Monday, November 06, 2006

Death by Hanging


Saddam Hussein is, without a doubt, a modern day murderous tyrant who terrorized an entire nation. Had he not been deposed by the coalition forces three years ago, he would have continued his cruel and despotic rule indefinitely. Not only that, but his murderous sons would have magnified the terror three fold and insured this nightmarish legacy would continue even further into the future. For the countless victims of their crimes it is appropriate and just that their lives should be cut short. The sons have already paid their debt and now the final chapter must be written. Yes, there is no place on this earth for monsters like Saddam Hussein who with the stroke of a pen condemned hundreds, if not thousands, of men, women and children to agonizing death. We cannot in good conscience look through Hussein's eyes and contemplate mercy. We must look, instead, through the eyes of the many victims and recognize the unspeakable horror moments before death mercifully claimed them. Those victims, whose bones are scattered under the sands surrounding Baghdad, implore us to shed no tears when the hangman does his deed.

38 comments:

Redwine said...

Roman,

while I won't be the one to shed tears, definitely not, I think there is a great difference between a moral stance (he does deserve death, if you ask me: one thousand deaths wouldn't be enough for him) and a political one. And see, I oppose capital punishment, even in the case of someone who does not deserve anything else, or to put it so: death by hanging is too mild a punishment for him. Will it do justice to the victims? Hardly. He had too many. Is this the way to do it? A longer trial would be needed, in his case. And one in Iran, and one in Kuweit, and one on Kurd territory. He had too many victims. Also, I don't know how good the timing is. I am glad that capital punishment was abolished in 1990 here. Even if those who deserved it thoroughly, are alive now. It is double edged.

roman said...

redwine,

I agree it is noble to be against the death penalty but in very rare cases (mass murder) we should be able to set aside this near impossible absolutist stance against capital punishment. I know what human nature tells me. If a worldwide ban on the death penalty is ever instated, we will face an increase in criminals accused of heinous crimes who will never get to trial. Instead, justice will be dispensed at time of attempted apprehension (Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay). In the real world some human beings can occasionally restrict decisions based on pure emotion but this is the exception and not the rule. It is a sad fact of life.

Pete's Blog said...

I mush disagree Roman:

The US:

- invades a country for real and manufactured reasons
- demolishes Iraq's government and its ability to maintain law and order
- unseats its leader
- arranges that the obvious Guilty verdict occur at a time favourable to US Republican Party (what 50 or so hours before the midterms? - no coincidence)

Perhaps more Iraqi's would be alive today if their country had not been invaded.

Occasionally democracies invade dictatorships with the best of intentions (eg Kosovo) however Iraq was about oil power not about Saddam's obvious sins or concern for Iraqis.

Pete

jams o donnell said...

Leave aside the timing (which seems just a tad coincidental) Saddam is guilty of a raft of appalling crimes against his people. He is guilty, full stop.

I oppose the death penalty and will make no exception even for a vile piece like him. killing him will not bring peace to Iraq, rather it is likely to create a martyr.

roman said...

Pete,

I don't know where to start so I'll start at the begining.

You have listed four occurances regarding Iraq which may be true or false and attribute them to the United States. I would like to remind you that there was a coalition of nations who acted in this endeavor. Not only that but they all acted on the same intelligence with the blessing of practically everyone in the political spectrum. Can you see how some might interpret this type of criticism as scapegoating and monday-night quarterbacking?
Who could have predicted three years ago what a complete calamity this invasion would turn out to be? Nostradamus was not advising the Bush administration at the time it and others, decided to invade.
Also, this... "arranges that the obvious Guilty verdict occur at a time favourable to US Republican Party (what 50 or so hours before the midterms? - no coincidence)"
If this was pre-arranged, it certainly backfired because this fact was not lost among the press and voters of every stripe. This coincidence is a negative, not a plus, for the Republicans.
Also this... "Perhaps more Iraqi's would be alive today if their country had not been invaded."
Like you say, PERHAPS... We will never know.
Lastly, there was the little matter of countless of UN resolutions that Hussein ignored for years while committing crimes against humanity. His treaty violations after the Quwait invasion. Why are these facts not important anymore? Some may call this historical revisionism for the sake of political expediency.
ANYWAY, this is just a re-hash of three years worth of political infighting. The blame game continues.
Big question? Where do we go from here! :)

roman said...

jams,

It is true that hanging Hussein would "likely create a martyr". This would be likely only among his extended family/tribe in and around Tikrit. Since most of his victims were Shia and Kurd, and they now constitute the majority in a democratic Iraq, should they not decide? It is a fairly common practice and custom in the middle east to practice capital punishment. Can we really command the Iraqi justice system into a prohibition on death sentences? We can request but never demand. Anyone that is against capital punishment should lobby for its repeal but the final decision still lies with the citizens of Iraq.

Redwine said...

"This would be likely only among his extended family/tribe in and around Tikrit." - that is the problem, Roman;
though not so numerous, the Baath and the royal family were still able to raise hell and create chaos in the name of independence. Cornered people (and the Baath seems to be presently) are extremely dangerous. No need to make a martyr of this scumbag (Saddam), and even less need to dignify him. One of the reasons I oppose the execution. It is not some kind of blind pacifism: he deserves no mercy.

jams o donnell said...

I think it would be more that just the Al Tikritis and the hardline Baathist whou would view him as a martyr. It is very possible that the sunni population, perceiving oppression at the hands of the Shias or the Kurds, could view him as a martyr of the same opression.

Maybe, maybe not. For me if the choice is to give him a swift death or a long miserable life, I choose the latter. Better he dies ignominiously as a husk of his former self when he is an old broken man.

roman said...

redwine and jams,

OK, you wore me down...I guess spending the rest of his miserable life at Abu Ghraib prison would, in fact, constitute a worse fate than death.
A couple of things to consider:
If in the remote chance he is granted a sentence commutation, I hope he is not offered book deals or TV interviews so that we will have to endure his vile personna into the future. Half of my pro-capital punishment friends tell me this type of undeserved elevation to "star status" is what keeps them on the dark side of this debate.
Also if kept alive in prison, there is always the chance that he may become free in a political compromise as a demand from the Sunni side or exchange for a kidnapped high ranking politico or foreign bigwig. That would really be tragic.
As far as which option will prevent the most additional bloodshed between the Shia and Sunnis, it is really a toss up. So many back and forth reprisal killings are taking place daily that if there is such a thing as "hell on earth" it must be in Baghdad.

Pete's Blog said...

Roman

With respect I think we have long aired our differring views on the Iraq question.

Taking you points in turn:
- the coalition (including a small Australian component) was/is overwelmingly a US force. The US pressured small countries (Marshall Islands, Bulgaria) to join its transparently thin "Coalition". The UN, France, Germany, Russia and China openly disagreed with the concept of invasion. Bush/Rumsfeld didn't listen.

- The Coalition (CoW) is there overwelmingly due to US failures of intelligence and political leadership.

- Unanimity in the US was more a reaction to 9/11 and the need to get out and do something patriotic against "terrorists" than a well considered support strategy of the Democrats.

- many in the CIA and particularly prewar State Department studies did predict the disorder that occurred. Rumsfeld and his DoD did not accept intelligence/advice contrary to their view that - a good quick invasion would resolve all problems.

- Iraq had been watched intensively by US intelligence since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. It WAS the job of US intelligence to have a apolitical feel for Iraq and how it might turn out. However Bush's tough politicians cajoled US intelligence into highlighting certain dubious facts favourable to the case for invasion.

- Israel has attracted and ignored as many UN resolutions as Iraq and invaded as many countries. In 2002-2003 the UN was explicitly said its resolutions did not justify the invasion Bush sought. One major "reason" for the invasion was UN Resolution 687 on Iraq removing its WMDs - when Iraq said by 2002 it didn't have WMDs (and it didn't) this was seen by the US as lying and defying justice (the pre-determined invasion followed).

- "historical revisionism" 1000s of Western troops and 100,000s of Iraqis have just died due to the 3 year occupation. I think politicians and miscreant officials being called to account (under a better balnced Congress) is quite in order.

"Big question? Where do we go from here!"

A series of Congressional inquiries to seek the truth concerning the "tailoring intelligence for political reasons" habit. Intelligence officers will now be more willing to speak up because they now have hope that Bush and his cronies have been weakened.

Pete :D

Renegade Eye said...

Roman: You are outnumbered on your own blog this time.

The people who are responding, are not people who take liberal positions reflexively.

The trial was such a mess, political education didn't come from it. I'll concede the trial was fairer than Zinoviev's.

Anonymous said...

Roman, you draw attention to the U.N. Resolutions that Sadaam ignored. Do you draw the same distinction re the U.N. Resolutions that Israel, a brutal occupying power, has ignored (more than 100!) and the large numbers of Palestinians they've killed and are still killing?

Cheers!

roman said...

Pete,

I guess we could cite talking points regarding the Iraq mess from a right and left perspective forever and still be unconvinced. Stubborn bunch, are'nt we? :)

Ren,

You said: "The people who are responding, are not people who take liberal positions reflexively."
I agree and hope that I did not give this impression in any of my comments.

daniel,

I believe and recognize both as issues to be resolved. I believe every president since Eisenhower has tried to mediate and offer solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian disputes. Since the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel, what can we do? It's a stalemate. The Iraq issue happens to have been, and is now, the more important issue. Are you saying because Israel has issues that no other issues can be addressed?

beatroot said...

I note that there have been acres of sounding off about the hanging of Saddam, particularly in the liberal press. Which is strange as this is a side issue at best. I mean, who really cares? It is not an issue that will make any difference to the average day of the Iraqis.

Why do liberals feel the need to go on about this? Many of these same liberals supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They caught Saddam. But instead of shipping him off to the Hague (like Slobo Milosovitch etc, where the west can pose and preen about how moral they are compared to those pesky eastern Europeans) they opted to have the trial in Iraq. This was an attempt to give the regime (elected but severely constrained by occupation) some legitimacy and autonomy.

Well, the liberals have got a decision that actually has some legitimacy in Iraq – an overwhelming majority want to see him dangle - but they don’t like it. They don’t like the will of Arabic people when they get a chance to express it.

The liberals are as imperialist as the neocons, and just as puke making.

roman said...

beatroot,

You asked: "Why do liberals feel the need to go on about this?"

Why, indeed.
I think it has to do with the "I told you so" factor. Although a few have every right to gloat and feel a sense of vindication but I must state the obvious. Far too many lefties were as "gun ho" as the neocons to remove slimeball Hussein and many of those same lefties are acting very sanctimoniuos with exaggerated rightious indignation and pointing the finger at everybody else. These are the same folks that are running TV commercials here demanding Bush to "do something about Darfur".
Lately, I'm starting to feel like I'm being scolded by the librarian for whispering too loudly.
Like Rodney King once said "Why can't we all just get along?"

You're right about the puke factor. Pox on both their houses.
Democrats and Republicans, two peas in the same pod.

Anonymous said...

No, all I'm saying is there is a bizarre double-standard when it comes to who can ignore U.N. Resolutions without criticism, who can have nuclear weapons, who can use torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, napalm, phosphorous bombs, invasion and occupation, etc. Cheers!

jams o donnell said...

Roman,
"....Like Rodney King once said "Why can't we all just get along?"

Had we been arguing in a pub It would be around time I'd be asking what you're drinking!

roman said...

jams,

A botched quote from Rodney King. What was I thinking? Pass me another Bud.

Pete's Blog said...

Roman

Yes we're indeed stubborn. Though one can assume I'm always reight ;D

barrylando said...

Dont see how one can go along with the hypocrisy of trying Saddam Hussein and a few of his Iraqi lieutenants for the crimes that occurred during his regime, when the U.S. and Britain and others were complicit in so much of Saddam's brutality. Yet the media continues to present the trials without so much as a word about this basic point.

barry lando said...

roman, since our blogs seem to run in the same subject area, could we exchange links? couldnt find your email address...
my site is http://barrylando.com
email is barry.lando@wanadoo.fr

roman said...

barry lando,

Thank you for stopping by my site. I have linked to your site and hope my readers do likewise. Informed readers make wise decisions.

San Nakji said...

It seems like an easy way to take care of a problem. I don't think the right decision has been made

Renegade Eye said...

The trial was such a sham, to call it self determination is a mute point.

I concede his trial was fairer than Zinoviev's.

Redwine said...

At least he did not confess spying for Japan. Japanese spies were my favorites.

roman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
roman said...

Ren,

You said: "I concede his trial was fairer than Zinoviev's."

A study in contrast. Back in 1936, the monster (Stalin) was calling the shots and eliminating both real and imagined political rivals. Currently, it's the monster (Saddam Hussein) being eliminated. While the trial may not have been 100% perfect, I am, nevertheless, satisfied with the outcome.
Back in 1936, the Old Bolsheviks, were purged because of underhanded political dealings by a tyrant. This time the tyrant is on the receiving end.

Redwine said...

Cheese and chalk. Why to draw a comparison at all? Why not comapare him to Ted Bundy then, after all, can a trial be fair? The 21th century seems unable to digest what the 20th left behind: this Bush-Hitler-Ahmadinejad -Hitler-Putin- Chavez comparisons are terribly wrong. The old trap of this Ottoman "enemy of my enemy".
\(Btw: what the Middle Ages knew well and we seem to forget:: the evil has no face, only faces. )

roman said...

Redwine,

I sense your frustration. The reason, IMHO, we make comparisons is because there are degrees of evil. It is in our nature to make value judgements in this respect. Applying any kind of quantifiable basis to the list, I would have to draw the conclusion that Joseph Stalin tops the list of villains. Mao Tse Tung may beat Uncle Joe but we will never know who is responsible for more deaths. The staggering numbers that we are dealing with here makes these two men far and away the 20'th century's most evil. Hitler comes in a strong third. The rest are minor league players.. so far.
Also, I think that the concept of " the enemy of my enemy.." goes back a bit further than the Ottomans. Probably when the inhabitants of one cave kept a weary eye on the inhabitants of other caves.:)

sonia said...

Amen. I agree 100%. Interesting comments too. Btw, that Zinoviev reference that Renegade Eyes uses originally came from me.

I linked to this post on my blog here.

LeftyHenry said...

hmm well, yes, he definately deserves to be hanged. However, he was 15 years past his killings and is definately not the worst of tyrants. If we were really going in somewhere for humanitarian reasons, it would be Sudan. Iraq was a target basically because we were trying to establish a pro-US regime in a increasingly anti-US region.

roman said...

Leftyhenry,

Thank you for your comment. I welcome you.

I do agree with you that; "Iraq was a target basically because we were trying to establish a pro-US regime in a increasingly anti-US region."
If one takes into account the incredibly large Iraqi civilian and coalition casualties and over $300 billions expended, the US has failed to win over the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. I am happy to hear that the Maliki government set a date of June '07 for Iraqi troops to start carrying the burden of national security. This is a green light for our exit. We (the US & allies) should get the hell outa there ASAP and stop expending lives and treasure in a futile attempt at establishing ideals of a Jeffersonian democracy.

Renegade Eye said...

Probably the next case of capital punishment in Iraq, will be a woman for crimes against Islam.

For now the only important question is was it a fair trial, and is capital punishment correct?

What would you say about that trial if someone beloved was tried?

roman said...

Ren,

You asked: "For now the only important question is was it a fair trial, and is capital punishment correct?"

When there is such an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that any reasonably objective spectator would agree with conviction coupled with massive crimes against humanity, I have no problem with capital punishment. One caveat; only when the crime fits the punishment and when all possible appeals are examined by at least several elected judges. I would caution against applying 100% technical "rules of law" to nations whose very nature and culture are not able to invest the many resources when compared to other nations. Would that not be a form of legal snobbery?

Pete's Blog said...

Hmmm

Hangin's too good for em. How about a dose of Polonium-210?!

To see why check out http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com

Pete

polishpenguin said...

There's a reason why Bush Sr. didn't invade Iraq. He said, "We need a counterweight with Iran." And what's happening now? Iran is stronger than ever after Iraq fell apart to sectionalism.

roman said...

polishpenguin,

No argument there. The current Bush envisioned a counterweight with coalition oversight. Instead he got the mess we have now. The Iranian clerics who run the country must be having an easy time convincing the masses that Allah, through devine intervention, brought about this favorable result as a reward and sign of approval of their rightious governance. It's all very frustrating indeed.

jams o donnell said...

Well it's done now. While I won't shed a tear for his passing it is unlikely to make Iraq a safer place.

On a lighter note I hope 2007 is a good year for you, Roman