Good Riddance and a Good Start


President Bush has said that Iraqis should decide the fate of Saddam Hussein. When asked about whether he thought Saddam should get the death penalty, AP reports that Bush replied,

"I've got my own personal views. This is a brutal dictator. He's a person who killed a lot of people. But my personal views are not important in this matter. … It's going to be up to the Iraqis to make those decisions," said Bush, former governor of Texas, the leading U.S. state for executions since 1976.

Britain has said it won't participate in a trial that could lead to a death sentence and Iran and other countries are pushing for an international court. Members of the Iraqi Governing Council want a speedy trial and, apparently, an execution by end of summer 2004.

As Reason's Jeff Taylor and Michael Young have argued, it's important for all sorts of reasons that the Iraqis be the main force in prosecuting Saddam. That will that allow the Iraqi people both to confront and vent all the necessary questions that need to asked and answered in the wake of a dictatorship. As important, if they do it successfully and in a way that earns the world's respect, they will be that much farther along in setting the pace for political reform in the Middle East.