For one thing...why mention the death penalty? It was akin to throwing gas on a raging fire for the joy of making sparks. As the UK Independent notes,"the death penalty issue could cause friction between the United States and Europe. All 15 member nations of the European Union have abolished capital punishment, and they often encourage other countries — most notably the United States — to abolish it. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also has said the world body would not support bringing Saddam before a tribunal that might sentence him to death." Ever the faithful lapdog, Tony Blair courageously stated that, although Britain opposed the death penalty, it would have to accept an Iraqi decision to execute. My point: why even raise the issue of executing Saddam...and so prominently? It is as tho' Bush sat down and pondered,"How can I possibly make the situation worse?" The answer is obvious, of course. He doesn't care how his statements impact the world as long as they please the American electorate.
Don't expect to see a trial or public process of any sort surrounding Saddam in the near future. The US is already announcing a long delay before a trial date is set. After all, what Saddam could say in a public trial might prove tremendously embarrassing to the Bush administration. As the BBC reports,"Iraq had invaded Iran in 1980 but the Iranians had held the advance and were striking back with human wave attacks. Iraq was known, by 1983, to have used chemical weapons to stop these. A US State Department memorandum in 1983 stated: 'We have recently received additional information confirming Iraqi use of chemical weapons.' President Reagan determined nevertheless that Iraq should be supported and he sent Mr Rumsfeld to Baghdad with a personal letter from himself to Saddam Hussein. Mr Rumsfeld had been defence secretary under President Ford and was then head of a private pharmaceutical company. Minutes of their meeting in December 1983 were taken by an American diplomat and later released in edited form under the Freedom of Information Act. They were published by the National Security Archive, a private research group." I doubt if Bush wants photos, like this one of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, to circulate before the elections next fall.