Opinion

EDITORIAL

In what will be the first of many trials in Baghdad for Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi Special Tribunal is focusing on a failed assassination attempt on the former president in 1982.

Time magazine’s March 13, 2006 edition featured these telling words by Hussein at the trial: “People have an obligation to report crimes they witness. Is referring a defendant who opened fire at a head of state, no matter what his name is, a crime?”

Hussein, in saying “people”, was referring to the entire 148-person population of Dujail, the small town where the assassination attempt occurred. Clearly, he is admitting to the allegations that he ordered the trial of, and subsequently executed, the entire town.

This stands only as a microcosm of Hussein’s rule in Iraq, according to a 2004 story in The Weekly Standard by Gerard Alexander, because “by a conservative estimate, the [Hussein] regime was killing civilians at an average rate of at least 16,000 a year between 1979 and March 2003.”

March 2003-the 20th, to be exact-was when the U.S.-led invasion on Iraq, and, informally, the Iraq War, began. With the three-year anniversary passing us last week, there is no doubt in our minds that this has been an exhaustive, draining, and in many ways disappointing war. The main goal of the war-to unseat Saddam-was accomplished in the early morning hours of December 14th of that same year, when Hussein was captured in a bunker at a farmhouse near Tikrit. Yet the war has raged on, goals have become vague, and, slowly, President Bush’s approval rating has lost its post-9/11 steam-crashing to the point that we question, with good reason, our administration’s decision-making.

Violence occurs in Iraq en masse every day, but let us not forget that, under a tight-lipped Hussein regime, civilian casualties were slightly worse. Iraqbodycount.net estimates civilian casualties in Iraq since the invasion at between 33,773 and 37,895-or between roughly 11,000 and 12,500 a year-about 5,000 fewer than “conservative estimates” by Saddam.

Is this a bad or good thing? To an extent, it is some of both. While there has been an improvement-and the unseating of Saddam Hussein, in itself, is a positive step-and casualties are down, certain areas in Iraq still rage with unbridled conflict, unnecessary deaths occurring all too often, at their own hands and those of our own forces. We can only hope for a swift, painless end to conflict in Iraq, but know the harsh reality that severe religious and political tension will, in so many ways, always exist.

Yes, the lengthy trial is becoming a circus, being taken over by courtroom theatrics by Hussein and his half brother and co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim, and the War in Iraq continues to drag on endlessly without a clear goal. Yes, Saddam is at trial. Yes, we are aware of failures at war that have accompanied us since invading Iraq in the first place.

War is not kind, but neither is justice. While we have taken steps in the right direction, we must ask: Are we holding Hussein-and ourselves-accountable?

March 28, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The attorneys for University of Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga expect indictments to be ...

Few could have imagined this scenario coming into Saturday’s University of Miami football game at ho ...

Alex Cora’s success hasn’t surprised Miami Hurricanes baseball coach Jim Morris. Cora, according to ...

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday: • Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has an interesting theor ...

Get ready for an avalanche of University of Miami defensive backs and linemen descending on the Hard ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

Behind a historic performance from senior Olga Strantzali, the University of Miami volleyball team b ...

Thirty years ago, the 1987 Hurricanes achieved perfection. This weekend they are back where it all b ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

The Miami women's tennis team opened play Friday at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships Pr ...

The Miami soccer team will conclude its 2017 home slate Sunday against Notre Dame and recognize its ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.