There won’t be many tears shed around the world when Saddam finally heads to the gallows. In my opinion, I’d like to see him hang from the Blackwater Bridge in Fallujah. But that’s not going to happen. However, his inevitable execution will be a major milestone and a significant event for the future of Iraq.
I’m not a huge death penalty advocate, but in Saddam’s case, he certainly qualified for the sentence. His regime killed, tortured, raped and terrorized the Iraqi people and its neighbors for over two decades. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. His campaign of death on the Kurds in 1987 alone claimed the lives of 50,000 to 100,000 Iraqis. He used chemical attacks on both the Kurds and the Iranians. And he massacred a thousand Kuwaitis in 1991. Not to mention approximately 40 of his own relatives were murdered at his order.
The mere fact that Saddam will hang at the hands of Iraqis on Iraqi soil after being tried by an Iraqi Court should serve as a testament to the will of future generations of Iraqis who want a free and just society.
For the Bush administration, this too will close the chapter on one of the original goals of the invasion of 2003 to remove him from power and turn the country over to a liberated Iraq.
The White House will attempt to not overstate the significance of his execution but few can argue that it’s anything less than a major step towards fundamental change in the political landscape. Loyalists will finally have lost their cause.
"Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him, and there will be no review or delay in carrying out the sentence," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.
Undoubtedly there will be a spike in violence and our troops will find themselves in an even more dangerous situation. And just as the toppling of Saddam did not usher in an automatically free and safe Iraq, neither will the execution. But at least the Butcher of Baghdad will get what he deserves and history will be able to look back and say it was the Americans who chose to act when others did not.
I can be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.