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Volume 6, Issue 1                                    University of Houston
What to do, what to do?


Now that Saddam Hussein has been captured, it's time to turn him over to the government of Iraq. American forces have already done the dirty work they were sent to do. The Iraqis should be the ones who decide on punishment for the former dictator.

That's not to say the world isn't interested. Leaders on both sides of the Australian parliament have already voiced their support for Saddam's execution, and political leaders in the United Kingdom have said they oppose the death penalty but would respect it if it was the legitimate decision of the Iraqi people. Iranians have unofficially voiced their support for harsh punishment, and President Bush stated his 'personal view' doesn't matter.

Thank you, President Bush. For a man less known for his eloquence than his creativity with words, the president has made an important and by all accounts true statement.

The Iraqis should have the final say on Saddam's future, whether it includes an execution or a lengthy prison stay. The United States is a country long prided on its value of self-determination, but the hypocrisy between our words and our actions can be seen throughout much of our foreign policy history.

Of course, the existing government in Iraq is weak and disorganized. An international council formed in order to help Iraq oversee both a trial and punishment would also be welcome.

It's a good thing Bush seems prepared to accept whatever punishment Iraqis have in store for Saddam. Let's just hope he can work with the international community for the good of Iraq.

Americans have a history of imposing their will upon other nations. From Vietnam to Nicaragua, Americans have made it a point to take control of Òanti-AmericanÓ governments. In the past, the enemy was communism. Today, the enemy is terrorism. Even the two words are remarkably similar, with the same number of letters and double consonants in the same place. It's eerie.

So far, the differences in both our enemies and ourselves have been slight, but Bush seems to be taking a significant step in the direction of positive change.

Of course, just how much leeway President Bush gives the Iraqi government with respect to Saddam is not exactly clear, and it is likely the United States will play some role in the punishment. This country has a unique opportunity to heal international rifts caused by our unilateral attack, and that's the next step. But as far as it's already gone, kudos to President Bush for, at the very least, continuing an American tradition and talking the talk of self-determination.

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