It's easy to forget the reptiles whose power allows them to be the cause of so much suffering and fear are merely flesh and blood like you and me, however chilly their blood is. Stripped of power, they inevitably come across as shrunken and pathetic.
Saddam Hussein and much of the former Baath leadership appeared before the Iraqi Special Tribune this past week.
During the long months that most of the defendants had been held, they appeared to have had little or no information about what was happening in Iraq. One man, Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, 56, a former bodyguard and secretary to Mr. Hussein, named the Iraqi he would like as his lawyer, only to look puzzled at the chuckles about him in the court. The man in question, Malik Dohan al-Hassan, was named justice minister recently in Iraq's new interim government.