Nothing to Brag About

(U-WIRE) BOSTON — Republicans have been quick to pull Saddam Hussein’s death sentence into the American political arena, claiming it as a victory for the Bush administration and those who support him.

President Bush has praised the verdict as he struggles to rally conservative voters for the mid-term elections.

“Today we witnessed a landmark event in the history of Iraq: Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal,” Bush told a crowd in Grand Island, Nev. on Nov. 5. “Saddam Hussein’s trial is a milestone in the Iraqi people’s efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.”

And it seems Republican rhetoric is working. A Pew Research Survey released Sunday found the “number of likely voters who said they would vote for the Democrats was now 47 percent compared with 43 percent who said they would vote for Republicans. Two weeks ago, Democrats had an edge of 50 to 39,” according to The New York Times.

But when voters hit the polls tomorrow, they should ask themselves what the real connection is between an Iraqi tribunal sentencing Hussein to die and Republican lawmakers efforts to make the United States and Iraq safer.

Thus far, Americans have seen little improvement in Iraqi security, and violence still rules the streets. Five more U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday and Iraqi forces instituted curfews to quell growing violence after the verdict was handed down.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean was right when he told “This Week” on ABC “I think it’s a great verdict — I mean, Saddam Hussein is a war criminal and he’s getting what he deserves, but I don’t think it has any impact on the safety of America.”

Hussein’s sentence is the last chapter in the Bush administration’s great bait-and-switch. Three years ago, Bush promised Osama bin Laden; this week, he delivered Hussein.

But voters should remember Hussein’s death brings the United States no closer to ending the threat of terrorism or that the real reason U.S. forces entered Iraq was to find weapons of mass destruction.

So despite what Republican lawmakers say about the execution of Hussein, they still have nothing to show for the Iraq war except a monthly price tag of about $9 billion and 2,836 American soldiers killed.