The Hussein Verdict and U.S. Midterm Elections

by Hari Osofsky

I also wanted to add a brief perspective on the Hussein decision as an example of the interrelationship of domestic and international law and politics. The verdict likely will have little impact on most voters’ perspectives, but the tight and arguably tightening polls–compare the various polls on pollingreport.com–suggest that even tiny shifts might make a difference. Whether or not the verdict itself was politically motivated, Republicans are trying to capitalize on it in the final hours of these hotly contested midterm elections.

For example, Bush’s statement on the verdict interwines it with the war effort in Iraq:

Today, Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal for the massacres committed by his regime in the town of Dujayl. 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 — it’s a major achievement for Iraq’s young democracy and its constitutional government.
….
The United States is proud to stand with the Iraqi people. We will continue to support Iraq’s unity government as it works to bring peace to its great country. We appreciate the determination and bravery of the Iraqi security forces, who are stepping forward to defend their free nation. And we give our thanks to the men and women of America’s Armed Forces, who have sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom in Iraq — and they’ve sacrificed for the security of the United States. Without their courage and skill, today’s verdict would not have happened. On behalf of the American people, I thank every American who wears the uniform, I thank their families — and I thank them for their service and continued sacrifice.

Similarly, as reported by the New York Times,

Representative J. D. Hayworth, a Republican in a close race in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, used a previously scheduled early morning appearance on the Fox News Channel show “Fox and Friends” to declare the Hussein sentence “a victory for the Iraqi people.” Mr. Hayworth said it offered Americans heading to the polls “a chance to take stock” of the war’s dividends.

http://opiniojuris.org/2006/11/06/the-hussein-verdict-and-us-midterm-elections/

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