Captured: Good, But So What?

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by David Remer, PoliWatch.Org

I am very glad for the Iraqi people who suffered under Saddam Hussein. I am glad for the American and allied troops who have sacrificed, and their families, that Saddam's capture will give them a brief moment of satisfaction. But, justice applied to the man, and a modicum of revenge satisfied, little else has changed. The power struggle in Iraq will continue to cost American and allied lives. 'Collateral damage', meaning unintended death and maiming of innocent men, women, and children will continue. The draining of billions of tax payer dollars will continue as the occupation in Iraq continues for at least as long as George W. Bush is President, or the President learns the definition of diplomacy abroad. For our troops in Iraq, I am very glad they have something to celebrate, but, it will be a short lived celebration as the fighting continues.

It would appear the capture of Saddam Hussein is of little consequence in the long run with regard to the issues mentioned above. How, by whom, and where Saddam is tried for his crimes, however, is the new controversy facing the U.S. and the world's other nations as we move forward from here. The International Court has no death penalty, only life imprisonment. President Bush and millions of Americans are going to want Saddam's death after proceedings are completed. The Hague is the obvious choice for such a hideous man who has committed horrid crimes against humanity.

But, where will President Bush's administration seek a death penalty, under what jurisdiction, and for what crimes? Now, the issue of whether Hussein had anything to do with the 9/11 atrocity becomes important. If the U.S. hasn't the evidence to make that case, and desires to try Hussein in the U.S., what crimes has Hussein committed within U.S. jurisdiction? If it is to be crimes against humanity, can the U.S. set itself up as a single nation capable and willing to use its military and economic might to try foreign persons for crimes committed in foreign lands? This can and will tear deeply at what diminished diplomatic relations the U.S. has with other important nations around the world. Not being very knowledgeable in international law, I can only wonder and hope there are options under NATO to try the dictator the U.S. supported as a lesser of two evils during the Iraq-Iran war and the Iranian hostage crisis so many years ago.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on December 14, 2003 4:33 PM.

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