I see a little debate starting up among the nitpicking contingents about
whether or not it wouldn’t have been better to take the Hussein boys alive.
Here’s my two cents’ worth: we did absolutely the right thing.
There were just too many downsides to having them alive–not least the
nonzero probability of their escaping and thereby making us (a) start over
with them, and (b) look like moon-booted doofuses (doofi?).
Even from the intelligence point of view, it might have been better to off
them quickly, before they had the chance to destroy or hand away important
Worst of all though, the problem with keeping them alive is: WHAT DO YOU DO
WITH THEM? Given modern sensibilities, they’re going to end up with comfy
cells, celebrity lawyers, and megabuck book deals. No, no, no, no, no.
(There might, of course, be the prospect of Nuremberg-type trials, in Iraq
itself. This “victors’ justice” always smells bad to me, though. It would
smell bad to a lot of Iraqis, too, given that the _actual_ victor in the
recent war was the US of A, and any Iraqis conducting or participating in
such trials would be doing so on the backs of our war effort. There’s a lot
to be said for summary execution. I would have applied it to Goering, Tojo
& Co., too.)