Take the right steps

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Did you breathe a sigh of relief at the word of Saddam Hussein’s capture? No matter how you feel about Bush’s war on Iraq, you can be glad about this. With just a little thoughtfulness on the part of the administration, Hussein’s capture will help to bring our involvement in Iraq to a close and bring our soldiers home sooner.

It’s also true that the Butcher of Baghdad should receive humane treatment, and the talk-radio announcers’ discussions of the various tortures they’d like to perform on the man don’t advance the political discourse a whole hell of a lot.

I heard one news guy on ABC say Hussein’s guilt or innocence was not the issue; the only issue was what his punishment should be. That scares me because I have a strong feeling that not everybody in Iraq feels the same. We could miss a bet by not publicly airing every single grievance against him. We could win the heart and minds of the Iraqi people by allowing the man to have his year in court before pronouncing the death penalty or life in prison or not guilty upon him. (Hey, I’m just playing devil’s advocate.) The guilty-before-trial kind of attitude isn’t going to help the Iraqis get on board with democracy; it’ll only cement the idea that we Americans are hypocrites.

I’m not an expert on international relations, but I do know that when people forsake principles for short-term profit, their long-term goal of having the respect of others in the community is often irreparably harmed.

I was appreciative that George W. wasn’t hootin’ and hollerin’ and high-fivin’ the joint chiefs when he made his speech on Sunday. That gives me hope that he’ll use the opportunity of Saddam Hussein’s trial to do the right thing for the right reasons.

RTV No. 6: You can help elect people who aren’t afraid to use technology to advance the human condition.