December 16, 2003

Humanizing Saddam

Cardinal Martino's impromptu comments on the footage aired right after Saddam's capture have been criticized widely.

The cardinal seems to be slowing down with age (he's 71). The remarks came at the end of a scripted press conference that's on the Vatican web site only in Italian (babelfish translation here). From what I can make out the actual prepared remarks are pretty good. There's a condemnation of terrorism and no mention of Saddam.

I have a feeling that the good cardinal wasn't thinking too carefully. If anything, that footage of Saddam as a broken, all too human, old man is probably his best chance so far of avoiding the death penalty in the inevitable tribunal. If, after they cleaned him up, they broadcast the meeting between him and the four members of the Governing Council, his goose would have been cooked and US military and Iraqi police lives would have been at risk trying to defend Saddam from a vast lynch mob. The great task would have been keeping him alive long enough to hang him.

Was it humanization or humiliation? It would be interesting to hear what the Cardinal has to say after he's had some time to think things over.

Posted by TMLutas at December 16, 2003 01:14 PM