It is definitely good news for the Iraqis. Their future is still uncertain, but a brutal thug of a dictator is now completely out of the picture. Like I said before, one of the positive outcomes of this war was the removal of Saddam. I started out as anti-war because that’s my default position. I believe war is rarely justified and always the last option. However, just before the war started, I flirted with the idea of supporting it because of Saddam. In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to trust the Bush administration on this.
Brian Ulrich captures my sentiments on the news of Saddam’s capture.
Today, the United States military captured one of the worst dictators of the 20th century. He was dug out of a pit on a farm near Tikrit. So much for the man who killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to stay in power, not to mention starting wars of aggression that killed hundreds of thousands more. Say what you will about President Bush’s ultimate intentions in Iraq, but no regime we install will be as bad as Saddam Hussein, and if we play our cards right, when future generations look back they will see this as another example of the U.S. acting in the world as a force for good.
Juan Cole recounts Saddam Hussein’s many atrocities.
I remembered the innocent Jews brutally hung in downtown Baghdad when the Baath came to power in 1968; the fencing with the Shah and the Kurds in the early 1970s; the vicious repression of the Shiites of East Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala in 1977-1980; the internal Baath putsch of 1979, when perhaps a third of the party’s high officials were taken out and shot, so that Saddam could become president; the bloody invasion of Iran in 1980 and the destruction of a whole generation of Iraqi and Iranian young men in the 1980s (at least 500,000 dead, perhaps even more); the Anfal poison gas campaign against the Kurds in 1987-88; Halabja, a city of 70,000 where 5,000 died where they stood, their blood boiling with toxic gases, little children lying in heaps in the street; the rape of Kuwait in 1990-91; the genocide against the Shiites that began in spring of 1991 and continued intermittently thereafter; the destruction of the Marsh Arabs; the assassinations, the black marias, the Fedayee Saddam.
I hope that Saddam is tried by an Iraqi or international court and given the worst possible sentence for his crimes.