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December 14, 2003

Comments

1. Have the US military detain him and debrief him for as long as it takes. A month?

2. Turn him over to Governing Council for trial.

3. Get out of the way and watch.

1. Have the US military detain him and debrief him for as long as it takes.

Reasonable enough plan.

A month?

Wild optimism! Bush & Co will not want to see Saddam Hussein publicly on trial, with all he can say about the days when the US was Saddam's friend, until... well, until the Reagan leftovers are out of power.

2. Turn him over to Governing Council for trial.

Turn him over to the Iraqi courts for trial. The governing council has no authority except what the military occupation gives them.

3. Get out of the way and watch.

And give evidence, as required by the court. Would be interesting to see senior names from the Reagan administration in the witness box.

There is the point that Saddam Hussein is guilty of war crimes against the Iranians... shame the US is ideologically opposed to the International Criminal Court, so that Saddam Hussein won't end up there.

"shame the US is ideologically opposed to the International Criminal Court, so that Saddam Hussein won't end up there."

No death penalty in the ICC - and I suspect that, no matter what one's slant is on this, there'd be a consensus that not very many people want this guy to remain alive for any longer than the bare minimum...

Jesurgislac: what exactly do you think that Saddam is going to say about support from previous American administrations that isn't already part of the public record?

Excellent. Weren't they already setting up an Iraqi war crimes-type tribunal? How far along were they?

One down, one to go. I wonder what effect this has on the ground.

my significant other just went to work. I guess I'll learn refugee and asylum law so I pass my final and don't get anyone deported next semester.

Jesurgislac again: that "National Security Archive" page to which you linked is a very thin brew indeed.

We established diplomatic relations with Iraq. So? Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand. So? We only occasionally complained about Iraq's use of chemical weapons. So?

We also established diplomatic relations with China under Mao and Chou--much bigger time tyrants and mass-murderers than Saddam. All sorts of diplomats shook their hands, toasted them, etc. We didn't make as big a deal about Tibet and other human rights violations as we could have.

All part of playing China off against the Soviets. Just as we later played Saddam off against Khomeini. Where is the supposed *crime* in all this?

If we knowing provided Iraq with intelligence or material support that helped him massacre innocent people, that would mean something. But short of that, you're just blowing smoke.

I'm reminded of the words to one of my favorite hymns, although it's not in heavy rotation in the church these days...

"When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?"

"When tyrants tremble in their fear"

Halas, given's the US government's distaste of the ICC, the current way of bringing tyrants to justice seems a little expensive and unmanageable to really make other tyrants than Saddam Hussein tremble in fear.

Jesurgislac: what exactly do you think that Saddam is going to say about support from previous American administrations that isn't already part of the public record?

Who knows? And we may or may not find out. Certainly if there is anything that Saddam Hussein might have to say about his friends from 1980s that isn't a matter of public record - or that would just be highly embarrassing to highly-placed figures in the Bush administration (these are the same people who want to preview Wesley Clark's testimony against Milosevic before it goes public, remember) then Saddam Hussein won't go on public trial until Bush & Co are out of power and can't prevent it.

Jesurgislac: in other words, this is just a combination of wishful thinking and cynicism on your part.

Michael, that hymn is the perfect sentiment for the day. However it happened, it's a rare enough thing for a tyrant like Saddam to be taken out of power and brought to justice in this world--that it is cause for celebration. And in a century full of gruesome tyrants, Saddam was one of the worst--top 10 if not top 5, I would venture to guess.

I don't know whether or not this makes other tyrants tremble. Perhaps any time that someone is not allowed to kill his population indefinitely and with impunity strikes fear into their hearts. But this does not free us from our obligations in Iraq, and until we are freed we can't really afford to go deposing other tyrants. We've made a wreck of many of our alliances, but if we're going to strike fear into tyrants outside of Iraq we badly need the free countries of the world allied, however annoying some of them may be. And not only do we oppose the ICC, a decision that's defensible; we're signing unnecessary non-extradition agreements with some of the worst tyrants on earth to show our opposition.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm begrudging this day. It's partly because it's likely to remain so rare that we should be happy now.

Halas, given's the US government's distaste of the ICC, the current way of bringing tyrants to justice seems a little expensive and unmanageable to really make other tyrants than Saddam Hussein tremble in fear.

Certainly not those tyrants that the US chooses to support.

Ahh, a gloat-free zone. Very refreshing.

I'll second spc67's post that kicked things off.

Thank you, Moe. I cringe at those who take this opportunity to gloat as much as I did looking at Atrios's comment board, which I now admit has been hijacked by people with seriously misplaced priorities.

And I third spc's post. Hope it happens that way.

Jesurgislac: in other words, this is just a combination of wishful thinking and cynicism on your part.

Not wishful thinking, no: for the record, I hope that things do go pretty much as spc67 has outlined them. A month's debriefing, followed by a public trial - a fairly lengthy one, since I would like all of Saddam Hussein's crimes brought up in open court.

But cynical, sure: after three years of Bush & Co, and with their track record when they were Reagan & Co, who wouldn't be cynical?

Well, I figured that everybody needed a break from the partisanship for a while. Never fear, the post slated for tomorrow (hours after this one) will start up the partisan mill again. :)

Regarding Moe's original question the what to do with him question seems to have been answered a few days ago. This site gives a rather precise outline of all the procedures to be followed.

I would not be surprised to hear that the Tribunal Investigating Judges will be involved in the interogations from the outset. Also note that the penalties to be imposed will be according to existing Iraqi penal code. In short, it will be a death sentence.

I wonder if they will try him separately from his henchmen? A trial en masse, with executions following might mitigate some of the pent up retributive violence. On the other hand, it might incite it.

*Moe, you might consider running a "What's your question for Saddam?" post. I haven't quite figured out what question I would ask if I had just one.

/Certainly not those tyrants that the US chooses to support./

Indeed, or the UK. Considering that Tony Blair was the first man to officially acknowledge the capture of Saddam - Why is Mr. Pinochet still free?

In reference to antiwar people being able to sing the hymn without feeling like hypocrits - some of the pro-war people are quite hypocrits in singing it.

Would it be distasteful to suggest an e-bay auction for the priveledge of being the guy that pulls the trigger/throws the switch/pushes in the syringe. It's a win-win. Us evil conservatives can sastify our blood lust and we can use the winning bids to defray the reconstruction costs.

I'm thinking Saddam should be offered exile in exchange for coughing up a satisfactory amount of information. How we'd know that he told anything resembling the truth is, admittedly, a weak point in that position.

My wife asked me where he could possibly be exiled to, that would both be secure and safe (for him). I'm thinking Diego Garcia, or the like: way the hell away from anywhere, and surrounded by U.S. servicemen.

But the Iraqi people really need to be the judges in this issue. They had to live with the bastard for a couple of decades; it's their call. I think they'd want to know:

1) Where the bodies are buried
2) Where did the money go?
3) Who are the key people in the resistance?

The WMD question would be nice to obtain closure on, but I don't think we really need that. Aside from getting them (if any) out of cache and into a safe, controlled environment for destruction.

Interesting array of opinions about the procedure to be followed in trying Saddam Hussein.

In main, though, they agree: the proper course of action is an Iraqi court with international support. That seems sensible enough to me.

"In main, though, they agree: the proper course of action is an Iraqi court with international support. That seems sensible enough to me."

I'm sure that between the USA, Great Britain, Australia and Poland we'll be able to come up with the necessary aid and assistance, yes. :)

Moe, the UK have already said that they will have nothing to do with any trial that could/will end in the death penalty. Nor will the UN. (Australia I don't think have come out and said, but they abolished the death penalty quite a while ago, too.) All respect to Poland, but how many experienced international lawyers do they have?

I saw a headline today that said "Saddam could be executed by July 2004". In my opinion, the gravest mistake that could be made would be to rush through with Saddam's execution. I would like to see a lengthy, thorough, painstaking trial that covers in detail thirty years of a dictator's crimes. The people of Iraq deserve no less. Nor do the Iranians, against whom some of his crimes against humanity were carried out. Indeed, the Kuwaitis may also wish a stake, and there are many other countries with individual citizens who were killed by Saddam Hussein's regime who deserve every chance at the truth.

I'm generally against the death penalty on the pragmatic grounds that there's always the chance in a human legal system of executing an innocent. I freely concede the point that pragmatically, this is not the problem here: the problem here is that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

I am deeply concerned that Bush & Co may decide that executing Saddam Hussein is perfect pre-election broadcast material, and that the trial will be scheduled on a timetable to do with US Presidential elections, and not to do with justice - and justice, by me, involves not just executing Saddam Hussein (he has only one life to pay for all those whom he destroyed) but getting the plain truth about his regime made public in a way which the people of Iraq, and the Iranians, and indeed the rest of the world, can see is fair and clear.

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