Thursday, January 04, 2007

Saddam's Execution Revisited

In a previous post, I expressed my mixed thoughts and feelings about Saddam Hussein's execution. This was before more recent and vivid revelations surfaced of how Saddam was vindictively taunted by his gleeful executioners as his death sentence was being carried out. Let me be clear that I am unequivocally opposed to the undignified manner of his execution. I believe that if capital punishment must be inflicted on anyone, it should be carried out with an utmost formality and grave solemnity that conveys the message, "All human life is precious, and we regretfully take this one as a last resort and in the hope that the day is soon coming when we will never need to do it again."

However, in response to what I posted originally, someone named Mireille said:

Yes, Steve, I also am very against death as a penalty. This penalty does not make any sense to me. To kill someone because they have committed the heinous crime of murder. If this crime is so heinous why do we also do it when giving the punishment?
To me it is like punishing a little boy who has defaced a public building by going around to his house and defacing his bedroom.

This is how I replied:

Mireille, I agree with you that it generally seems paradoxical to kill people for killing. It seems even worse to do it in the most cold-bloodedly methodical manner typical of state-sponsored execution. However, as today's entry explains, I feel ambivalent about the execution of Saddam Hussein. As much as I deplore capital punishment in general and even though I felt no elation over Hussein's execution, it is "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that Saddam and his government did such horrible things from a position of such prominence and power that if anyone deserves to die the way Saddam did, it was Saddam and his underlings.

And at least now, precious resources needn't be spent and worry exercised over keeping him secure from rescue attempts, and there can be no rallying hope among his supporters that he might someday emerge to lead them back to former days of ignominious glory. Though I'm skeptical that his death will do much to bring peace, order, and progress to a devastated and chaotic Iraq, I feel some glimmer of hope that it might contribute to this worthy cause. I hope because, frankly, I don't know what else to do at this point.

I may now, in the wake of all the ensuing controversy, be even more skeptical that Saddam's execution will do more good than harm. But I still hope that it will.

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