What happens when Iraqis inevitably replace the current bunch who've assumed power? Will they be justified in prosecuting Maliki and Talibani for their own death squad militias, and for the violence and killing they've ordered against Iraqi communities who rose up in opposition to their manufactured rule?
Will Bush really stand by and let "Iraqis decide" whose leader's killing of innocents is acceptable and whose should be prosecuted? How do we separate Saddam's responsibility for the killing of Iraqi innocents out of vengeance from Bush's own deadly decision to invade and occupy Iraq as a demonstration of U.S. military might and resolve? How are Bush and Maliki any less responsible for the killing of innocents in Iraq?
Obviously, I don't think they are any less responsible. I suspect the majority of Iraqis hold them just as responsible as well. They just don't have the means - as the U.S. sponsored Iraqi tribunal did - to gather these pretenders together, lock them in a cage in a mock court, and pile on the accusations to convict them under specially arranged rules of law.
One day they will find a way to turn the tables on these usurpers. It's just a matter of time and determination. In the meantime, it's a race to the moral bottom as this cobbled regime struggles to touch ground and consolidate their contrived power.
"We are reminded today of how far the Iraqi people have come since the end of Saddam Hussein's rule," Bush said in his statement on Saddam's hanging. "The progress they have made would not have been possible without the continued service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform," he said.
The members of the new regime who put Saddam to death fear our soldiers' departure because it will draw them closer to the judgment of the Iraqis they've been trying to intimidate into obedience behind the sacrifices of our beleaguered forces. What was good for one dictator will likely serve, as well, for the next. It's a poor precedent for a government so desperately in need of reconciliation for its survival.
The hanging of Saddam is yet another measure of the short-sightedness of Bush's Iraq folly. These leaders who've assumed authority over Iraqis don't care how many bodies they allow to pile up, just as long as they can continue to lord over everyone they consider beneath them. The killing needs to end. These leaders so obsessed with hanging the former dictator are clearly not interested in stopping it.