair trial, but he doesn't deserve a venue that makes our troops’ lives even more difficult than they already are.” — Claire (Pike, NH)
“Saddam can use his time to defend himself, or waste it making news. In my work as a military investigator, I would conclude he has no defense, and so he is not going to answer questions directly. I am not familiar with the legal system there, but I have doubt that the judges are impressed with him. The sessions should just be covered by a camera, with edited sound bites. There is no obligation to let Saddam continue his speeches.” — Robert (Madison, WI)
“This trial is a waste of time and money! Everyone in the whole world knows he is a killer, just hang him and get it over with. I think this would help stabilize the region.” — Gene
“This trial should have never been public in the first place. Doing so has turned a courtroom into a circus. Saddam has used the cameras and reporters as a way to captivate the citizens of Iraq and subject them to frighten them with his rants and raves. I’m sure people will say that the trial had to be public so everyone could see it was ‘fair,’ but it’s only fair if the judge is the one running the show, not the defendant.” — Dan
“Yes, the judge was more than justified in banning the public. It’s about time they stopped providing Saddam and his defense with a venue to distract the affairs of the court. Let’s get on with it for heaven's sake and let the chips fall where they may.” — Mike
“The judge should NOT be allowed to pick and choose moments to lock the public out. There is no middle ground! Either the trial and the process are transparent, or they are not. I believe this sends a signal of unfairness that will only strengthen the international community’s cries that the trial is unjust and unfair.” — Syd (Locust Valley, NY)
“Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Who decided to hold one day of proceedings followed by weeks of adjournment? At this rate, the trial will not be concluded until 2043. What a joke! I’ve seen things on 'Saturday Night Live' and 'The Daily Show' that are more believable than this ‘trial.’ — Dawn (CT)
“Yes, close the doors. Better yet, the judge should remove Saddam from court after one warning.” — Berth
“The public should always be banned. In fact, the media should not even report on Saddam’s grandstanding. Without an audience it is worthless, just like him.” — Anthony
“I don't think Saddam has the right to make speeches. They should make him keep quiet unless he is directly asked a question. Then he should answer it and sit down and shut up.” — Terrie
“I think the judge would be justified in sticking a sock in Saddam 'Insane's' mouth and telling him to be a nice boy. If he doesn't, then take him out back and shoot him and send a bill for the cost of the bullet to his family.” — Gary (Fairborn, OH)
“Shutting out the public in Saddam's trial will cause more problems in Iraq. That fragile government is already a joke, and is not anywhere near free and open. Democracy it is NOT.” — Richard
“Keep the public (read: liberal, agenda-driven media) out! Words and reality are separate and meaningless to both Saddam and some of the mainstream media. Saddam does not deserve the attention of the world stage. Iraq deserves justice! Let it be served.” — Robert
“I believe the judge was justified under the circumstances. A more important question is why people and the press are allowed to sit in on a trial like this in the first place. It sells papers, yes. But until a person (I am not defending him) is found guilty or innocent, the information should not be available to the media.” — Howard
“I feel this trial should have been a closed session from day one. This is an explosive political arena and Saddam is taking full advantage. He has used every opportunity, including making things up to attack America and its allies. The drama has been tailored for the press and we have eaten it up. The rants, atrocities, and sentencing should have been released when all was said and done. The drama aside, security interests alone should have been enough to close the proceedings to the public.” — CMB
“This trail must proceed quickly and not be allowed to drag on for years. Justice demands a timely and fair trial.” — Poole