Saddam Hussein was hanged on December 30, 2006 for crimes against humanity – specifically, for the slaughter of 148 Shiites from the town of Dujail in 1982. So a ruthless, repressive dictator who assassinated his own two sons-in-law, paid cash grants to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, and attempted to obliterate copious amounts of his own people is gone.
But also gone is justice for approximately 180,000 Kurdish victims of Hussein’s Anfal genocide campaign of 1987-1988. Hussein was in the midst of the trial for this operation when he was executed. Gone as well is the opportunity to uncover, investigate, and try him for his whole history of illicit actions. There are innumerable mysteries surrounding his regime, and he should have been forced to testify about his every crime. Furthermore, this zealous and influential autocrat should have been subject to extensive study. Insight into his beliefs, values, and ideas could have greatly aided worldwide efforts in diplomacy, a seemingly uncharted territory for the U.S. in the ideological “War on Terror.”
American citizens must recognize that Hussein’s execution is not a milestone to celebrate. It accomplished very little, if anything at all. A powerful tyrant and extremist may have been annihilated, but it’s highly questionable whether Iraq is going to be any better off without him. Hussein’s followers among the Baathist party and the Sunnis are declaring him a martyr and hero of Arab nationalism; they’re launching uprisings, and sectarian battles are raging. Clearly, Hussein’s death hasn’t extinguished his influence.
The hasty and injudicious trial is an appropriate representation of the mess that the Bush Administration has made in Iraq. It was al-Maliki’s government that handled the proceedings, but the Bush Administration should have been able to intervene, as it does in the country’s other affairs. Simply put, this war is a horrific disaster. Both Iraqi civilians and American troops continue to suffer tremendous casualties, and the likelihood of political stability in the near future looks grim at best. In a Presidential Address on January 10, 2007, President Bush conceded that the situation in Iraq is “unacceptable” and his “responsibility.” He consequently announced that he wishes to deport 21,500 additional troops to Iraq as part of a new strategy that he hopes will “bring us closer to success.” Nonetheless, he warned that “deadly acts of violence will continue.” It seems that President Bush has finally got something right. There is no easy way out or solution to this catastrophe of a war. With a troop surge or an eventual withdrawal, our country will be paying the price of this inexcusable war for a very long time. No doubt, we’ll be asking ourselves why on earth the Bush Administration led us into this war in the first place for even longer.
Also, let’s not forget that Osama bin Laden and the majority of his al-Qaeda operatives are still on the loose. You might recall that they’re proven national security threats, unlike Saddam Hussein. Also of note: Iran, as opposed to Iraq undoubtedly is developing weapons of mass destruction.
It’s safe to say, with these things in mind, that none of us should be sleeping any more soundly at night because Saddam is gone.
Victoria Genuardi is a freshman majoring in communications. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.