"Plenty of people deserve to die. And Saddam Hussein ranked very high on that list. And there was more than a little poetic justice in the way Saddam met his end.* bostonglobe:
But if justice were simply a matter of bad men meeting bad ends, then Iraq today would be awash in justice.
Vengeance isn't justice. Vengeance is part of justice. But only a part. I understand the need for vengeance. I appreciate and I've felt it -- for wrongs to myself, to my loved ones, probably most of all to groups I identify myself with. But I've always thought there was something cowardly and insecure about people who get too vicariously involved in other people's righteous desire for vengeance. And that is how I would class a lot of the folks I see today getting all jonesed up about Saddam's hanging when they probably didn't even know the first thing about the guy's record until a few years ago. Perhaps it is excessive to note that a lot of the same folks now endorse flattening the same people Saddam was butchering fifteen or twenty-five years ago.
Saddam may have gotten what he deserved. But the process he got it through was a sham. And the execution itself appears to have been managed and organized at every stage to maximize sectarian divisions in Iraq."
"The existence of ISOG (Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group) reflects an intensification of the Bush administration's planning on Iran. Syria, which has linked itself to Iran through military pacts, is a lesser focus for the group. Its workings have been so secretive that several officials in the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs bureau said they were unaware it existed.
The United States has repeatedly said its policy is not to overthrow the Iranian regime, but one former US official who attended a meeting during ISOG's initial phase eight months ago said in an interview that he got the impression that regime change was a key goal of many of the meetings' participants.
He said that some of the intelligence reports ordered by members of the group were so highly classified that they were accessible to less than a dozen people in the US government, suggesting that some of the group's activities were far from routine.
"Iran is the key to everything at the strategic level -- the biggest problem we have faced in a long time," said a senior State Department official involved in ISOG, citing Iran's negative impact on Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. "These are all things they are doing because they sense weakness [on the part of the United States]. The best thing for us to project is strength, not 'please talk to us.' ""