Topic category: Other/General
Let's Not Throw Out The Baby With The Ba'athwater
And so, with the imminent execution of Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, the end of 35 years of thuggery and a 24 year stranglehold on Iraq is near. With his appeals now exhausted, Saddam is set to hang for some of his crimes. This will probably result in some measure of justice for many of his victims, but for many others, the pain of not knowing what happened to their loved ones will remain.
Word is, that Saddam could swing to and fro' in a matter of hours. As the old saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, eventually you're gonna get fleas. Saddam may have been a sitting head of state, but his reign of terror is about to end with a whimper; swaying lightly in the breeze from the end of a noose.
His attorneys have been stressing for months that if Saddam is executed, there will be reprisal killings by loyal Ba'ath Party members.
Millions of Iraqis --along with millions of Americans-- are no doubt rejoicing at the prospect of Saddam's execution. Despite the many justifications for handing Saddam over to the hangman, this is the perfect opportunity for the US to show the world it can be just and merciful, while defusing the situation in Iraq at the same time.
Given the current situation in Iraq, Saddam is currently worth much more to us alive than dead. I can hear fellow Conservatives howling across the country, but let me explain.
We allow Saddam to live out his remaining days in a cell. Somewhere inaccessible and secure. He is allowed to continue breathing under stringent conditions.
First, he participates fully in bringing Sunnis to the bargaining table, and convinces them to forsake violence and invest in the political process. He does his damnedest to help Iraqis heal their divisions, or he swings.
Second, he cooperates fully and tells us what became of his weapons programs that we know existed. He publicly identifies all Iraqi weapons program scientists, and any others connected with the programs. He also must attempt to account for all of his victims. As many prisoners and executions as he can, including Iranians from the Iran/Iraq war. He spills it all, or he swings.
And finally, he gives the family of Michael Scott Speichert some peace by telling them personally, once and for all, what happened to their son, after he was shot down in the opening night of the first gulf war. He given them comfort, or he swings.
Sparing Saddam's life would have many more benefits than drawbacks.
First and foremost, it would blunt any international criticism, whether it be European, UN, or Arab. Arabs couldn't use Saddam's execution as an excuse to recruit terrorists, kill any nuns, or rape any infidels, and the French couldn't use US brutality to distract from it's declining world influence and massive social upheaval.
Secondly, it would promote reunification and healing. The US would lead by example, which is what the world expects of us. There's a possibility that Sunnis could lay down their arms at Saddam's request.
The biggest foreseeable drawback is that by allowing Saddam to live, the majority Shia may feel a sense of injustice at having Saddam escape his date with the gallows, and they may feel betrayed by the US flip-flop, but if the killing is to ever end, someone must consciously choose to spare the life of another, and it must become contagious. The Shia could do that by sparing Saddam.
It is probably too late --and a really bad idea-- to interfere in the Iraqi justice system, or to refuse to hand over Saddam, but it would be in our best interests to try and convince Iraqis to spare his life. Given the threat of Sunni violence upon his death, why should we make US troops targets? Spare his life, and we stay. Execute him and we leave, it's that simple.
With all of the mistakes the Bush Administration has made with foreign policy in general, and Iraq in particular, there haven't been many opportunities to seize the initiative, or win the hearts and minds of Sunni or Saudi skeptics. When such an opportunity presents itself, as it does now, it must be exploited. Let's not throw out the baby with the Ba'athwater.
Biography - Jayme Evans
Jayme Evans is a veteran of the United States Navy, a military analyst, conservative opinion columnist, and an advocate for disabled and other veterans. He has served for many years as a Subject Matter Expert specializing in the testing of systems software for numerous major US organizations. He has extensively studied amateur astronomy and metallurgy, as well as military and US history. His brutally honest, in-your-face political commentary has been published in many west coast newspapers, and he is a regular contributing columnist to a multitude of internet sites, including WebCommentary.com, The Conservative Voice, and Conservative Crusader. Mr. Evans has also written guest editorials for Military Magazine, and he has been a frequent guest columnist on WorldNetDaily, writing about legislative and veteran's issues.