Column: Fruit Loopy trial

By Chuck Prochaska

What is the deal with Saddam Hussein? The man climbs out of a spider hole with his scrawny arms in the air, pistol in one hand, French Guide to Military Victory in the other, conceding defeat at the hands of American liberators.

A few months later he is devouring bags of Doritos in his prison cell (which I’m sure looks nothing like those in “The Green Mile”), and telling stories of how he doesn’t really care for Fruit Loops.

And Wednesday, he kicks off the trial of his life by entering in a fashion that would make Brad Pitt blush, wearing a pinstriped suit with an open-collared dress shirt and a nicely manicured beard. He followed this show by making a complete mockery of the infant Iraqi judicial system.

I don’t know if he thought he was doing standup when he plead not guilty, but he certainly didn’t receive a round of tomatoes from a disapproving audience when he stood and asked the judge, “Who are you? I want to know who you are!” according to Fox news. Somebody needs to let him know most of his Baath Party thugs are behind bars and are featured on a set of playing cards I use every Friday at Happy Hour. They can’t help him now.

But Saddam persisted. “I do not respond to this so-called court…and I retain my constitutional right as the president of Iraq,” he said, when the judge attempted to proceed with the trial, according to Fox news. “Neither do I recognize…the aggression because all that has been built on false basis is false.” Apparently the translation didn’t work out too well because I’m not exactly sure what that second part means, but with comments like that, Saddam is sounding a lot like the liberals in the United States right now.

So-called “progressives” who fight for human rights abroad decried the tyrannous actions of the Hussein regime in Iraq. The Human Rights Watch noted that the Iraqi regime committed genocide against Iraqi Kurds. So while they were busy watching rights fly out the window, conservatives were busy figuring out what to do about the situation. When liberals got excited about protesting a war, they didn’t stop to think it was helping their cause. Catching the faux pas, they whined, “but there’s other bad men in the world too!” to which The Economist replied, “Hussein is the very worst.”

Now that Saddam is just a trial away from receiving the ultimate penalty for his cowardice and terror, I find it nauseating that he is being afforded the courtesies and rights of western law when he spits them back in the faces of all who uphold it. After refusing to let the judge peacefully advance the hearing, Saddam was rewarded for his contempt with a month-long adjournment at the request of his attorney. This is beyond any intelligent explanation.

The White House has said that the ongoing trial “is a sign of the rule of law returning to Iraq.” That demonstration of altruism would have made for a happy ending if Saddam were to sit quietly and speak when spoken to. But by flouting the rules of the institution for which he has no respect for, Saddam forfeits his right to a trial and should be summarily sentenced and executed in the heart of Baghdad. As his body is left to the people to desecrate, the world would then know that the rule of law has returned to Iraq. The coward, the man who had school children murdered and charged the families for bullets and coffins, would lay dead. Only then would the peaceful advance of democracy flourish. Iraq should spare themselves from the frustration of the waiting game Saddam is bound to play and close the book on this faded symbol of the past.

Until then, those dreaming of justice for Saddam can only hope that every morning he is greeted with a cornucopia of Fruit Loops and C-SPAN. Maybe then he’ll prefer the fate of cooperation to his pathetic existence in prison.

Chuck Prochaska is a junior in LAS. His column appears every Thursday. He can be reached at [email protected]