I’m getting increasingly tired of the locution that Saddam “deserves” a fair trial. Yes, yes, he should get a fair trial and then a fair execution. But he deserves nothing, nada, bupkis. I don’t want to get into all of that procedural due process stuff, so let me just say that if we had a machine which could prove with 100% percent certainty that a suspect committed the crime he was accused of, there would be no reason to have trials in this country at all (except, perhaps, as a means of educating the public). We wouldn’t need evidence, Miranda warnings, none of it. Instead, we’d simply plug the guy in, read his brain, and go straight to sentencing. Our legal rights are not and should not be conceived as protections for guilty people. They are necessary safeguards against falsely convicting the innocent. It is never unfair to the guilty if they are convicted without proper due process. The danger is that the system will grow accustomed to such slackness and might falsely convict the innocent. In that sense, circumventing due process is unfair to the rest of us.
Saddam is guilty of crimes too numerous to catalog let alone charge him with. The only thing he deserves is a hot poker. In the eyes of man, God (I presume), and history he deserves nothing but the punishment. In other words, the argument shouldn’t be over what we “owe” Saddam. The argument is over what good can we squeeze out of this meat prop — for the Iraqi people, America and the world. If it helps establish an indpendent judiciary, the rule of law, increased stability in Iraq to give this guy a team of Johnny Cochrans, so be it. But let’s not let the tail wag the dog here. He doesn’t “deserve” a fair trial. He doesn’t deserve a trial at all. He deserves a painful death.