Char, that walk of Saddam’s in the Baghdad public square would lead straight to a covey of his Sunni/Ba’athist supporters, and soon enough, we’d have to dig the guy out of another hole and delouse him again. As a college Latin teacher, I’m for the Roman method of dealing with one’s vanquished enemies. Parade Saddam in chains down Pennsylvania Avenue, followed by Bush in a chariot with Karl Rove whispering “Sic transit gloria mundi” into his ear. The parade should include a display of recovered Mesopotamian antiquities as trophies of war (after all, we finally opened the museum to the public after all those years). Follow this with a very public execution, and then sell Saddam’s concubines into slavery. That would get the message across to other tyrants.
Seriously, I’m with Robert Bork, who argues in his new book, Coercing Virtue, that even the Nuremburg Trials, well-intentioned as they were, were a travesty of justice, paving the way for such legal monstrosities as arresting Pinochet in Britain to be tried in Spain for crimes allegedly committed in Chile. Or the International Criminal Court, which, if we signed on, would get Bush jailed for “lying” about Niger yellowcake the next time he went to Belgium. War crimes tribunals are show-crimes tribunals, subject to all the abuses associated with show-crimes trials in totalitarian societies, including today’s Cuba, where they are the norm. There’s typically no proper jurisdiction over the defendant (Saddam’s not an American) and no genuine crimes (unfortunately, what Saddam did was legal in Iraq, because he was the law). We won World War II, and we should simply have shot whatever we could find of the Nazi high command. That’s a proper fate for Saddam. Alternatively, I suppose, we could show him mercy and park him in jail (or on a very small island, as was the Roman way) for the rest of his life. But a trial? No way. Trying Saddam would be an insult to the criminal justice system.