I just saw news come through that Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and has been sentenced to death by hanging. The verdict seems completely right to me and the sentence seems utterly wrong.
There are very few things that I think are unequivocally right or wrong in virtually all circumstances. The death penalty is one – I find it hard to think of a single instance where it should be carried out. It is easy to oppose the death penalty when it’s inflicted on Australians, or on other people who one feels sympathy for for some reason or other. The rest of the time, it is easier to stay quiet.
It is hard to think of a more unsympathetic character than Saddam Hussein, who almost without doubt is personally culpable for the carrying out of some horrific slaughters and whose actions and directions have led directly to many thousands of unnecessary deaths, and lifelong trauma and anguish for many thousands more. I felt it was therefore as good (or bad) a time as any to voice again my total opposition to the death penalty.