Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How Many Will Die For Saddam?

It's a foregone conclusion that Saddam Hussein will be executed very soon. His appeal from his death sentence conviction dismissed, Iraqi law seems to say he must be hanged within 30-days.

This is a curious law that seems to place execution ahead of considerations of justice. For example, what if the condemned's presence is necessary for the resolution of another court case? What if the government services have some further need of the person? The Iraq law doesn't appear to leave any judicial discretion in the matter. Your appeal is dismissed, you swing.

Of course when Saddam is dropped, his death will probably be the first of many triggered by his executioner. There is no shortage of Iraqis spoiling for a fight, including many Sunni. They're already at each other's throats and Saddam's death will afford just the sort of provocation needed for a wave of killings.

Then there's Saddam's old gang, the Baath Party. Since Saddam was toppled, the Baath Party has been outlawed and many of its leaders fled into exile. Now, on a web site believed to be run out of Yemen, Baathists are threatening to retaliate against US interests worldwide if Saddam is killed.

Appeals have gone out to the leaders of other Arab states to intervene on behalf of clemency for Saddam but it's not very likely that he'll be alive long enough for that to make any difference to the outcome.

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