Saddam Must Die!

It’s hard to say if this report in the Daily Telegraph should be given any credence since none of the sources for the story are willing to go on the record, but if it’s true, it’s a very bad idea:

“Saddam Hussein could avoid the gallows under a secret proposal by insurgent leaders that Iraq’s new administration is “seriously considering”, a senior government source said yesterday.

A reprieve is understood to be among the central demands of Sunni nationalists and former members of Saddam’s Ba’ath party who have reportedly begun negotiations with the government amid the backdrop of a bloody insurgency which claimed 30 lives during the weekend.

Officials say they are looking for a way of joining the political process after January’s election, which was boycotted by most of the once-powerful Sunni minority.

“We are trying to reach out to the insurgents,” the source said. “We don’t expect them to stop fighting unconditionally. Sending Saddam to prison for the rest of his life is not a huge price for us to pay, but it will save them a lot of face.”

Setting aside the fact that few — if any — people on earth deserve a bullet to the brain more than Saddam, it would be very foolish to allow Saddam to live.

As long as he lives, there’s a thin ray of hope for Sunnis who wish for a return to the old order. If he’s alive, in their minds, there will always be the possibility that somehow, some way, the old tyrant will gain his freedom and claw his way back to power. That certainly seems highly unlikely at this point, but one can hardly blame Sunni dead-enders for harboring such fantasies given that history is full of such tales.

Moreover, who’s to say that the US will always be around to guarantee Iraq’s security? Perhaps the Iraqis will not allow the US to have permanent military bases in the country. Then, restoring Saddam to power could become a pretense, an excuse for one of Iraq’s many belligerent neighbors to crush the fledgling Iraqi democracy and perhaps take control of a few “disputed” oil fields in the process. Again, there would be many historical precedents for such an event.

That’s why the world in general and the Iraqis in particular would be better off if Saddam Hussein were to shuffle off this mortal soil, preferably sooner rather than later…

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