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Jesse Jackson Says Saddam Hanging Will Escalate Violence

The execution of Saddam Hussein will not make the United States safer and will only increase the violence in Iraq, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday.
( [email protected] ) Jan 01, 2007 06:36 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) - The execution of Saddam Hussein will not make the United States safer and will only increase the violence in Iraq, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday.

"Killing him intensifies the violence, reduces our moral authority in the world," said Jackson, who has traveled to the Middle East on peace missions. "Today we are not more secure. We're less secure. We've missed a moment to appeal to those in Iraq to break the cycle of violence."

The deposed Iraqi leader was hanged Sunday, three years after being captured. He was buried Sunday, and there was no immediate sign of a feared Sunni Muslim uprising in retaliation for the execution, although outside the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi loyalists marched with Saddam pictures and waved Iraqi flags.

Jackson, who spoke after preaching at the Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, said Osama bin Laden, not Saddam, was behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"Saddam Hussein didn't hit us. Bin Laden hit us," he said. "Iraq didn't hit us. The Taliban hit us."

Jackson said the United States was complicit in the trial and execution of Saddam by the Iraqis "because we held him in our custody, and the government in Iraq today is a government subsidized by the U.S."

"We encouraged his being hung," Jackson said. "He is now a trophy of a war that had nothing to do with 9/11. The number of deaths are increasing. The violence is expanding. Our moral authority is eroding."

American deaths in the Iraq war reached the sobering milestone of 3,000 on Sunday even as the Bush administration sought to overhaul its strategy for the unpopular conflict, which shows little sign of abating.

President George W. Bush said in a statement released Friday night from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, that Saddam's death would not halt the bloodshed and political discord in Iraq.

"Many difficult choices and further sacrifices lie ahead," Bush said. "Yet the safety and security of the American people require that we not relent in ensuring that Iraq's young democracy continues to progress."

Bush said Saddam received a fair trial — "the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime."

American deaths in the Iraq war reached the sobering milestone of 3,000 on Sunday even as the Bush administration sought to overhaul its strategy for the unpopular conflict, which shows little sign of abating.

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