crypticgirl said something profound about Saddam. I hope she won't mind if I quote it.
... I think we need to keep people like Saddam Hussein and Slobodam Milosevic alive for as long as we can once we capture them so we can understand them better. These are obviously psychopaths who have been in uniquely powerful situations. For the human race to grow and evolve we need to grapple with the questions of how these people are created and what allows them to get into power and abuse it so drastically. We might never find a common thread but I think it's terribly important that we look for one. Obliterating the worst in humanity via death squad is treating the symptoms, not the causes.
Having studied psychology, I think this is dead on. I will add to it that we could learn a ton about extremist Islam. What do we really know about these Muslim factions and why they are so at odds with each other? Nothing. But we're trying to go in and help them settle their differences. If we don't learn something about their culture, we will continue to be unsuccessful; and history will probably just repeat itself.