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Tuesday, January 02, 2007


The flurry of accusations between the left, the right, the Sunnis, the Shi'as and the tin-foil-hat faction over who could have stopped Saddam's execution until better arrangements for security had been made, who was chosen to witness the execution, how cell-phone cameras were allowed in, etc. seems utterly ridiculous.

There are at least 35 different prime-time crime scene investigation shows airing on American television. I'm guessing at least 150,000,000 Americans who watch these televised seminars on interesting ways to kill people and try to hide one's tracks all came to the same conclusion after watching the video:

Uhhhhh. DUH! If only fourteen witnesses were in the room, there's very little mystery about who could have recorded the footage. Any competent junior CSI-er would immediately be taking flashlights or brightly colored string to reconstruct the camera angles represented on the recording, trace them back to the point of the camera, then ask -- WHO WAS STANDING HERE?

If this "investigation" takes longer than 20 minutes to complete, the Iraqi Shi'as in control of most of the government will have destroyed any chance to be trusted by the former ruling Sunni minority, thus sealing the fate of the larger country.

We Americans should have thought through the symbolism of this trial and execution more carefully as well. Yes, after blowing $350 billion on the war, we have a legitimate interest in ensuring Bad Guy #1 doesn't immediately escape after capture. We also owed it to the Iraqis to help provide security for Saddam and the trial itself to keep the circus factor from reaching the logarithmic portion of the scale.

HOWEVER, once Saddam was convicted, we should have requested the Iraqi government to submit a written request to the American military that identified a date / location at which control of Saddam was to be handed over to the Iraqi government and described a process by which the Iraqis would secure the location and conditions of the sentence. The execution itself should have been conducted by Iraqi personnel at an Iraqi controlled facility not co-located with any American military presence. As it is, it APPEARS as though WE handed Saddam over at the very last minute which pretty much makes it look like WE decided when / how the details of the execution would occur rather than the Iraqis.

I don't think ANYONE in our government or military is guilty of ANY actual active "offense" or nefarious motive in letting the Iraqis do this. However, it seems clear no one on our side is thinking this stuff through to ensure we wind up the proper political distance away when our new democratic partner stubs their own toe on issues that truly are their responsibility. Our fingerprints are on enough dumb decisions in Iraq as it is. We don't need THEIR to-be-expected incompetence making us look any worse.