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Capture and?

Some good news, which seems awfully slim in the wake of today’s Baghdad bombing: Saddam’s vice president was captured. No idea what he was doing in Mosul — is there Iraqi resentment up there because of the Kurdish activities? Saddam’s sons were up there too. I wouldn’t have thought it would be hospitable territory for ex-Ba’athists.

Anyhow. He was a bad person, and I’m glad he was captured. There are now two necessary tasks ahead of the United States… no, three.

First, getting information out of him. If he knows where Hussein is, and if we can get that information without torture, we should. Whether or not the US should be in Iraq (and at this point we have responsibilities there, engendered by our conquest), Hussein and his lieutenants were and are criminals. Capturing them is a net boon for the world.

Second, turning him over to the Iraqis for trial. It’s not our job to try this guy, and if we’re taking the Iraqis seriously, we need to show that we believe they can do justice to someone who — after all — killed many more of them than he ever killed of us.

Third, make sure he gets a fair trial from the Iraqis. This is pretty difficult, because there are a lot of people in Iraq who have every reason to want to see him suffer. But it’s gotta be justice. And we have to ensure justice without being seen as conquering overlords.

I have absolutely no idea how to accomplish #2 and #3. But that’s one reason why I wouldn’t have invaded in the first place. Some of the necessary goals don’t fit well together.

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