And no, I did not say "Hasta la vista, baby," since I have no intention of seeing him again.
The U S Military reports that the Iraqi government may execute Saddam Hussein before 2006 is a done deal. I have no problem with that. I am concerned about two things.
1) It troubles me that certain elements of the progressive movement, and in this case, that includes the Roman Catholic Church, embrace a reflexively anti-death penalty position, even though it is in the best interest of 26 million people that this man be demonstrably removed from the politica stage. And frankly, even if we put him in Supermax in Colorado, we would always be accused of holding his possible release over the heads of Iraqis to sway the attitude of their government (a la the British with Napoleon on St Helena) whether we did so or not.
Look at some of the arguments:
Cardinal Renato Martino, Pope Benedict XVI's top prelate for justice issues and a former Vatican envoy to the U.N., condemned the death sentence in a newspaper interview published Thursday, saying capital punishment goes against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
After Saddam's death sentence was handed down last month, Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, urged Iraq to ensure a fair appeals process and to refrain from executing Saddam even if the sentence is upheld.
Some international legal observers and human rights groups have also called Saddam's trial unfair because of alleged interference by the Shiite-dominated government. There has also been internal debate among Iraqis about legal procedures surrounding the timeframe and whether the presidency is required to approve the execution.
Like Saddam ever worried about the niceties of legal procedures.
Besides, have these guys ever read the Bible? capital punishment is all over the place. I guess the peas-n-justise types have their place in the RCC too.2) Of more concern is the possibility that Saddam will be seen as some kind of martyr in some quarters. I had a suggestion about this a couple years ago. Since I was pre-blog, I actually sent an email to POTUS, the VP, Secretary of State Powell, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. (Yeah. I was one of those.) I suggested that since any verdict in an Iraqi courtroom under U.S. occupation could be viewed as illegitimate, we should allow Saddam to be tried first by an indiputably Islamic government which would certainly find him guilty of capital crimes. I thought we should turn him over to the Kuwaitis.
All water under the bridge now, of course. But some will still see him as a martyr.
May God have mercy on him.
Originally posted on 12/28.
Update: Saddam is dead.
One man interviews from Dearborn, MI on Fox News Channel this morning said that in addition to freeing the Iraqi people of this brutal murderer, he also "felt a little sorry" for Saddam.
I agree. To see the footage of this man, even this evil man, looking befuddled and on his way to his death must, I think, cause us to feel sympathy for another human being. Or else we are at least a few steps down the road to being him.
Which is not to say that this was not the right thing to do, because it was.