The 800-Pound Guerrilla in The Room

by Clifford D. May

Charles Krauthammer slams the incompetence of Saddam Hussien’s trial which has been jiu-jitsued into a prosecution of the U.S.

There hasn’t been such judicial incompetence since Judge Ito and the O.J. trial. We can excuse the Iraqis, who are new to all this and justifiably terrified of retribution. But there is no excusing the Bush administration, which had Hussein in custody for two years and had even longer to think about putting on a trial that would not become a star turn for a defeated enemy. …

Why have we given him control of the stage? We all remember the picture of him pulled out of his spider hole. That should be the Saddam Hussein we put on trial. Instead, with every appearance, he dresses more regally, emerging from cowering captive to ordinary prisoner to dictator on temporary leave. Now he carries on as legitimate and imperious head of state. He plays the benign father of his country, calling the judge “son,” then threatens the judge’s life. Hussein shouts, defies, brandishes a Koran. The judge keeps telling him he’s out of order. He disobeys with impunity, the guards not daring to intervene.

What kind of message does that send to Iraqis who have been endlessly told that Hussein and his regime were finished? “The performance has heartened his followers,” writes The Post’s Doug Struck from Baghdad. “In Tikrit . . . a large crowd of demonstrators chanted their loyalty on Tuesday. Several marchers said they were emboldened by his courtroom bravado.”

And what kind of stupid lawyers has the U.S. had advising the Iraqis on this? Why didn’t we send McCarthy and Levin?

One more thing: I, for one, would have liked to see — not torture — but sufficient “stress and duress” applied to induce Saddam to tell us what he did with his WMDs. But no, we couldn’t do that, could we? Instead, we had to show the world how magnanimous we are with the mass murderer. And we sure have gotten loads of credit for that, haven’t we?