12/13/2005 05:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Saddam Hussein is the Bobby Seale of Baghdad

As a Chicagoan, the trial of Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants is a trip down memory lane. Once again the accused are throwing the charges in the face of the court and aiming to put US justice on trial. Saddam is, so far, more genteel than Bobby Seale in how he's addressed the court. Hussein has not yet called the judge a "fascist dog" but he is every bit as proud, defiant and smart as the founder of the Black Panther party. He wears berets too.

The reporting of the Baghdad and Chicago Eight are about the same. Both proceedings were almost entirely political, with their outcomes foregone conclusions months before they began. Yet both show trials were covered like they were legit. Both sets of defendants are caricatured as dangerous loons and their legitimate legal objections mostly ignored.

A difference between the trials is the happy fact that all Chicago Eight defense lawyers made it through the proceedings alive. Baghdad's US-trained cops are apparently even worse than Chicago's. Also unlike Bobby Seale, Hussein has not yet been bound and gagged, though in the US he's suffered the 21st-century equivalent, he's been cropped and edited.