Over the last couple of years, I’ve written a few posts on the death penalty, putting the view that it should opposed in all circumstances, rather than just when its popular. I’t’s no surprise then that I don’t support the execution of Saddam Hussein.
Itâ€™s only human for some of the victims of his tyranny to be pleased with his death, and the fact that justice ‘of a sort’ caught up with him in a way that many other tyrants and dictators escape. It is also understandable to not feel overly upset at the fate he has met, compared with some other state sanctioned executions that are carried out. But I still believe the death penalty is wrong, something which at least on this issue the Pope agrees with me about.
While Iraq is a big enough mess regardless of what happened to Saddam, Im also not convinced it is terribly helpful to execute someone after a less than adequate trial process, particularly when he was still to be tried for crimes far greater than the one he got convicted on. It is hard to see how the appearance of a show trial followed by a rushed execution will help anything much. The fact that the allegations of genocide against the Kurds were not examined before a properly operating court of law is unfortunate, but given that Saddam was the ally of the USA and Europe through much of this period, there’s probably a lot of relief that some of the facts of who knew what about what Saddam was doing and who was supplying him with weapons and other support wont come to light in this arena.
ELSEWHERE: There will no doubt be many comment pieces in the mainstream media on this topic over the next few days. I imagine most of them will revolve around whether the execution was a good or a bad thing and whether the death penalty is OK before going back onto the topic of how much a mess Iraq is now and what should be done next. Not surprisingly, there are already many pieces on the blogosphere about it, many of which will have as much worth as much of what is in the mainstream media – albeit with a wider variety of styles and lengths. A few pieces on Australian blogs are at Suburban Scrawl, Urban Creature, The Road to Surfdom, Leftwrites, Larvatus Prodeo (times two), Kalimna, Bastards Inc, and Anonymous Lefty (whose hacked blogsite has now been un-hacked – at least I hope it has, unless someone is really trying to mess with his/our head). If you’re really keen, you can search blogs at Technorati – according to their search engine, there’s been over 1500 posts mentioning Saddam in the last 24 hours (and that’s just the ones written in English).
The Guardian newspaper describes the events at Saddam’s hanging, and a variety of reactions, including criticisms from Kurdish Iraqis that it was turned into a sectarian event by the government.
The New York Times also described the final scenes and says “America questioned the political wisdom and justice of expediting the execution, in ways that required Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to override constitutional and religious precepts.”