Everyone and their mother has been talking about nothing but Saddam for two days, and I'm not sure I have anything hugely important to add. As usual, Andrew Sullivan is summing it all up nicely: one seriously evil dude has just been permanently prevented from unleashing further carnage. Whether this will further the cause of Iraqi reconstruction is another matter. It certainly can't hurt, although I think the damage to the various death squads operating right now in Iraq will be largely symbolic, although the fact that Saddam was captured with a large amount of money indicates that there may be some financial damage due to his capture. It will probably help in the hearts and minds department more than anything else. We forget that the Iraqis have spent the last 30 years living in a totalitarian state, one where a small elite whose power extends well beyond the political sphere runs everything, and are now trying to sort out how to live in a society where they are suddenly not totally alienated from the source of power and authority. I think maybe 10-15% wish the old regime was back, maybe about the same are hellbent on democracy, and the vast majority are waiting to see if this whole freedom thing is going to take. The capture of Saddam obviously helps them make their decision about whether they are going to stay silent or go, as we would like them to, with the democrats.
As to Saddam himself, however, I can say nothing except that its to bad George Galloway, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and all the other useful idiots, fellow travelers, contemptuous power worshippers, and wretched enablers who aided and abetted his crimes throughout the years weren't down in that hole with him. I hope that at his trial the truth starts to come out about exactly who he was paying off and who was voluntarily collaborating with him in furthering his political goals in the Western world, and I hope that the American government finds the guts to make sure those people pay a price for their crimes against humanity as well.