A pathological, murdering sociopath was strung up like a … well, like a dictator about to be hung.
Saddam Hussein, the "Butcher of Baghdad," was taken to a prison that he once used to torture innocent Iraqi civilians, had a large rope placed around his neck and, with more dignity then he ever gave the thousands he had murdered, was executed. He got a fair and somewhat strange trial. In the end, all that needs to be said is that he was a very bad man who deserved to die.
Now, just like every other subject or issue in Iraq, the hanging/execution of Saddam is complicated. Someone snuck a cell phone camera into the event and recorded it, and then, of course, put it all on the Internet. Nice, or not so nice, depending on your point of view.
On the video, the Shiia masked guards were seen and heard taunting the Sunni Saddam right before his life was ended. Justice was served. Of course, depending on the viewer's ethnicity or religion, justice can be seen differently. Add to this view the demonstrated incompetence of the Iraqi Government, lead currently by Maliki, and you get more fuel on the fire and chaos that is Iraq.
This was all so unnecessary.
How about some basic public relations? How about telling the world what you are doing and getting representatives from places like the U.N. to witness what you are doing? How about not killing the guy during the most holy of seasons for your own Muslim religion?
Question: Who does not get the religious aspects of this war? Answer: the Iraqi and U.S. governments.
Please do not believe that we had nothing to do with this; we still own Iraq and we still have the ultimate power of an occupier. The Iraqi government needed help to secure the hanging site, and we did not have to release Saddam until conditions were what we wanted.
Now, because we didn't exercise control, what should have been a righteous execution is now muddled with Shiite, Sunni and news coverage controversy. Like everything else in Iraq, instead of clarity, we got chaos. You would think that hanging a murderer, who was tried by his own country, could have done some good, but, alas, the opposite has come to pass.
I'm not sure how many more chances we are going to get to make Iraq right, but I don't think it is a lot.
Colonel David Hunt has over 29 years of military experience, including extensive operational experience in Special Operations, Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Operations. You can read his complete bio here.