Saddam Hussein was no good guy. Still, I find it an unpleasant outcome to hear he is sentenced to hang. This is not likely to improve our image in Europe where the death penalty is seen as barbaric. Nor is it likely to stem the tide of bloodshed in Iraq’s emerging civil war.

It’s also an unusual sentence. Usually guys like him are sentenced to life in prison, i.e. Slobodan Milosevic and Augusto Pinochet. That way, they have the rest of their lives to contemplate their crimes against humanity.

The Bush administration hopes that U.S. voters will see this as a “milestone” in the war. But Hussein didn’t attack the U.S. on 9/11. Osama bin Laden — still at large — did. This is no milestone. Just a red herring. The old bait-and-switch. Meanwhile, Iraqis are left to compare their lives under Saddam Hussein to their lives now under an American occupation unfavorably.

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