President George W. Bush said Monday that the United States would work with Iraqis to try Hussein in a way that would withstand international scrutiny. By all means, let Iraqis judge Hussein's fate. If they choose the death penalty, his crimes will have warranted it.
The important thing, however, is a trial that doesn't politicize Hussein's many crimes. Iraq needs a trial that humanizes Hussein's victims.
Try Hussein for genocide, and the tribunal will feature one expert after the next opining on the motives behind genocidal crimes and historical enmities that spurred the hate. Try Hussein for each murder, however, and the story will focus on the Kurdish child who was gassed, the Shiite boy who saw his mother raped, or the scientist who was carted away and never seen again. It could take decades for all Hussein's victims to tell their tales.
I want Hussein to get a fair trial -- but it won't be fair to Iraq if Hussein is allowed to turn his trial into a circus.
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