Saddam shocker — or not?


Well, I’m back and I just wrote an editorial for tomorrow’s paper about Saddam’s execution.

Which leaves me wondering — did you find that as shocking as I did? I mean, I knew they had said 30 days and all, but I’m used to what that means over here, which is, "You’ve got 30 days to file your motions" before an automatic stay. He was in the middle of another trial, after all, with more to come.

But to state the obvious, things are different over there. Over there, "30 days" means, "You see how the moon looks tonight? He ain’t gonna see it like that again."

Still, since everything about Iraq has been so complicated and so hard to pull off, it was sort of disorienting so see how easy it was to hang a guy.

Beyond my first question, I suppose I should also ask what you think of it — as if you wouldn’t tell me anyway. For me, it’s like this: I don’t believe in capital punishment. At the same time, I won’t mourn the loss of this particular subject. Note the ambivalent, bureaucratic word "subject." I want to make myself feel better by calling him a "monster," but I know he was a man. I also believe he was a man the world is better off without, but I’m not God, which is why I’m against capital punishment.

Of course, one makes allowances, and by Iraqi standards this is progress. For a man to be hanged by the numbers after due process with the world looking on — that’s Iraqi justice, and that’s a new thing. Now all we need is for there to be justice for the millions of folks outside the Green Zone, who deserve far better than their former leader.

This was a pretty small step in that direction. But it was a step. Ironically, after all the years of conflict over Saddam, it seemed like a footnote as we struggle with the issue of whether to keep trying to bring about a just and peaceful Iraq. Here we are moving into this enormous national conversation about what to do about Iraq, and out of nowhere comes this development.

We look briefly over our shoulders and say, "They hanged who? Saddam? Well, that was quick," and turn back to the larger debate. That’s fitting. In a more just world, Saddam would have amounted to no more than that.

13 thoughts on “Saddam shocker — or not?

  1. Ed

    Mary is on a ridiculous rant as usual, so I guess you’re on pretty solid ground Brad. In any event, like you I find that I have little sympathy for Saddam Hussein. Now, I stand firmly in favor of capital punishment, and it would be easy for me to say that I really like the idea that death sentences are carried out within thirty days of sentencing. The easy position would be for me to say that if we did things this way here in the US, the death penalty would have much more of the deterrent effect we like to believe it has on criminals who are still on the street. But I have to admit that there have been innocent people on death row, and likely some innocents have been killed in error by the state…so as much as I hate to, I have to say that a more measured pace, once a person has been sentenced to death, is probably the fairer way to do it. I don’t hold with endless appeals and guys sitting on death row for 20 years like we do now, but it seems to me that 30 days is rushing things a bit, given that we get it wrong from time to time. Ed

  2. Mark Whittington

    I don’t think that Mary is so far off the mark. Obviously though, Brad isn’t the stupidest person in the world-that distinction is held by dear Decider himself. However, at a minimum, Brad’s judgment has been totally compromised by his failed neo conservative/neo liberal worldview. The truth is that we invaded a country that was no military threat to us based on bogus/manipulated intelligence, and that a bunch of radical wackos misled us based on their non-reality, neo con theory.
    We’re directly responsible for the deaths of tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of the Iraqi people. We destabilized the entire country, which in turn created the conditions for the vicious sectarian civil war that we are now witnessing. We’re responsible for the useless deaths of 3,000 American soldiers, and for the critical injuries of many more of our combatants. We’re responsible because we allowed Bush and Cheney to do it.
    Brad is more responsible than the rest of us because he pushed this debacle from day one, yet Brad still refuses to take responsibility for his grievous errors. Maybe Mary is right. Maybe Brad is stupid. Is it stubborn pride or stupidity that causes Brad to continually screw up? You make the call.

  3. Dave

    Mary and her leftist crowd wanted to keep Saddam around for at least 10 years. Hey, here’s a guy who hated George Bush, was against the Iraq war, hates the Israeli Jews, likes higher oil prices, hey, wait a minute, thats the Democrat platform, no wonder the liberals now regret the departure of Saddam. He was a Dem spokesman to the end.

    A quick hanging was much too kind of an end for him. He was arrogant and unremorseful to the bitter end. Long ago, a hang grenade into the spider hole he hid in would have saved all a lot of aggravation and wasted time.

  4. Ed

    Mark, I don’t buy this “we destabilized the entire country” bilge, as if the stability of a country was the most important thing of all, no matter what that “stability” might cost in terms of human life, suffering and that the country was a harbor for terrorists and others who intend us harm. Innocent people in Iraq have perished to be sure, but innocent people perished in the World Trade Center attacks too, and for me the war in Iraq has been justified. I only wish that we had the resolve to finish what we started. I can’t wait for the new democrat congress to ban trans fat, raise the minimum wage, hike taxes and take over medical care. These are the things we really need to be focused on in a deadly world. Ed

  5. bud

    For now, I’m going to abstain from any more discussion of the Iraq war. But I will weigh in on the death penalty.
    Ed correctly points out that we have executed innocent people in this country. In order to keep these events to a minumum (but never eliminated entirely) we have this very long, draw-out appeals process which costs millions of dollars per execution.
    The constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The cruel part has alway applied. But since most of the world utilized the death penalty in one form another it was not unusual. But for the last 50 years or so most nations have moved away from the use of the death penalty. That makes it unusual as well as cruel. Therefore capital punishment is unconstitutional.
    But those are not the most important reasons for opposing capital punishment. The main reason is that it serves to promote and glorify death. As a result the crazy wackos out there are drawn to killing like a moth is drawn to light and we end up with more murders. Which is why we have one of the highest murder rates in the world. And in states without the death penaly the murder rates are lower than for states with it.
    To sum it all up, the death penalty should be abolished for at least 4 reasons:
    1. Innocent people are wrongly executed.
    2. It’s very costly.
    3. It’s unconstitutional.
    4. It increases the murder rate.

  6. chrisw

    The problem for America is…
    This right wing republican wants out in 60 days…but Nancy Pelosi and her gang are interested in social issues (read that as hey…it’s 1972 all over again!) They are more interested in fighting old, unsolvable arguments than saving our young men and woman from the horrors of a war that they are not allowed to win.
    But there is no plan…all we get from them is GW Bush is a murderer and Christians are evil, conservative are crap, blah blah blah…..
    Get us out of Iraq and I will donate money, hold signs, protest…whatever…but for goodness sake at least PRESENT US WITH A PLAN.

  7. Doug

    I think killing thousands of innocent Iraqis is far more cruel than killing a murderous dictator. They should have shot Saddam in the spider hole but the decision not to was a political one… just as the U.S. has tried to act like we had no role in Saddam’s execution. Our “leaders” actually believe that we can somehow push all the responsibility onto the sham Iraqi puppet government to protect us from backlash. Fat chance. I wonder if Bush will have the cojones to actually execute Bin Laden or if he’ll pass that on to a third party as well.
    3000 dead. No progress. No plan. It’s not the Democrats responsibility until Bush abdicates his Commander in Chief role or else comes to Congress and gets an up or down vote on declaring war. Til then, it’s Bush’s war, Bush’s debacle, and Bush’s failed plan for exporting democracy to people who don’t want it, understand it, or embrace it.

  8. Brad Warthen

    Jerry Seinfeld once said that handicapped parking spaces are like mirages in the desert. You’re driving around searching frantically for a spot, and there, just up ahead — Yes! It’s a space!
    But no, you get there, see the handicap sign, and realize it was a mirage.
    Mary Rosh is like the handicap space of blogging. You go, “Hey, I got a comment!” But you read less than a line of it and realize, Nope, just Mary.
    This was a particularly bad row in the parking lot — three Marys, and only seven actual, thoughtful comments.

  9. Ready to Hurl

    Brad, on Saturday one of the men, US Army Specialist Douglas Logan Tinsley, 21, who died for the unending, fraudulent war that you support wholeheartedly will be buried in Chester.
    Perhaps in a tiny gesture of humanity and sympathy you will attend his services. You’ll find the details on page B4 of The State (1/4/07).
    We’ll all understand if you just can’t find the time. After all, working tirelessly to ensure that there are many more funerals of American servicemen and women is a time consuming calling.
    Private Tinsley is survived by his mother, father, and siblings– including a brother who also serves. I’m sure that they’d be heartened to hear of your sacrifices for the war.

  10. Randy Ewart

    Brad, I find this picture to be in very poor taste. In keeping with your anti-capital punishment stance (which I agree with), I think this picture is sensationalist and horrifying.
    I’m not surprised that some chatters sweep their “Christian beliefs” aside and support the hanging. This is a man who at the time was defenseless and harmless . Yes, he is as evil as man can be and he committed the some of the worst atrocities. Regardless, this is a human life that was taken.
    I fail to see how posting this picture serves a purpose.

  11. live private

    I’ve basically been doing nothing worth mentioning. Not that it matters. I just don’t have anything to say these days. I’ve just been hanging out waiting for something to happen. Not much on my mind these days.

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