Saddam's Hanging and Future of Iraq

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Saddam in the noose is the subject of My Word.

Look, a logical consequence of capturing Saddam Hussein was that one day somebody was going to hang him or put him in front of a firing squad or turn him over to the guys with the knives. This is the place, after all, that virtually invented the head on the platter as the only way to definitively prove that a certain bad guy was, in fact, dead.

So the idea that Saddam Hussein was going to hang for his crimes didn't come as a shock. And since I have watched Iraq closely for a number of years, I must say it came as no shock that the Shiite segment of Iraq might be the people who most wanted him dead.

Christopher Hitchens, who I admire greatly, has written that Saddam's execution was Iraq's chance to give up its bloody history. With all due respect to Christopher, Iraq blows a chance to give up its bloody past each and every day.

In a county where 50 or 60 tortured and bullet-riddled bodies turn up in the capitol every day — every day — what's one more body? Oh, this is a special body, this Saddam Hussein? Sure, he was the one who led the dead body production machine for two decades or more.

However, having said all that, today's piece in The Wall Street Journal that shows Prime Minister Maliki rushing to get the signatures in place so he could get the hanging done before somebody stepped in to give Saddam a reprieve, as unlikely as that sounds, makes the whole process seem much less like Iraq law in action than a Shiite revenge squad in action.

That's the problem now in Iraq. The Shia are running wild settling old and very legitimate scores, and the Sunnis are fighting back with their weapon of choice: the car bomb in a crowded market.

So now our president is going to surge troops so we can try to stop that revenge cycle, to put it on hold for a few minutes so both sides can catch their breath. OK, but if it continues, at least we can say Iraq has a bloody history, we tried to change things, but Iraqis evidently want to cling to their bloody history. And if so, then so be it. At that point, the only sane thing for us to do is say, OK, adios.

That's My Word.

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