We caught Saddam!
In absolute terms, this a good thing. It doesn’t matter how it gets spun, or whether it was worth going to war for. We caught him.
No matter how you cut it, Saddam is a bad man, dare I say evil? He needed to be brought to justice over 20 years ago, but better late than never. I’m an American, and proud to be one. Part of that pride is the belief that the US is a nation of laws, of principle and of hope. We’ve caught Saddam alive, which means not myth, no legend, no symbol, no apotheosis. It also means we get to prove that we are a nation of laws, and the rule of law is important to us. Hopefully, it will also allow us to correct the course we have been on recently, following our fears rather than our minds.
Putting Saddam on trial though may reveal as much about our complicity in keeping him in power as it does about the atrocities he has committed. I remain hopeful that it will invite a period of self-reflection and self-criticism that will make us stronger as a nation. Both for international perception and national honor, his trial must be broadcast.
Of course, what will happen in Iraq once the jubilation is over? I think Juan Cole’s wife raises an interesting point.