Don’t Execute Saddam
December 29, 2006
I’m against the execution of Saddam Hussein. Because I’m against the execution of any person, no matter how heinous the crime.
I’ve got no doubt that Saddam Hussein is guilty of some of the most heinous crimes of the late twentieth century. But I don’t believe that murdering even a mass murderer proves anything.
It certainly doesn’t prove that murder is wrong.
And it appeals to the basest, most animalistic impulse of the human brain: the impulse for revenge.
In a country like Iraq that is being torn asunder right now by revenge killings, the execution of Saddam will serve only to further enflame the Sunni population, leading to yet another round of sectarian violence. The cycle of murder will spin ever faster after Saddam hangs lifeless.
Nor was justice served in the trial of Saddam, which Amnesty International called “deeply flawed and unfair.”
“The court failed to take adequate measures to ensure the protection of witnesses and defense lawyers, three of whom were assassinated during the course of the trial,” Amnesty noted.
Another example: The appeals court took all of 15 minutes to rule against Saddam, making it one of the most hurried and perfunctory hearings this side of China.
One last thing: According to Iraq’s constitution, the president of the country is supposed to sign off on any and all executions.
But President Jalal Talabani opposes capital punishment on principle, and he vowed last year that he would not sign Saddam’s death warrant.
Here is what he said on August 29, 2005, according to Agence France-Presse. “I am a man of principles. I cannot forgo my principles for the sake of my post. If there is a clash between the post and the principles, I will give up the post and keep the principles.”
No matter. Now Talabani’s office says he doesn’t have to sign the death warrant after all.
The execution must go on.
George Bush must have his pound of flesh.