Saddam Hussein and two high-ranking members of his regime were sentenced to death at about 4 AM EST this morning.

Appeals are automatic, but assuming the verdicts will be upheld, Saddam requested that a firing squad be used instead of the hanging sentence the court handed down. If the verdict is not overturned, Iraqi law requires the sentence to be carried out within 30 days.

Al Jazeera reports that Saddam’s American lawyer, Ramsey Clark, was ejected from the courtroom for “insulting the people of Iraq” and may be charged with contempt by the Iraqi court. (Side note: Is Clark an example of what we will expect from Democrats if they get control of Congress?)

The verdict predictibly set off both celebration and fighting in Iraq.

Once this chapter is closed, it will be interesting to see whether the insurgency wanes. I don’t believe it is highly probable, but to the extent that the insurgency is led by former members of Iraq’s army who may have been hoping for some sort of resurrection of their boss’s influence, they may come to the realization that their continued battle probably means only their death.

In a statement prepared prior to receiving the verdict Saddam reportedly asked Iraqis not to participate in sectarian violence and not to “take revenge on US forces” in Iraq. If so, that suggestion would seem to be one of the few decent actions ever taken by this murderous tyrant.

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