Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Big Verdict!

Well, I will be the first to post on this breaking news that I am sure you have all been hearing about. Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death by hanging. Many Iraqis are celebrating this verdict, feeling that in this way justice has been served regarding the many human rights abuses committed under Hussein's regime. This is such a huge development- with all of our discussions about punishment for powerful leaders who have orchestrated campaigns of violence, this certainly provides an example of the most extreme form of punishment. As a strong believer in the need for harsh punishments for leaders guilty of human rights abuses, I surprised myself by feeling slightly bad for Hussein as I watched the video of his reaction while his death sentence was delivered. But it only takes a tiny reminder that we are looking at the face of evil. President Bush, as expected, is extremely pleased with this verdict and sees it as a symbol for the promising future of Iraq. Personally, my views on the death penalty are not firmly formulated- but whether you support it or not, we can perhaps agree that if death as a punishment should ever be enforced this instance might be it. Is this the best way justice can be delivered to the Iraqi people? Should this set precedent as punishment of other guilty world leaders?


Elle said...

I am not convinced that this is the best way to go about resolving the issue. Yes, Saddam needs to be punnished, but I feel that the death penalty in inappropriate in any occasion, including this one. I think that the most important thing for Iraq right now is reconciliation for the people. Last week we read about how South Africans percieve justice in their country. A study was done to test various factors in the truth, justice and reconciliation process. According to the study, reconciliation is more than the punnishment of a victim. It also includes elements such as apologies, reparations, and oppurtunities for victims to tell their stories. After Saddam is killed, the opportunities for the victims to confrom their killer will be lost forever. People will always harbor repressed pain and anger. Simple, and inexpensive measures can be taken to mollify this, but it involves keeping Saddam alive. Why are we punnishing Saddam? Because of his gross human rights violations. Now, our focus should be on healing the Iraqi people, and the death of Saddam will not help.

buckley said...

I disagree with Elle on this. The execution of Saddam Hussein provides justice to the Kurds and Shia in Iraq. Saddam was directly responsible for the torture and death of thousands. If the Iraqis do not severely punish Saddam what kind of a message is the newly formed Iraqi Judiciary System sending to the Iraqi people?
Also, the idea that “apologies, reparations, and opportunities for victims to tell their stories” will somehow heal the Iraqi people seems somewhat shortsighted considering the tension that exists between Iraqi Sunnis and Iraqi Shia and Kurds. I somehow find it difficult to see a Sunni going to Irbil or Basra, walking up to a Kurd or Shia and apologizing for persecuting, torturing, and slaughtering their people for dozens of years.

jimbo said...

I agree with buckley i think the only way to display justice in this situation is to kill the man who was behind all the madness in the first place. Like Buckley said he was dereclty respondsible for thhe deaths of thousand and those peoples families need closure i think it was important he was judged by the people he lead, and not the american goverment. This judgement is a better messege sent to the comunity as a whole then could ever be sent in words.

Brooks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brooks said...

I completely agree with this verdict. I also agree with Elle that our focus should be on “healing the Iraqi people.” However, I feel that the death of Saddam will help that cause tremendously. Consider the changes and transitions the Iraqi people have experienced in the past few years and then try to fathom the distraught state of mind they are susceptible to as a nation. The Saddam verdict, to me, is a powerful symbol of the presence and sovereignty of the new Iraqi democracy; it is a sign of growing stability and formation of more established law. It’s also important to remember that he was tried and convicted by the very state that he persecuted, not by means of international convention. Finally, Saddam was a tyrant who committed relentless crimes against humanity; through his actions he has forfeit his own right to live. His death sentence is a huge part of bringing justice to those persecuted by Saddam.

hewhowould said...

Brooks’ last comment makes the most sense. I think the verdict should not be disgusted as good or evil in the sense should Saddam Hussein live or die. We should look at the verdict in context of if is it good for Iraq and for Iraq’s people? Like Brooks said “he was tried and convicted by the very state he persecuted, not by means of international convention.” This verdict gives power to Iraq’s judicial system and is the first step to unifying the country. Granted Iraq has a way to go but in order to unify a country there must be a single and legitimate government to rule the people and help secure the safety of all those who live under the said government.

Ozymandias said...

Essential argument: hanging is a symbol of both Saddam's regime and killing the old leader brings back unpleasant memories of former regime changes. Life inprisonment might have set the stage for a more liberal Iraq. Further, the author argues that the trial was conducted from the wrong angle: they focused on a single, highly provable event in order to insure a relatively quick trial and execution. Hitchens says that it should have been an opportunity to examine every event from Saddam's reign, so that as many people as possible could get catharsis and the entire world could be educated about Saddam's butchery.

I'm somewhat convinced by these arguments, but I don't know if I completely agree. The symbolism argument seems the weakest, but, not being Iraqi, I may be underestimating the importance of it. It's the last point that really sticks. What was the point of this trial- to punish Saddam, get "justice" (not using quotes because I think it's untrue, just because justice means different things to different people) or to set an example for the rest of the world? We have so few chances to parade true evil before the world and remind people about the importance of remaining vigilant. Would it be unfair to Saddam's victims to say "you have to wait years and years for justice, if at all, because we want to show Westerners what happens when evil is allowed to flourish"?

Rainbow said...

The Cost of War

What are we gining up to pay for a war based on lies? What are we giving up so we can see and rejoice (at least some will) in the hanging of one man?

The price was too high in both dollars and lives!

Snipe said...

A very important thought to be heard in this situation would be the fact that "The ideas don't die with the person that created them", on the contrary, that serves as a flag for their followers to believe in their ideals. It will happen, and we could see even more death in the hands of merciless terrorists.

Another thing that is bothering me, is that despite the fact that we ARE seeing the face of evil, Saddam Hussein is a human, and moments as these, prove our ideas as in "treating all human beings equally". He deserves, In the worst case, a decent merciful death. I wouldnt expect less from the situation, that We will all watch it on CNN and 1 hour later on youtube.

Anonymous said...


Saddam is not being hung to stop his ideas. "It will happen, and we could see even more death in the hands of merciless terrorists." Whether or not we hang him at the age of 70 or let him live until his natural death at the age of 90 (or whatever), his ideas will always remain in history books. Waiting 20 years is not going to prevent it. Someone will always be able to carry them on. Saddam deserves to die because he killed thousands of people. PERIOD. People need to stop analyzing it into typical liberal conspiracy theories.

--Kristy G

Mad Max said...

I understand that Saddam Hussein has told the only woman on his defense team that he is ready to meet his hangman – provided he is allowed to finish writing his novel.
"I will go to the gallows with dignity knowing I will die a martyr," he told her. "The legacy I will leave the world is my new epic work that will assure my place in literature."
I think that we should allow him to finish the manuscript then burn it right in front of his face before they put the hood over his head and toss him off.

Anonymous said...

You are all fools, SADDAM MUST NOT DIE!
In the early 1990's, after the gulf war ended, Nostradamus followers wildly speculated that Suddam Hussein was the third Anti-Christ. Many scholars have interpreted Nostradamus' prophecies over the years. The common consensus is that the first Anti-Christ, named Napaulon Roy was Napoleon, the second named Hister was Hitler and the third was named Mabus. We have yet to figure out who this last Anti-Christ will be.

Century 2, Quatrain 62
Mabus will soon die, then will come,
A horrible undoing of people and animals,
At once one will see vengeance,
One hundred powers, thirst, famine, when the comet will pass.

You can also get Saddam (Hussein) out of “Mabus” by using the anagram game of reverse lettering. Put Mabus into lower case letters — “mabus.” Reverse them and you get “subam.” Reverse any letter that makes another letter and you get “sudam.” The laws of anagram allow for doubling one letter, so you can get “suddam.” You are allowed one vowel’s replacement with another, so you can replace “u” with “a” to spell “saddam.”

jamie s said...

am I allowed to laugh at that last comment?

Snipe said...

Kristy G said:
Saddam is not being hung to stop his ideas.

True. Even though his ideas will remain, the way that he is being sentenced to death and all, makes him a martyr for Sunnies.

Anyway, his death in this case becomes a symbol for iraqui people even more important that the image we all saw on CNN of the Saddam statue being destroyed in the street. But to believe that killing a person is going to improve the actual situation or do anything good at all, it's just not right. It won't work, unless there weren't terrorists around.

Anonymous said...

Jamie S.

You should educate yourself about the prophecies of Nostradamus. It’s very interesting and very relevant to much of what’s going on today. Here is a website that might challenge your preconceived notions of reality.