I don't know if anyone's noticed, but I've tried to avoid the use of the term "liberal" to refer to my own ideas here, preferring to use the term "left." While the two terms are synonymous in many people's minds, I use them to represent two radically different perspectives. The Saddam trial provides a good opportunity to reflect on this. Let's use this opportunity to look at the two reactions to the trial:
The Liberal Reaction: In spite of the fact that massive numbers of innocent people are being killed throughout the world, we should spend as much of our resources as possible protesting trivial minutiae related to the legal procedure being followed. We'll ignore the Iraqi villagers being shot by local village gangs or the young innocent kid in a U.S. prison who's had a broomstick shoved up his ass. By demonstrating compassion for such an obviously guilty schmuck like Saddam, we'll prove ourselves as altruistic saints far superior to all around us.
A Leftist Reaction: Take Saddam out in the street and shoot him through his noggin. His death will be one of the few reasons to celebrate the current Iraqi mess. But before we pull the trigger, have him cough up all the names of those who supported him, to include all the contractors, CIA agents, or whoever. And let's also put these people on trial, and to the extent that they're culpable, punish them. Put the people who sold him poisoness gas or biological weapons on trial. Grab the CIA agents who supported his initial coup. Bring Rummy in to answer some very pointed questions (at the end of a pointed gun). And be harsh enough to make sure that third-world thugs and their first-world backers think twice the next time they decide to trade poor people's lives and security for profits.
In short, the liberal reaction contains no analysis of power, no analysis of the situation. Basically Kissinger and the other realists have it right. This whole mess is part of a cynical power game. The problem isn't Kissinger's analysis, it's the side he's on. Kissinger and the neocons are on the side of a small class of wealthy individuals. The left is on the side of the poor masses. And Saddam is on the wrong side (in the wrong place at the wrong time). He's been done in by his former bedfellows, but that makes his demise just that much sweeter.