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re: Nobody Favors Saddam’s Execution


Of course, the Iraqis do favor capital punishment and that’s what matters. His death will be broadly popular, just as the deaths of his sons were. Human Rights Watch is free to lobby against capital punishment, but it is indefensible that Human Rights Watch told the Iraqi tribunal that HRW would withhold evidence it had removed from iraq in 1991 about the chemical attacks on the Iraqi Kurds unless the Tribunal agreed to abandon the death penalty. And, it is rich that so many European governments that once enabled Saddam now take such a stand. Had various governments—the U.S. government included—abandoned their “realist” notions for a few moments and taken a no-nonsense toward Saddam’s human rights abuses in the 1980s, he may not have spun so far out of control. Will there be an upsurge in violence? Terrorists will use it as an excuse—all the better to get media attention and shake confidence—but Baathist insurgents privately say they will be glad to see Saddam go. He long since stopped being an entity. Unrepentant Baathists blame Saddam for their downfall just as unrepentant Communists blame Mikhail Gorbachev. Attacks will continue apace, though, all the more so as Baathists compete to fill the void.


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