Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Trial Balloon

Nick Confessore at TAPPED:
The New York Times is reporting that the new Iraqi government will put Saddam Hussein on trial "in the next few months."

I.e., before Election Day. Obviously, the president and his aides have been looking at the same poll numbers Kevin Drum has.

What makes this such a good manuever is that it is perfectly plausible on its own terms -- why not put Saddam on trial as soon as the new government gets on its feet? And having the former dictator in a courtroom, subject to justice, militates against earlier images of President Bush as a cowboy bent on getting his man dead or alive. Expect the trial to make frequent appearances in Bush's stump speech this fall and likely at the Republican convention, as the incumbent proclaims that he has made the world safer from terrorism by bringing down Saddam and forcing him to face justice at the hands of the formerly ruled.

Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog:
Yes, but doesn't a trial of Saddam potentially cut both ways? If, as the U.S. election approaches, Saddam is on trial, or convicted, or even executed, and the violence in Iraq continues unabated, doesn't that reinforce the sense that driving Saddam from power did nothing to make the world safer?
-- to which I add, we might see more than the Bushies would like us to about our pre-1991 relationship with Saddam, and those notorious chemical weapons. (Yes, I know...the French! the Russians! Perfidy to be revealed! Well, as the lawyers say, never ask a question in court whose answer you do not know. And I don't know that anyone knows these answers well enough for comfort.)

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