Now what? We got Saddam, what’s next?

Do we put him on trial? All of sudden his connections with Rumsfeld and Cheney get highlighted. Of course everything is in the public domain, just most news outlets have no interest in negative reporting on their associates. [Yes I do believe the fourth estate is dying.] But you can’t keep such a high-profile character in hiding forever.

You could try him in Iraq, instead of in an international court designed to deal with international criminals, to make it sound as though there is a functioning judiciary in the country and to emphasize the good that has been done by the occupation. It also has the added advantage of limiting his defense options and gets the country, Iraq, to rally around the common enemy. You could also time the trial for the beginning of election season to get the boost from trial, but avoid the damage of family connections being revealed.

What happens to Iraq? No more boogeyman. I think very quickly several of the groups in Iraq will start expressing their self-interests more strongly now, and there will be less of a middle ground. I think we’ll also see that Saddam was not a major figure behind the attacks against the US, but he will now become a major symbol for all the insurgents, secularists to “religious” fanatics. We are already seeing this mythic elevation taking place. The only way to stop it is to put him on trial quickly, and to get fatwas condemning all of the crimes he’s accused of, and once he’s convicted – I don’t think we’ll see an acquittal – condemning him as well.

So the question is, now what?