Several wrongs do NOT deserve a wrong

Rebuilding a nation based on United States’ democracy means the death penalty and what better way to join the ranks of the most progressive nations as a young democracy than participate in the most high profile execution. Saddam Hussein today joined Hideki Tojo and Benito Mussolini as the only deposed leaders in modern history to be executed.

Although it seems perfectly clear that Saddam Hussein was a war criminal and committed various crimes against humanity, by executing him, the nascent Iraqi government shows that it is still the pawn of the Conservative Right United States government. There were many ways for Iraq and the US to proceed in this matter that would have served justice. First, the US and Iraq could have submitted Hussein to the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague or the International Court of Justice. This would have showed the world that Iraq really is a progressive democracy. However, because of the US stance against both supranational tribunals, the Iraqi government was forced to revert to the Saddam-style executions with red cards and the like. Second, the US and Iraqi officials could have put him on trial for his countless other war crimes. This would have lasted several years and the former dictator would have lived his last days in a cell still defending himself of wrongdoings. Third, the Iraqi court and Prime Minister could have stayed his execution and relegated Saddam to live out his life from a jail cell and become no more than a chapter in Iraqi history after he became irrelevant.

Despite these options, the US and Iraq committed another crime against humanity by claiming to be acting in the name of humanity. If the US policy is progressivism in the Middle East and the creation of democracy, it must be a democracy that values human life above all other things. For what else is there without being safe in one’s own person? We are so quick to condemn others for byzantine practices but fail to see our own failings in the mirror.

Shame on the US for spreading state-sponsored death. Shame on the Iraqis for letting us do it.

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One Response to Several wrongs do NOT deserve a wrong

  1. anoodle says:

    Great thought provoking post. It could be argued that this decision was made under Iraqi law and enacted by the Iraqi justice system; this is true, but we all know that without the United States’ support and influence, this could never have happened.

    I happen to agree with the good man who made this post that the death penalty is barbaric and it would have likely been far worse for Saddam to live out his miserable days in solitary confinement forced to dwell in his own mind for years to come. It also wouldn’t have been the worst thing to levy one charge after another on Saddam and his co-totalitarianists for the world to see the value of true justice. Although I feel this way intellectually, I can’t say I feel bad in my heart that Saddam is gone– he was responsible for the murder and torture of thousands of innocent people and the world will be better without him.

    A couple of interesting points–

    1– The Haj is underway as we speak, arguably the most important event in the muslim calendar, with millions of Muslims making their way to Mecca (a requirement for anyone able to occur at some point in their lifetime). Saturday starts a holiday for Muslims that marks the end of the Haj, and apparently, they rushed to kill him before the holiday. I worry a bit what the reaction will be in the Muslim world. The media is trying hard to paint a picture of celebration– CNN is showing the same celebration in Dearborn, Michigan (2nd biggest Arab american community in the country) over and over. I’m anxious to see the reaction in the Arab street, especially in the Sunni countries.

    2– Historians may point to this moment as the official beginning of the Iraqi civil war. We know for a fact that the war has been going on for some time already, but 20-50 years from now, this may be a date in history that marks the beginning of a new phase in Iraq. Personally, I don’t think it will change a thing on the ground in Iraq.

    3– Would it have been the worst thing in the world to just wait until after the New Year, and after the Muslim holiday was over? NYC was already going to be on a high state of alert, but do we need to throw kerosene on the fire immediately before 2 million people are going to be on the streets of NYC?

    4– I think the White House will, for the first time in this administration’s history, have a moderate response. There will be no photo-ops, no mission accomplisheds, no silly grandiose statements from the administration. That is a good thing.

    5– The media will have the gruesome pictures all over TV very soon, and definitely all over the internet. I think there’s a good chance those pictures will further inflame the situation in Iraq.

    6– I wouldn’t be surprised to see a major Shia figure retaliated against in Iraq in the coming days. There have been attempts on the lives of many politicians there for some time– this may be enough to get one of them to succeed.

    7– While the administration won’t gloat about this, they will use it as an “opportunity” to remind us of the dangerous war we’re in…..

    More later….

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