After a long wait, Saddam was sentenced to hang for his crimes against humanity. The case was primarily built around the torture and execution of 148 men and boys in the town of Dujail in 1982.
This was by no means the only crime he committed nor was it his worst, it was simply the easiest case to build. When he hangs, the literally hundreds of thousands of people he caused to be killed, raped, and tortured will get some justice.
That justice began today when a court in the country he used to rule handed down a judgement based on legal court proceedings that never would have happened under his regime. This is one example of how far Iraq has come. There may be reprisals from Batthists and Sunni supporters, but justice for his crimes will send a clear message that the rule of law has begun to take hold in Iraq.
Beyond Iraq and Saddam, this will send a clear message to tyrants around the globe that they too will someday suffer the consequences of their actions. They should consider themselves warned.
We congratulate Iraqis on what is a major accomplishment. It would have been far easier to have simply taken Saddam out back, lined him up against a wall and have him shot–as he might have done. But in these trial proceedings and the inevitable appeals process we find the key difference between tyranny and democracy: the rule of law.
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