Honorable as America’s conduct has generally been in a war that has required it to act as an imperial power — administering vast tracts of territory in the most trying conditions — it seems to me difficult to deny that, whatever the technical merits of particular cases, a spirit of magnanimity has sometimes been wanting in the effort. We are told by Gibbon that when the Roman emperor Valerian was captured by the Persians, he “was exposed to the multitude, a constant spectacle of fallen greatness; and that, whenever the Persian monarch mounted on horseback, he placed his foot on the neck of the Roman emperor.” Such was the magnanimity of a Persian conqueror. Until I saw the photograph of Saddam in his underwear on the cover of the New York Post the other day, I thought the United States capable of something better. If an Iraqi tribunal, after trying the vile man according to its laws, determines to punish him so, let them — he deserves worse. But his humiliation is not the job of his American conquerors.