Those who would argue that Saddam tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands, and therefore is deserving of whatever he got are oversimplifying the problem. The issue is not Saddam, nor the way he died.
In a previous article, I made what I felt to be a
compelling case why we should have at least tried to exploit Saddam Hussein's influence among Iraq's Sunni population instead
of handing him over to the hangman to be executed for his crimes.
The Bush Administration articulated from the beginning of the whole execution handover process that the execution of Saddam
was a decision made by a sovereign Iraqi government, in a clear and transparent process, free of American influence or
Bush's speech might play well to his Republican base and Rush Limbaugh's Ditto Heads, but not so well to those we are trying
to convince of our intent; those who are continuing to attack our soldiers; those who will forthwith escalate their attacks
on Americans; those who already viewed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki as a stooge of the US, and his government a tool
of our foreign policy.
It seems clear that al Maliki rushed Hussein's execution. The Iraqi Constitution allowed thirty days from the date the
appeals court rejected Saddam's appeal. Saddam was given less than a handful, to ensure it was over before a holiday, despite
apparent law and custom against this practice.
The execution appeared to have taken place in a darkened stairwell on the upper floor of a building. The building was
reportedly used by Saddam for the same purposes. Everyone present, except one man whose face was blurred, wore black hoods.
Media reports confirmed that in the process of hanging Saddam, he was taunted. He was hung to chants of "Muqtada", a
reference to Shiite murderer and rabble-rouser Muqtada al Sadr. A grainy, cell phone video then surfaced on the Internet,
showing Saddam's final moments.
Collectively, all of these things will feed the perception among Sunnis that Saddam's execution was a hastily crafted
lynching; conducted by Shiite death squads in the pre-dawn darkness. I'm not saying that's what it was, but we certainly
shouldn't be contributing to that perception in any way.
I don't care if you are a liberal, a conservative, a terrorist, a pacifist, or an atheist. You cannot violate the spirit
of the law, while executing someone pursuant to the letter of it, and claim the moral high ground in a battle of good over
Thus is the crux of my continued argument that the Bush Administration lacks the intellectual, moral, and intestinal fortitude
necessary to win in Iraq, and more broadly, against global terror.
I'm not suggesting that we hold the opinions of terrorists in high regard; to the contrary; for the last seven months, I have
been stressing the need for us to escalate our use of force against terrorism, but here's the dilemma when exercising military
If your goal is conquest, then kill your enemies, and get it over with, so our soldiers can come home, and not get embroiled
in a protracted bloodbath between feuding cousins. If your goal is not conquest, then you must win the hearts and minds of
the indigenous people you've invaded, in order to accomplish your objectives. That means all of them, not just the
majority.At some point in the battle for hearts and minds, you have to be cognizant of the perceptions you are feeding, if you are to
be victorious in that battle.
This issue is not as simple as many would like it to be. Just because you take offense with the manner in which this execution
was carried out, does not mean you are "either with us, or with the terrorists". Nobody would have dreamed on September
12th, 2001, that conservatives would be criticizing our --arguably-- conservative President for his myopia, both in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Bush Administration went out of it's way to wash it's hands of Saddam's death. For nearly four years, America has
collectively wished that the Iraqis could stand up, so we could stand down. Well, the Iraqis stood up, and took charge of
their judicial process. In that regard, as I said before, be careful what you wish for.
Those who would argue that Saddam tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands, and therefore is deserving of whatever he got
are oversimplifying the problem. Of course, he did, but the issue is not Saddam, nor the way he died.
The issue is twofold: 1). that we deposed one dictatorship, and we're well on our way to creating yet another, and 2), that
our hypocrisy has just made our mission objectives that much more difficult to obtain. Shiite death squads have now supplanted
the al Qaeda/Sunni partnership as the biggest threat to stability. Add to this, not just the execution of Saddam, but the lack
of dignity of the whole process, and the Sunni minority seems to be in no mood for reconciliation.
Despite all of that, now that Saddam is gone, it is absolutely imperative that we win in Iraq. If we do not prevail Shiite
tribal militias will. If we hastily retreat, that will bring not just civil war, but tribe-on-tribe violence, and eventually
a power vacuum. Dictators fill power vacuums. Withdrawal without a secure Iraq is no longer a viable option.
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.