Exit Strategy

 From the Financial Times: "Saddam Could Be Tried and Executed Over Minor Case."

I must admit that I didn't see this one coming, but it could be a masterstroke. Like a lot of people, I've long wondered how the Bush Faction would prevent Saddam from spilling a whole pot of red-hot beans about his long and profitable relationship with the U.S. government -- one that goes back to the late 1960s, when the CIA assisted his particular Baathist clique to seize power (having already assisted the Baathist's original coup in 1963) and of course continued on through the Reagan embrace,
the Rumsfeld handshake, the U.S. military assistance in gassing Iranians and George H.W. Bush's orgiastic outpouring of money, materiel and technology for weapons of mass destruction for Saddam, right up to the very day before the invasion of Iraq. (You could even throw the post-Gulf War business deals between Saddam and Dick Cheney's Halliburton into the mix.)

I knew they would never allow Saddam to turn the trial into an embarassing history lesson -- but how they would put the kibosh on the truth remained a mystery. Would he have an unfortunate "accident" -- slip on the shower soap, choke on a pretzel? Or maybe a heart attack or sudden stroke? Cancer? After all, he's getting on in years, and any demise due to bad health would be plausible. Or would they simply gag him during the trial -- set it up like one of those handy-dandy, new-style "military tribunals" that Bush has concocted for the captives of his Terror War?

All of these were possible, but they still seemed risky, a bit too obvious. But now it looks like they've finally hit on a winning formula: first put him on a trial for a very circumscribed, local atrocity, one that doesn't involve the Iran-Iraq war (with America's extensive involvement on Saddam's side) or the first Gulf War (with America's extensive involvement in Saddam's military buildup before that conflict) or even the Shiite and Kurdish massacres after the Gulf War (which would highlight Bush Senior's role in assisting Saddam in putting down the uprisings which Bush himself had called for; also, any probe into "gassing his own people" would lead right back to the Reagan-Bush role in providing Saddam with WMD technology – including numerous poisons).

You could then convict him on this narrower charge – and execute him for it! No need to drag out all that unseemly business about Ronald Reagan and the Bushes and what have you. And no need to bump him off beforehand in some cack-handed manner. The secret of America's ungodly machinations with this thug will thus stay safely buried.