Today's Blogs

Saddam’s Nuremberg

Bloggers welcome the long-awaited genocide charges against Saddam, as they do the expansive new health-care legislation in Massachusetts. They’re also voluble about Katie Couric’s beeline to CBS.

Saddam’s Nuremberg:Saddam Hussein was charged with genocide Tuesday for the eight military operations comprising the Anfal campaign, which claimed the lives of at least 50,000 Iraqi Kurds in 1988. Bloggers want to know how the ex-dictator’s present trial—expected to end in a guilty verdict—can still segue into his answering for the more severe crime.

Canadian Helen Varley at Bitter Lemon thinks it’s important that the genocide trial will be conducted in Iraq: “By trying Saddam and his henchmen within the country, the attempt to exterminate the Kurdish people is on record within Iraq. This is important not only for the Kurds to get the justice that they have long been denied, but also to help the Iraqi people more fully come to terms with the horrors of the Baathist regime.”

Weighing the question of whether the pretty much foregone conclusion of capital punishment should occur before or after all the charges against Saddam have been adjudicated, Seth Weinberger, a professor of international relations and political philosophy, observes at his blog Security Dilemmas: “I’m sympathetic to either perspective. On one hand, there is a strong interest in airing the scope and nature of Hussein’s crimes. On the other hand, Hussein has been able to make a near-mockery of the current proceedings, and the longer he remains alive, the longer he is able to serve as a focal point for the Iraqi insurgency (at least for the Sunni part).”

As to this, another international law professor Kevin Jon Heller at Opinio Juris says the strictly by-the-book play is to hang Saddam after he’s found guilty once: “If Saddam is convicted and sentenced to death in the Dujail case … the sentence will have to be carried out, according to Article 27 of the IHT Statute, ‘within 30 days of the date when the judgment becomes final and non-appealable.’ How long such an appeal would take is unknown, but it’s unlikely that it would take long enough for another trial to be held.”

It certainly took long enough, intones Skye, conservative Democrat at MidnightBlue: “This is a victory for the U.S. and Coalition forces, politicians and Iraqi citizens—who in some cases shed blood to bring this dictator to justice. I wonder how many U.N. resolutions would have been necessary to achieve this same result?”

Read more about Saddam’s genocide indictment.

Mass general: The Massachusetts legislature has passed a bill that would guarantee health-care coverage for almost all of the state’s residents. Hailed as a benchmark of bipartisan effort and a political coup for Gov. Mitt Romney, bloggers right and left alike are almost universal in praising the policy.

Biotechnology mandarin Ronald Bailey at the libertarian Reason magazine’s blog Hit and Run welcomes the plan: “Of course, the devil is in the details, but ideally by experimenting with various health insurance systems on a state by state basis, the rest of the country can learn what works and what doesn’t. Still, this could be a way to avoid national single payer government provided health insurance, aka completely socialized medicine.”

Dave at the lefty Shining Light in Dark Corners is a bit more tepid in his endorsement, which reconciles both the conservative and liberal rationales for the state-based policy: “Sounds a bit draconian, but in these polarized times, perhaps blaming and holding everyone responsible is the way to go.”

If anything, Norman Newman at the true-blue Labor Blog is worried that businesses are getting off too easy: “Business largely supports the compromise because the assessment is relatively small—only $295 per employee not covered by health care insurance—an amount far less than a proposed state House bill. Which explains why health care advocates are only cautiously celebrating.”

But David Cohen at the Pajamas Media affiliate The Brothers Judd is skeptical because of the state’s history of micromanaging its insurance programs. He points out that all individual Massachusetts health plans must cover infertility treatments resulting in “high health insurance premiums and only a small range of plans. For example, a couple living in Boston can choose between four Blue Cross plans with monthly premiums ranging from $521 to $1,095 per month. The least expensive plan does not include any prescription drug benefit and includes relatively high co-pays up to $2,000 per person per year, or $4,000 per family.”

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt spots the GOP advantage: “From a political perspective, it gives Governor Romney a huge advantage heading into 2008, one which all candidates covet: An actual example of concrete achievement that voters will connect to their own lives.”

Read more about the Romney health plan.

Today is yesterday:Katie Couric announced this morning that she will indeed be leaving NBC’s Today Show for the more staid environs of CBS. She’ll be the first woman to anchor an evening newscast by herself.

BAC at yikes! is glad to see sisters being allowed, finally, to do it for themselves: “The glass ceiling of nightly news anchor is about to shatter, as Katie Couric appears set to take the reigns at CBS. It’s well past time that a woman be named solo anchor for an evening newscast.”

Though this means this end of on-air colonoscopies and incandescent morning dentition, Jessica Coen of the New York media giant Gawker mourns: “Prepare your goodbyes—because you’ll never see those gams under the anchor’s desk.”

Read more about Couric’s dial-shift.