Human Rights Watch has issued a report expressing concerns about the fairness of Saddam’s trial. The report makes some useful points but otherwise is a triumph of the legalistic mentality over pragmatism. Whether Saddam is executed or imprisoned for life, the outcome will be (substantively) fair, regardless of whether the trial is procedurally fair. The only possible unfairness would be an acquittal or short sentence. To be sure, the trial should be procedurally fair, to the extent that logistics, politics, security, and administrative convenience permit. But procedural fairness does not exist in a vacuum; it must be weighed against other considerations. HRW-style legalism is what led to the Milosevic trial, which has been dragging on for almost four years with no end in sight. If procedural fairness as HRW understands it requires a four year trial of Saddam, then better to do without procedural fairness.