Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

I understand that Saddam Hussein was not a nice man and that he was undoubtedly responsible for many horrible, unspeakable events over his years in power. I also understand the need for revenge - it's a human response. But revenge is not justice, even when it is state-sanctioned revenge.

What I do not understand is what the parties to his execution (and you all know who you are) hoped to accomplish by killing him. Yes, he had to answer for what he had done, but was this really about guilt or innocence or revenge? I think revenge may have been a more powerful motive than justice.

Otherwise - what was the big rush? Complete all of the trials pending - that would have resulted in guilty verdicts (probably) but not an execution as Saddam would have been too old under Iraqi law to have been executed. But history would have been better served. Maybe the Shiites got "justice", but what about the Kurds, Iranians, and other groups that suffered under Saddam's regime? Where is their justice?

His trial was a political showcase and history will determine if it was fair or not. From what was shown of the trial and the commentary by some legal experts (many experts did say it was fair, so even the experts cannot agree), it seems that the trial would not have stood up to scrutiny if held anywhere but Iraq.

Certainly his US defence lawyers have already commented that they felt that the trial was not fair or even legal by many standards - it was about speed and the inevitable verdict and sentence. It does not bode well for the entire Iraqi legal system. The aftermath of the trial and execution remains to be seen, but can anyone be surprised if the violence increases?

Ding dong the witch is dead, but it is not a time to celebrate, but rather to feel sad for a nation stuck in a morass with no way out.

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