Monday, January 01, 2007

Saddam's execution

Stephen Bainbridge, a law professor at UCLA, presents an interesting Catholic perspective on whether Saddam should have been executed. Despite my conflicted feelings about the death penalty, I do not think it was wrong to execute Saddam for his crimes, just as I do not think it was wrong for the State of Israel to execute Adolf Eichmann in 1962 for his part in the Holocaust.

I do, on the other hand, question why he was executed now, before his trial for genocide against the Kurds had been completed. Without diminishing the tragedy of the deaths of the men of Dujail who were murdered after an assassination attempt on Saddam (his conviction on this charge led to the death penalty), I think that it would have been much better if the full range of his crimes had been dealt with through several trials.


  1. Why was he executed now? Is there really any doubt?

    had the trial (or, rather, trials) continued as a means to reveal all his many crimes against his nation, the process would have to have delved into the complicity of certain incumbent or recently retired officials in the current US government in many of those crimes (when they were officials in previous governments). Neither the “sovereign” Iraqi government nor its patrons ever wanted that.

    Much like the Romanian National Salvation Front with Ceaucescu--only much less efficiently and much more divisively--the former dictator must be put away once and for all before he takes his overthrowers down with him.

  2. Do you have any proof of this, or is this just more leftwing conspiracy-mongering?

  3. I think that the account that Christopher Hitchens gives in Slate (The Shameful Hanging of Saddam Hussein) is a far more likely explanation of why he was executed now.

  4. I don't find Hitchens inconsistent with what I said.

    There is a reason he was not tried in The Hague, for example: The US government would not have wanted a trial that would let its own past complicity in weapons and chemical transfers be brought to light. (That there was such complicity is not really controversial.)

    Once the decision was made to hold the trial in Iraq, the trial was guaranteed not to be "fair" by international human-rights standards. And handing the process over to the so-called sovereign Iraqi government was tantamount to acquiescing in a crude Shiite coup d'état (as Hitchens put it).

    Whether this is a "left wing" perspective or not, and whether it smacks of "conspiracy" or not is really irrelevant to me. I call 'em as I see 'em.