From our editorial today, by the way:
Saddam’s trial had its flaws — not least the former dictator’s thuggish bombast, which will surely continue throughout his appeal. Amnesty International and similarly myopic groups have complained that it didn’t look exactly like business at the Hague. But they are asking that Rome be built in a day. An aggressive and destabilizing tyranny has been replaced by a democracy struggling to walk on its own two feet. It would be nice if the perfectionist critics devoted as much energy to condemning the forces in Iraq and the region that want democracy to fail as they do to nitpicking the legal procedures in Baghdad.
None of this is to minimize the dire challenges that Iraq still faces. The verdict has apparently not “open[ed] the doors of hell” with new sectarian violence, as Saddam’s chief lawyer predicted it would; but violence as usual is bad enough, and threatens to destroy the new Iraq in embryo. With Saddam’s end coming into sight, Iraq’s people have a chance — with our assistance — squarely to face the future. We gave them that chance.