I’m wondering what was accomplished with the execution of Saddam Hussein.
This whole scenario has been vexing to me. As an ethical principle, I am opposed to capital punishment. Personally I think it’s barbaric. True, it is used on people who did barbaric behavior, but I don’t know if being barbaric to barbarians is, at its core, justice.
However, if it is the law of the land it probably needs to be practiced and if it is practiced it needs to be practiced on the very worst people in society. Saddam Hussein was, if anyone, a poster child for capital punishment.
There is an inherent danger however, when one nation unilaterally invades another nation and removes the leader. It has become increasingly apparent that we, as a nation, unilaterally invaded Iraq. Saddam was a bad guy; but there are other bad guys. Saddam was a tyrant, but there are other tyrants. If we invaded every country with a brutal dictator at its helm we would be invading nation after nation. Iraq was not involved with 9/11 and Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and our isolation of that nation had removed it as a threat to its neighbors. It’s hard to make an argument other than the fact that we unilaterally invaded Iraq and removed Saddam.
But he was a bad guy and was removed and what’s done is done. He was tried by his own people, found guilty (as indeed he was), and sentenced to death by hanging. He was an Iraqi and was tried in Iraq by Iraqis under their law. So be it.
What was crucially important, however, was that his execution be done quietly and, frankly, secretly so that he not become a martyr. I watched the tape. The Internet is an amazing source for material and I watched the complete unedited tape. It’s pretty ugly. There is a lot of yelling. Saddam, a Sunni was being put to death by Shiite executioners and they wanted him to know that in a big way. They mocked him by chanting the name of their leader. The judge was trying to maintain order and there was little more than chaos. The one person in the room who behaved with any sense of dignity was, alas, Saddam Hussein. If one was a Sunni who watched that tape one would have come to the conclusion that Saddam was martyred for their cause. The last thing in the world anyone wanted or needed was to make Saddam Hussein into a martyr. And he became one. So it makes me wonder what was accomplished with the execution of Saddam Hussein. A remarkably evil man was put to death----but now he has become a hero to so many----and that is truly distressing.