Politics, and its related victories, are often based on perception. John McCain supported our going into Iraq. So did Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama never wanted us in the war.
All that aside, both Obama and Clinton want us to leave the Iraqis to fight Al-Qaeda alone. And John McCain believes America should help them in this fight.
True? Not that simple, but that's a common view. Ask around, and not just your friends (who might already agree with you). We do not keep a scorecard based on nuance, but on ballpark ideas, often based on part of a quoted speech, or the way they gave that speech.
Now, Tariq Aziz faces trial. Saddam Hussein has already hung. People cheered. Expect cheering again if Aziz is found guilty, and if he is killed as a result.
When the evidence is replayed, do not shield your eyes. Whatever sentence Aziz may be given, or if he is delivered into freedom, we cannot ignore reality. For or against our presence in Iraq, one reality is that tens of thousands of people were killed.
Just like watching Holocaust images, or videos of the 1956 Hungarian fight for freedom, it is reality. So are the 9-11 images. We hate it so much we want to turn our head, let it go away. Aziz's trial will force us to watch.
When the trial gets underway, whomever the American voter sees as better able to counter such hideous violence will score points. It could be that Obama, the supposed argent - or agent, as the case may be - for peace, ala a better version of Jimmy Carter and diplomacy. Or Clinton, with her vast experience internationally, may be seen as the one who can foresee the future. Or McCain, who will likely carry on a card saying, "not in my backyard, punk."
My money is that McCain sees a spike in support. He will be seen as part of the reason Aziz is on trial. Clinton, nor Obama can make this claim, having divested themselves of the war's inception.
Saddam Hussein's deputy PM faces trial
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The trial of Tariq Aziz, one of the best-known faces of Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq, and several other former regime officials is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
Aziz and seven other defendants are standing trial for their alleged role in the execution of 42 Iraqi merchants in 1992.
Chief Judge Raouf Rasheed Abdul Rahman said the proceedings were expected to start 5 p.m. local time (10 a.m. EDT). He said the trial was delayed for a few hours for "procedural reasons," a reference to the process of gathering the defendants and bringing them to court.
One of the seven facing trial is Ali Hasan al-Majeed, also known as Chemical Ali. An Iraqi government official said Chemical Ali was not attending the trial on Tuesday because of health issues and the court was not forcing him to attend.
Al-Majeed, who was a top Baathist official during the Saddam Hussein era, is awaiting execution for genocide in connection with the Anfal campaign.
Below, Saddam Hussein being prepared to be killed. I show this not to horrify, nor to titillate, nor to vindicate. As a matter of record: I morally against willful execution in a cases, whether the most evil criminal or the most innocent unborn child.