Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Execution of Saddam Hussein

I do not think that it was right to execute Saddam Hussein.

First, of course, the disclaimer. He was a man who did many evil and despicable things and should have been brought to justice for what he did. However, I agree with many observers, that this should have taken place in the International Criminal Court in the Hague. (Of course, we do not subscribe to this Court for the exact circumstances that surround this execution. That is, while Saddam Hussein was responsible for many tragic deaths, so is George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. Other than impeaching Bush and Cheney, then bringing criminal charges, which would break apart America, there is little that we can do.)

My main objection to executing Saddam Hussein is a moral issue. What may be the principal reason for the execution is Bush's desire to lend credence to his initial action of invading Iraq. I am sure that, in his mind, having history books saying that the invasion was for the purpose of removing an "evil" dictator will lend some justification to this act. Inevitably, he hopes, Hussein will be linked to the events of 9/11 as he and his administration has tried so hard to do for the last 5 years. All of this in spite of the fact that the United States was a supporter of Saddam at a time when he was doing his foulest deeds! Of this there can be no dispute. (c.f. well known picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam in the mid 1980's)

Furthermore, the way in which Saddam was tried was in many respects a farce. During the whole trial up until minutes before his execution, he was in the hands of the occupying army of the United States. In spite of it being said that this was a "fair" trial, it was in many respects a kangaroo court. Whether the future views it as such remains to be seen.

In summary, Saddam Hussein should have be tried before the World Court. If found guility, as he would most certainly be, he should have been imprisoned for life with no possibility of parole. The execution only serves the purpose of emphasizing the current barbarity in Iraq, one that falls heavily at the feet of George W. Bush, his cronies and the American people.


Sammy'sDot said...

For what it's worth, here's my two penn'orth requoted from 5th November:

[...clip] How do feel about this sentence?

In principle, I am opposed to capital punishment and must, therefore, be opposed to its use in this case. Emotionally, on the other hand, I find it difficult to care over much - whatever the rights and wrongs of the war which deposed him, Saddam is not a nice man and his hanging will be far kinder than the ends to which he sent many other human beings in his time (including some ends which would have seemed familiar to Guy Fawkes). I heard a canon in one of the Christian churches, normally an opponent of the death penalty, say that in this case he was for it; while I can't agree, I can certainly understand.

In practice, whether the sentence is carried out or commuted will be decided not on principle or sentiment, but on political calculation. As long as he is alive Saddam will be a focus for insurrection against the new government - and, as time goes by, his sins will fade while his status grows. On the other hand, his death will make him a martyr and, therefore, once again a focus for opposition. Then again, there is that business of why the war was fought and who exactly is condemning him to death. [clip...]


Dr. C said...

unsammysdot, Thanks for the comment. I do agree with you on the death penalty, but once one takes a moral stand, we shouldn't make exceptions. What I really object to is the political uses that Saddam has been put to. Furthermore, it now appears that his hanging violated at least some laws in Iraq. Its a little hypocritical saying we are there to inforce the rule of law (what else is democracy?) and then turn around and condone its trangression.

The whole thing is sinking deeper into the mire of horror. We still ignore it at our peril.

Sammy'sDot said...

I agree; I don't make an exception, and oppose the use of the death penalty in this case as in all others. Being intellectually and morally consistent doesn't stop my emotional responses being inconsistent, though.