One of the old adages about crisis management is when you are in a big hole; the first thing to do is stop digging. Instead of following this adage, Bush and Iraqi President Talabani are exchanging their shovels for heavy equipment. The execution of Saddam Hussein is sure to enrage the Sunni Baathists at a time where what is needed is a general easing of tensions all around. And what will the execution give the Iraqis?
No one cares if Saddam Hussein spends a few additional months or years in prison. There is no group to which one could point that would be prompted to become violent or more violent if he is allowed to live. All of Iraq would understand and appreciate why it was being done.
Talabani has half a dozen or so critical issues with which to deal. His country is falling apart at its sectarian seams. He is not delivering law and order to the citizens of his country. Basic services and infrastructure in Iraq are in shambles. Unemployment in Iraq is estimated at between twenty and sixty percent overall and has reached seventy percent in some areas. Inflation is hovering at approximately fifty percent. Dozens of Militias and factions instead of the police rule most neighborhoods.
What Iraq does NOT need is a reason for one or more groups to become angrier. Yet, this is exactly what the government of Iraq is about to deliver, another reason to be angry and violent. The White House and the British Government are either happy to support this crazy policy, or abdicating any responsibility. According to the article, click here "Iraq prepares for rapid Saddam execution" in the AFP, 'The White House said the verdict marked "a milestone for Iraqi people's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law" ' and 'Key US ally Britain opposes capital punishment on principle, but said the decision on Saddam's execution "is one for the Iraqi authorities".'
What nonsense is this? The British government's response is the worst. They are simultaneously retreating from their principles on capital punishment and from their responsibilities to their troops on the ground in Iraq who will have to bear the direct consequences of any increase in violence from this ludicrous action. The White House response is to be expected. Bush and his administration can be counted on to make the wrong choice on almost every decision upon which they have the chance to act.
Who in the American or British or Iraqi political leadership is going demonstrate having some cognitive abilities and is going to step up and try to stop this?