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"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him" -- Paul Bremer, US Chief Administrator in Iraq.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3317429.stm

[User Friendly's take]

Well, that's guaranteed Bush's re-election. --DR
Note from 2005 - I was right, he did get re-elected.  You saw it here first. --DR

Pretty much, since his opponent was running almost entirely upon a platform of "So, what have you got to show for this war, then?"    --Vitenka




Well, he's said to be "Co-operating" - but this could work in many different ways, both short and long term.

Short term, you have the shame of his being captured from a small hole without resistance.  That could go "Not worth following him then" or it could go "How dare the Americans shame him like that."  Really depends upon America's sense of subtlety.

Then there's his co-operation.  He's going to want to spring a deal.  A lot depends then upon whether or not he really had weapons which he can lead the coalition to.

Medium term, you have a feeling of "Great, you got him - now leave please."

And, of course, the utter minefield of his trial.  Methinks they'll delay it until after re-elections - but who the heck is gonna try this guy?  If it's a kangaroo court, world opinion of the States suffers (even if they hand him over to an Iraqi civilian court.)  But if it's not then he's got some utterly dynamite arguments.  Starting with "Your country gave me those weapons" moving on to "Your country supported my right to genocide the Kurds in a speech to the UN" and finishing with "And by the way, wasn't this an illegal invasion under international law?" 
(PeterTaylor) All of which are irrelevant if he's tried by Iraqis rather than Yankees.

Moving on, we have sections of the Iraqi and American populations wanting the death penalty whilst Europe will not countenance it.  Then we have all of those international courts which America refuses to recognise.

Oh - and then we have America pulling out of the country ("we did it, let's go home") before there is any semblance of stability - and the knock-on effect that would have on the behaviour of Israel and Palestine.

Frankly, America was probably better off leaving him uncaught as a bogeyman.  That they did not should help explode the tiny little minds of ConspiracyTheorists? everywhere.  --Vitenka

Maybe someone too important to be shut up found him? -- Senji
Heh, can't keep good ConspiracyTheorists? down, it seems.  I guess the coincidence of setting up the tribunal to try him in absentia just before they captured him has to be mixed in somehow ;)  --Vitenka
Addendum.  America has announced that it wants to try him.  As a PrisonerOfWar?.  Under the GenevaConvention?.  Which they already broke, by showing video footage of him in captivity.  Gah.  --Vitenka
Gah. Ouch. In addition to which, he was a head of state. That's a seriously bad precedent. Iraqi civilian court or international tribunal, please. No other body has any right to try the Iraqi head of state. I wouldn't be surprised if the Americans did try him; this would, however, be a monumentally stupid action and potentially negate any positive effect the capture could have. Can you spell kangaroo court, kids? --SF

Of course the coalition will try him themselves. It will be an Iraqi court, with Iraqi judges, hand-picked by the coalition. That said, does anyone actually think the man is innocent or are we just bitching at various governments for the sake of it? --Edith
Oh, he's guilty of a tonne of stuff.  But I am trying to work out what happens next.  Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic.  Maybe after a quick trial (execution before July, says the Iraq general council - which is very impartial of them, I must say) all the violence will stop, the US will pull out in a tidy fashion, a democracy will stabilise and mesh well with the region and happy magical fairies will repair the country.  Or maybe the US will pull out as soon as possible, warring bands will tear up the ethnic regions and the newly US owned oil companies will become armed camps under constant suicide attack.  --Vitenka
Next? What do you mean, "next"? The Good Guys who are Always On The Side of Justice have caught the Bad Guy Who Was The Root Cause of All Middle Eastern Evil. That's it. It's over. Everyone lives happily ever after. Roll credits. - MoonShadow
Yes, that's just what he said, reported at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3319465.stm 
(Snipped the copy and paste from that url - it messed the formatting up something rotten)  Yes.  The US is to be congratulated on taking a realistic (perhaps optimistic, but only reasonably so) stance here.  I think MoonShadow's point was, you know, sarcasm.  Personally I find it rather scary that the US really has started an eternal war.  --Vitenka
(PeterTaylor) Depends on your point of view. There's also the PoV? that the eternal war was started by others. (Note: I'm not taking sides in that one, so argue against the position rather than against me).

Just a small correction to my addendum.  The US actually weaseled out of calling him a prisoner of war - and only said he would be treated as well as one.  So they may get out that way.  As for the court - as aforementioned a non-kangaroo court is in serious danger of convicting a large number of the US cabinet, throwing it out on procedural grounds (he's guilty as sin, but you can't arrest him without a warrant equivalent) or being, at the very least, really really embarrassing.  An Iraqi court is probably the safest option for the US.  After all, no way in hell they won't convict, they're clamouring for the death penalty.  Note also the rapid turnaround from "He is co-operating" to "He is not co-operating".  Bets as to whether or not he said "I will tell you whatever you want to know! - But I have no weapons of mass destruction."  --Vitenka




One thing this does give us is a resurgence of wonderful partial headlines. 
I particularly liked these two  --Vitenka
Only remove the colon to make this sentence reversed.

One other thing, worth noting here if not on the main page.  It is all too easy to forget that, for the most part, the US administration is trying to do good.  It may have a slightly skewed vision of what 'good' is, it may have different value judgements - and it is definitely very often very stupid.  But it isn't actively setting out to do evil.  So "worst case" scenarios are as unlikely as they should be.  (Which makes it all the more terrible when they happen.)  The US isn't actively out to have the worst thing possible happen.
(The above rant brough to you by this morning's Iranian announcement of a list of war crimes which was being compiled for submission to the international courts, and the more recent announcement that the US would place Saddam on trial in whatever manner the Iraqi population wants.  Going sceptical again, you have to point out that the US only listens to a hand picked subset of Iraq, but even so...)  --Vitenka




(PeterTaylor) The precedent, BTW, has already been set. I refer interested parties to [Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and Sovereign Immunity on Trial: Noriega, Pinochet, and Milosevic Trends in Political Accountability and Transnational Criminal Law].

Oooh yes, I'd forgotten about Noriega.  Pinochet wasn't extradited and Milosevic isn't finished.. Even so. Yay for precedent!  This doens't help with the basic "some of the evidence will be very embarrassing to the UK and US" problem, but it is a good thing that national boundaries are being eliminated this way.  It seems that the general public wants justice without borders.  Can you imagine a new crime of "incitement to commit war"?  Mmm.  Maybe they'll erase emigration and trade barriers next.  --Vitenka
(PeterTaylor) Some of the evidence in the Noriega trial was very embarrassing to the US. Let's hope they won't be stupid enough to try to solve that by restricting press access - although given their desire to persuade the Iraqis that it's all over, that's not too likely.



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