A top Roman Catholic official has attacked the way Saddam Hussein was treated by his US captors, saying he had been dealt with like an animal.I feel neither sympathy nor compassion for Saddam Hussein. Compassion for Saddam is moral treason to all those his regime killed, maimed and raped. Yet it is footage of a medic delousing this man who slaughtered thousands of his own people and whose intransigence has led to the deaths of almost 500 of my countrymen that the Vatican finds disquieting.
Cardinal Renato Martino said he had felt pity watching video of "this man destroyed, [the military] looking at his teeth as if he were a beast".
The cardinal, a leading critic of the US-led war in Iraq, said he hoped the capture would not make matters "worse".
A senior US official has defended the decision to show the pictures.
The official said the broadcast of Saddam Hussein undergoing a medical examination was allowed under the Geneva Conventions in order to maintain peace and security.
There was no attempt to humiliate the prisoner, the official said.
A daughter of Saddam Hussein has said she believes her father was drugged before US soldiers captured him.
Rallies in support of the deposed Iraqi president have continued in central and northern Iraq along with attacks on security forces.
Cardinal Martino said on Tuesday that the US "could have spared us these pictures".
"Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him," he told reporters. [BBC]
The Vatican is free to offer love to the enemies of mankind if it chooses. I, however, prefer that they receive justice.