Monday, November 06, 2006

Saddam Hussein: Hang Him High?

These are certainly times that test one's ethical principles, Bush. Saddam's death sentence puts me personally on the spot, with my principled opposition to the death penalty. If anyone deserves it, it's surely Saddam--along with those Nazi monsters we disposed of after World War II. I don't think there's anyone who seriously disputes the fact that thousands of his own citizens were brutally slaughtered on his orders. As Senator Joe Biden said on television yesterday, there has to be a special place in hell set aside for him.

Still, I have a couple of concerns about the Saddam verdict and his sentence. The most important, in my view, is that it effectively preempts all other trials, and every other accounting. To be sentenced for the death of a few dozen people when the man has tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of others to account for, seems to short-change those other many victims--as well as their survivors. I regret the hasty dismissal it implies, and the fact that it deprives the Iraqi people--especially, perhaps, the Kurds--of the opportunity to fully account and heal. I wonder, too, if there weren't a good few Sunnis who suffered at his hands, and whether that disgruntled group of Iraqi citizens might not be more fully persuaded of the quality of justice if he were to be brought pubicly to account for these offenses, also.

As for the death sentence itself, well, I hope we all might be allowed some exceptions from our principles. What else could be done with him? A life spent breaking rocks--or digging graves, perhaps, in the hard desert sand, and reburying the remains of those for whose deaths he was responsible, one by one? I don't know, Bush. I don't know. My nobler, more spiritual self says putting him to death does the rest of us more harm than him. And yet my gut says, hang the man.

1 comment:

PK said...

Been sitting here trying to think of a comment. Guess if I was honest... I agree with you. I've had the same feelings and thoughts. I'm not one for death penalties, doesn't solve anything. Him dying won't bring back those people. It's thier law, their people... I just don't like the fact that it was done up so soon. There is more that needs to be brought up. Wonder how much influence Bush had on all of this?