Gallery of art and thoughts

The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Saddam's fate?

What will happen to Saddam Hussein? When he is found guilty, as he undoubtedly will be, what will be his fate -- life imprisonment or death? Victorino Matus, writing in Policy Review, believes that Iraqis will execute their former dictator, and based on precedent, the results may be gruesome.

The United States has toppled one dictator, but in the Middle East, there is no shortage of them, from the president of Iran to Bashir al-Assad in Syria. If Iraq is to be a haven for democracy in the region, it must be freed of the conditions that allow autocrats to flourish. How to do so?

It's a difficult process. The absence of a large Iraqi military may prevent a coup, but the competing claims of Sunnis and Shiites are preventing the two peoples from working together. The American military has neutralized Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- "Zarqawi and other insurgent leaders drive many miles every day to escape the coalition and Iraqi forces constantly chasing them," Frederick W. Kagan writes, also in Policy Review. However, Zarqawi's mere presence in the country shows that terrorism remains a threat.

However well-intentioned, the calls of politicians like Rep. John Murtha for withdrawal from Iraq cannot be heeded. The objective upon which the US staked itself in the Second Gulf War -- not simply defeating Saddam, but transforming his dictatorship into a democracy -- will require many more years of a stabilizing American presence. That may rankle politicians and the public. But it is the only way to succeed.


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