Today Charles Krauthammer comes close to understanding the obvious about the Saddam Hussein trial in Iraq:
Although Hussein deserves to be shot like a dog -- or, same thing, like the Ceausescus -- we nonetheless decided to give him a trial. First, to demonstrate the moral superiority of the new Iraq as it struggles to live by the rule of law. Second, and even more important, to bear witness.At least he agrees that Hussein "deserves to be shot like dog" -- this is something many Objectivists have understood all along. But contrary to Krauthammer's claim there's is no justification or need for demonstrating "the moral superiority of the new Iraq" and certainly not via a trial of a mass murderer. Dr. Yaron Brook at ARI states the case most clearly in a press release from December 2003:
"The values compromised or lost by going through an Iraqi trial would be far greater than anything we could possibly gain. By its nature a trial grants the defendant the presumption of innocence. With the evidence of his guilt so overwhelming, how can the Congress, the President or any honest person presume Saddam's innocence? A trial also grants the presumption that there could possibly be some sane defense of mass murder. That presumption should never be allowed. Worst of all, a trial would give Saddam a platform to address the world while under the presumption of innocence--an unconscionable concession to evil.**
"Saddam is guilty of killing hundreds of American soldiers; he's guilty of initiating a war against the Kuwaitis; and he's guilty of murdering hundreds of thousands of his own people. This murderer deserves a firing squad, and the sooner the better."
Also today Caroline Click of the Jerusalem Post made this interesting point in her column "Arik and Iraq":
I would have to agree that it's difficult to see how Iraq can be stabilized without initiating military action against Iran and Syria, yet I don't really see this administration doing so, unless Syria or more likely Iran provides a clear provocation. This is unfortunately necessary as our government refuses to consider all previous interaction with Iran as sufficient to justify a military intervention, even though ever since the embassy hostage taking, the Lebanese bombings of our Marine barracks and embassy in Lebanon, as well as hostage taking, the threatening of our publishers for publishing Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses", etc. it would seem we have had plenty of provocation.
Quite simply the president has staked his presidency on the war in Iraq and he cannot afford to accept defeat on that battlefield. At the same time, the political weakening of the administration as a result of the unrelenting attacks on its handling of the war makes it unlikely that Bush will widen the war to include Iran and Syria (or Saudi Arabia) which serve as the principal bases for the terrorists fighting in Iraq. In the absence of a military option against any of these countries, it is difficult to believe that the Americans will be able to win the war in Iraq before the end of Bush's second term.
Bush's successor, regardless of his party affiliation, will not be personally invested in Iraq as Bush is. As a result the next American president will not be able to be counted on to see the war through to victory. In light of this, it cannot be ruled out that the US will depart from Iraq without victory.