Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Is Executed



I think you know by now that I hold no brief for Saddam Hussein, Bush. You and I don't often agree on anything, but I do share your view that this man was evil. The atrocities he committed in his long reign of terror are unforgivable by any rational human being.

I do take issue, though, with the process that culminated in his death by hanging this morning. First--and most importantly, for me--his sentence effectively deprived Iraqis and the world of an accounting for his many other terrible deeds. Most notable, of course, is the genocidal chemical attack on his own Kurdish citizens; his trial for this crime was already under way, and to cut it short is another criminal act. As the atonement hearings in South Africa showed, a public airing of these grievous acts is a prerequisite to national healing. Iraq, I believe, is sorely in need of healing of this kind.

My second issue has to do with the secretiveness and the barbarity of the thing. You know from previous entries that I am opposed, conscientiously, to the death penalty, which says more about the society that practices it than about those miscreants (not to mention the innocent) subjected to it. But the irony of this particular execution in Iraq goes far beyond my personal objections. The haste with which Saddam was dispatched and the dead-of-night secrecy that preceded his execution are bitterly reminicent of the man's own despicable methods. Add to that such recent events as the discovery, by the British, of that hellhole of a jail in Basra, along with the daily bombings, abductions and beheadings, and you have to wonder just how far this society has come as a result of Saddam's fall from power.

Were this some evidence of a civilized and orderly progression toward the rule of law, Bush, I would be less harsh in my judgment of the process that led to Saddam's death. It just seems that the words of that old French adage have been proved true yet again: translated, it says "The more things change, the more they stay the same." This whole sad, brutal spectacle makes me wonder, all the more, what it is you can possibly imagine you have achieved by your incursion into the politics and culture of the Middle East. The barbarism continues. Apace. And, heaven help us all, Bush, we are a part of it.

2 comments:

PK said...

And to think, many moons ago we backed him... Now he's been killed with our help.

PeterAtLarge said...

Another in an unending series of dreadful ironies, PK. Happy New Year, PaL