Now before you start get your cynicism up to speed on this lovely Sunday morning before the mid-term elections - an election widely seen as a referendum on the Bush presidency - the timing of this verdict a total coincidence:
The White House praised the Iraqi judicial system and denied the U.S. had been "scheming" for the verdict.See? Just a coincidence. Tony Snow said so to the reporters.
But before you get too excited about the prospect of some public hangings being plastered all over your TV screens, consider how the Iraqis are going to handle this news. Because, in much of that country, Saddam's sentencing is only serving to highlight the sectarian differences that are leading Iraq into Civil War. They're unimpressed with a verdict in a 24-year-old massacre when a similar number of Iraqis are being killed there daily. Says one Iraqi:
"So they sentenced him to death for the killings that happened when he was a president. Who is going to sentence the leaders now for the everyday killings that are happening in the country?"The White House is going to try to spin this into an excuse for declaring victory repeatedly - at least until the polls close on Tuesday evening - but it could actually be one of the most dangerous moments in Iraq yet.
Others questioned whether Saddam's death would bring back vital services like electricity and clean drinking water and, above all, stability and security to Iraq.
"Things were difficult under Saddam, we understand why. But now what is their excuse? Why can't we have electricity? Security? Why can't we have proper schools for our children?"
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Tags: Saddam Hussein, Iraq, civil war, Tony Snow, White House, mid-term elections, hanging