The Iraqi people have been given an opportunity. They have the opportunity to take a step beyond the evil legacy of Saddam Hussein and begin a new legacy of democracy and unity under the rule of law for all Iraqis.

We know the history. Saddam was a person who had no qualms in terrorizing, torturing, and killing his own people – sometimes for the smallest of offenses. His brutality towards the people of Dujail, as well as Shi’as, Kurds, and even his fellow Sunnis, demanded punishment to the fullest extent of Iraqi law. It is ironic that he was afforded more legal rights in the new Iraq than he gave to those whom he ordered killed.

It is my hope that every family of every victim of the Hussein family’s brutality can take solace in the justice handed down, even though their claim against Saddam may never go answered.

The timing of the events coincided with the eve of Islam’s most important feast – commemorating our common ancestor Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. It is fitting this was so, as sacrifice is what will be needed by Iraqis to fulfill the promise of the new democracy they have created. It is my hope this ending of a violent year for the Iraqi people will mark a new beginning for Iraq, one of peace and safety for Iraqis and our troops who helped bring Saddam Hussein to justice.