Saddam is dead. I will shed no tears—he caused immeasurable suffering. I would have preferred, however, to let him die of old age in ignominy like Pinochet. But the two societies in charge of Saddam’s custody still have a deep attachment to this medieval form of punishment. As if killing one man could compensate for all the people he killed or whose lives he destroyed. An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. It certainly wasn’t what Jesus taught.
Update: Juan Cole takes a trip down memory lane with the top 10 ways the US enabled Saddam. Up until he invaded Kuwait, he was very much our man in the Middle East. We helped bring him to power, we helped him stay there, and we helped deflect international criticism of the genocide he perpetrated in the 1980s. This isn't something most Americans understand very well--including many of our elected leaders--and most journalists can't be bothered to tell them. Our favored foreign policy approach for decades has been to somewhat arbitrarily pick enemies and friends abroad based on the domestic political dynamic of the moment, with little concern for what is actually going on in that area of the world. This has led to problem after problem, but we've thus far shown little appetite for changing our approach.