Failure in Iraq

November 20, 2006

Human Rights Watch has called Saddam Hussein’s trial “flawed” and unfounded. According to the organization’s report, there have been substantial procedural inconsistencies, which make the trial and its ruling “fundamentally unfair”.

This is quite a blow to the notion that the US has had success in establishing a to-be-democracy in Iraq. The country’s first real trial being unfair is not a way to establish a viable democracy and is not something the US should be promoting or condoning. The BBC reports that Hussein’s lawyer has said that his client’s appeal process has been interfered with; also not something that lends much credibility to the idea of democracy in Iraq.

The HRW report comes as a wave of anti-Iraq-policy sentiment is present in the US, following the US midterm elections. Even Henry Kissinger has spoken out about the war in Iraq, stating that a military victory is no longer possible. Kissinger doesn’t see the new Iraqi government as capable of ending the civil war and sectarian violence that is rampant in the country.

Saddam Hussein’s death sentence will not help with this violence, especially if there is suggestion that the trial was unfair. And this puts the US into an uncomfortable dilemma: it is already clear that the US will be redeploying its troops within the next year, yet by exiting Iraq the US may be doing so having failed at its goals in the country.