At 8:30pm on Saturday, Dec. 13th, a tyrant was captured. About 600 coalition forces launched Operation Red Dawn, which resulted in the capture of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. A haggard Saddam with a salt-and-pepper beard was found in the cellar of Adwar, a town 10 miles from Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown.

President Bush announced Saddam’s capture to the nation shortly after noon on Sunday. “The capture of this man was crucial to the rise of a free Iraq. It marks the end of the road for him, and for all who bullied and killed in his name,” announced the President.

I did not hear the good news about Saddam’s capture from President Bush’s announcement. I read it on the front page of as I was getting ready to go to church. I told my family about Saddam’s capture, and my wife suggested that this would be a good time to pray. So we knelt by our bed and offered up a prayer of thanksgiving to God and asked that this capture might pave the way for a free and peaceful Iraq.

Now that Saddam is in custody, what will happen with him? The U.S. military could convene a military tribunal, but doing so would show that the military is in control of Iraq. Saddam could be handed over to the international community for a trial, but since countries like France, Germany and Russia did nothing to bring Saddam down or capture him, I do not see why they should spend any time in a tribunal judging him. The best option is to have the Iraqis judge and punish Saddam. A member of Iraq’s Governing Council, Ahmad Chalabi, said that Saddam will stand before an Iraqi trial. It is only fitting that Saddam be tried by the people he has repressed and killed for so many years.

And when Saddam is convicted, what will his sentence be? What should it be? I am not a bloodthirsty man, but I believe that Saddam should be put to death for his crimes. Ask yourself, are mass graves a sufficiently horrendous crime to warrant death? Is the murder of thousands of Iraqi Kurds with poisonous gasses and nerve agents a sufficiently horrendous crime to warrant death? The crimes committed by this man are serious enough that capital punishment is completely justified.

But I want to see Saddam die for his crimes because of another reason. While Saddam was still free, there was always the lingering concern that he would again seize power. The Iraqis who were afraid of Saddam’s return would not be too active in working for a new Iraq. They knew from sad experience what happened to Iraqis who had fought against Saddam before and lost. If Saddam is given a life sentence for his crime, there will always remain a chance that his few loyal followers would free him and reestablish him as the despotic leader of Iraq. With Saddam’s death, this painful chapter of Iraq’s history would be closed, and the repressed people could finally put this time of horror behind them.

For the people of Iraq to put Saddam and his horrors behind them, this captured tyrant needs to die. And may God have mercy on his soul.


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