I can't help but wonder just how much preparation the government and media think we need to be comfortable with Saddam Hussein's impending execution.

For several days now we have been hearing that his death sentence has been upheld, that there is no further appeal, that he will be hanged, and that Iraqi and American officials expect an upsurge of violence in Iraq when he is executed.

OK, we get it. Now do it and be done with it.

The most recent dispatches have been about all the paperwork that needs to be filed before the execution can proceed officially. First off, we, meaning the coalition forces, primarily the United States, had to cede physical possession of the convicted mass murderer and he has been turned over to the Iraqi authorities who will have to fill out some forms before he swings. Probably a lot more than he filled out before he murdered people by the hundreds of thousands.

Well, well, well. More evidence that no job is done until you're finished with the paperwork. I saw that written on a wall in a bathroom someplace.

So file the paperwork, walk him up to the gallows and snap his neck already!

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that there still are some Saddam supporters lingering in the shadows of the new Iraqi state. Those who had found the key to staying on his good side, apparently by showing an unswerving willingness to kill anyone he deemed needed it at a moment's notice, had a pretty good life for themselves if you can sleep at night knowing you are no better than a petty murderer no matter what kind of palace you live in.

But the time has come to be done with this. There is plenty of good reason to consider that much of the sectarian violence that has plagued Iraq since we defeated Saddam's army has been instigated by Saddam himself through the remaining supporters of his regime.

But with him dead, there really isn't anyone for those people to follow with such fervor, and no reason to believe that somehow there will be a rebirth of Saddam's government, authority or power. So the few worms left over from his regime who haven't faced reality yet would do themselves and their country a favor to face up to the new Iraqi order and find something else to occupy their time.

And if there is an upsurge in violence from Saddam sympathizers, the Iraqi government may well want to consider killing all of them on the spot, without lengthy trials and publicity. That isn't to be considered an invitation to anarchy. That is a realistic assessment of the fact that internally Iraq is at war, not necessarily with itself, but with some elements that have to include Saddam leftovers.

In war, the primary goal is to kill the enemy. OK, Saddam and his followers are the enemy. Kill them, kill him, and get on with the process of building a democracy.

Oh, yeah, and Happy New Year.


US news reports at 10 p.m. USA Eastern Time, (6 a.m. Baghdad time) quoted Arabian news services reports that Saddam Hussein had been hanged by the neck until he was dead for crimes against humanity.