Third Party & Independents Archives

Let Him Dangle

Sometime this evening, if it hasn’t already happened, Saddam Hussein will most likely be executed for a portion of the crimes he committed during his reign as dictator of Iraq. While his lawyers are pleading for a stay of execution for various reasons, many in Iraq are glad to see this chapter of Iraq come to an end. However, should he be executed now without being tried for the many other crimes he’s been accused of? And what does the execution mean in the grand scheme of events in Iraq?

"Saddam's execution is a gift from God, and we must thank God for this gift," Shiite cleric Sayed Sadir al Din al-Qubanchi told worshippers in Najaf.

"I swear, I will pay all the money I have to see him executed," said Emad Jassim, a 41-year-old businessman from the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where Saddam - a Sunni - had ordered thousands of people attacked, tortured and killed. "He killed three of my brothers, my father, two of my uncles and sent my mother and sister to jail. God help the oppressed."

While these sentiments are echoed by many in the country, there is a bit of confusion about the speed at which this execution is occurring, especially since there are many more crimes that many would like to see him tried for.

Since December 2003, when American forces discovered Saddam hiding in an underground bunker near his hometown of Tikrit, many Iraqis had said his execution was inevitable. But the news Friday that it was imminent confused and shocked the country, which had assumed that its dictator of nearly three decades would face several more trials before death, including for his actions during the Iran-Iraq war and the Persian Gulf War.

Coupled with the issue that Saddam will not be tried, while living, for these other crimes, the supporters of Saddam, especially those in the town of Tikrit, have vowed that his death will result in an increase in violence in the country of Iraq.

Ramsey Clark, who worked on Saddam's Defense has suggested that the Iraqi tribunal should be disbanded and that the trail was flawed, adding:

"The stunning illegality and unfairness of the trial has already been overwhelmingly condemned by international law experts," Clark said. He called for an "independent international group of legal experts to fully review the trial."

I personally agree that Saddam should not be executed so quickly, but not because I think that he should be afforded some leniency or that the International Community doesn't agree with the death penalty. No, I think that there is much more we could learn from him about the state of Iraq before the war, his involvement with terrorism or at least try him on other charges before performing the sentence he was given by the Iraqi government.

However, that is tempered by the knowledge of what could happen to him and those trials if he were to be taken to the Hague and tried in International Court.

In March of 2001, Slobodan Milosevic was forced to surrender to security forces on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Five full years later, with delays and excruciating slowness of action, Milosevic died of a heart attack with the trial still going on and, never able to present his defense and no closure on the issue could ever be completed.

In seeing the result of the 'speediness' of an International trial in full view, I must say that the situation we have with Saddam is better, but now that he has at least been tried with one of the crimes against him, there is much less to lose with going ahead and trying him on the other serious crimes he is charged with so that the victims of those crimes can see justice done as well.

Unfortunately, it appears that the minds of the Iraqi government has been made and he will be executed soon.

But what will this do to the current state of Iraq? Shiites will applaud the action, Sunnis will not. It will most likely create a further divide between the two groups as they play out control of the current Iraq. In the conflagration currently occurring, Al Qaeda will most likely continue to try increasing their foothold in the country, neighboring states will become more concerned by the violence while trying to ensure their desires are met in Iraq. And the county itself will not start forming as it should.

It was once thought that the death of Saddam would bring an end to the separation of the country, start a new chapter and hopefully start the healing that will be needed if Iraq is to rebuild. However, because of the total mismanagement of the current state of affairs in Iraq and the foolish attempt to stave off a civil war and possible separation of Iraq into three distinct country, Saddam is no longer really much of an issue in the county and it's healing process any more.

I'm not sure I understand the constant desire to prevent civil war from taking place. Throughout history, even our own, there have been times when war was the only way to resolve the conflict that existed between two peoples. In this case especially, a country that was created arbitrarily by an outside force and further kept together by a brutal dictator's regime, it may be that allowing the violence that is already occurring to continue and resolve itself naturally may be the only way now that this issue can be put to rest and some sense of peace and prosperity can take the place of hatred and violence in the area.

In the end, the execution of Saddam has gone from being a major event in the development of Iraq to a sad footnote of an every increasing land of violence that is itself being prolonged by the very people trying to keep it from occurring.

Posted by Rhinehold at December 29, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #200804

I agree with much of what you say, but I’m bewildered by the part having to do with Wesley Clark, who is not the same guy as Ramsey Clark.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at December 29, 2006 7:29 PM
Comment #200806

Rhinehold said,

“I’m not sure I understand the constant desire to prevent civil war from taking place. Throughout history, even our own, there have been times when war was the only way to resolve the conflict that existed between two peoples. In this case especially, a country that was created arbitrarily by an outside force and further kept together by a brutal dictator’s regime, it may be that allowing the violence that is already occurring to continue and resolve itself naturally may be the only way now that this issue can be put to rest and some sense of peace and prosperity can take the place of hatred and violence in the area.”

If you don’t understand why there is a desire to prevent civil war, I suggest you go experience one, perhaps it will give you some perspective. That’s got to be the worst statement you’ve ever made here.

As to the execution of Sadam, I am of two minds on this. I understand the revenge of the Shiites and Kurds, but I have great misgivings over our questionable invasion and political positioning in this. I find it hard to distinguish our motives from the motives of any aggressive power.

Posted by: gergle at December 29, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #200807

They should do it quick and not leave him hanging around.

Seriously, I can understand that someone who opposes the death penalty in all cases can oppose hanging Saddam. Anybody else should welcome this justice.

What will happen? IF the execution of Saddam provokes violence, we know what kind of people we are dealing with. In any case, it is good to get it done.

Some people in Iraq are still worried the monster could return. This is the classic tale, like a monster movie. At the end of the vampire movie you just have to put the stake through the heart of evil.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #200808

Loyal Opposition,

You are correct, I got the wrong quote in the wrong place with regards to Wesley Clark. Silly mistake on my part.


Peventing a civil war and TRYING to prevent a civil war are two different things. Unless we are willing to really put the hammer down in Iraq, which I am quite sure is not fully supported by the citizens of the US then we should let them get it over with. The long slow boiling of violence that they are living with now is much worse, IMO than letting them split the country up into three smaller ones and holding their own defenses, which would be the quick result of a civil war.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 29, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #200810

For me the whole thing got ruined when the U.S. government replaced the judge on the case. We shouldn’t be picking and choosing judges on a case we’ve been told is open and shut.

Posted by: Max at December 29, 2006 8:13 PM
Comment #200814

I’m confused, Max. Where is your link to show that the US replaced the judge? I was under the impression that the first judge resigned and he was replaced by the Iraqi government.

If you could point me to the evidence that isn’t correct I would greatly appreciate it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 29, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #200823


Your detachment bothers me. If you are trying to say we should get out, I agree. We shouldn’t have entered into this fiasco in the first place.

Wars have a funny way of not always resolving quickly. Advocating carnage reeks of intellectual isolationism of the worst kind. Letting the Iraqi’s resolve this themselves IS what we are doing, irregardless of appearances to the contrary. We are supporting the Shia and Kurd factions. The Bath party had quelled the civil disparities through ruthless and absolute power. We turned that upside down.

We not only are not attempting to stop civil war, we are active participants.

I’m not sure who it is you believe thought that the death of Sadam would result in civil pacifism, other than Rumsfeld, Cheney and the Neocon accolytes, but no regional scholars that I’m aware of.

Posted by: gergle at December 29, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #200827

By now Saddam has learned what hell is like.

How about that? I really did not think they would do it so quickly.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #200829

It’s official: Saddam is pining for the fjords now. What now?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 29, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #200832

Weather we think Saddam should have been executed quickly or not doesn’t matter. The whole thing was in the hands of the Iraqi courts. And that’s the way is should have been. And it seems that they wanted the SOB dead right away.
I’m sure glad that it wasn’t in our hands. Saddam’s case would still be in the appeals process 40 years from now and he most likely would die from old age.

Hey Sadamned hope you enjoy hell.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 29, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #200844

Saddam Hussein enjoyed his power over life and death and in taking life as suited him. I see little difference between him and those who now take glee in the fact that Saddam Hussein has been killed. Little difference at all in those who take comfort or glee in the death of others.

It is one thing to exercise justice solemnly and with remorse. It is quite another to enjoy its exercise. Everything about Saddam Hussein’s story from how he was raised by a brutal Uncle right through to his execution, is a sad story and statement about humanity.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 3:15 AM
Comment #200848


I agree that this Jubilation is both unseemly and seems more about playing out a story that some would like us to believe.

A sad story may be behind Sadam’s character, but ultimately, I still hold him acccountable for his deeds.

The issue that bothers me most is the seeming belief by those that kill that their hands are clean, if they can drape themselves in a flag, religion, or political “duty”. Machiavelli is surely dancing with glee.

Posted by: gergle at December 30, 2006 6:10 AM
Comment #200849

Gergle, the potential to derive satisfaction from the taking of another’s life, leaves a little bit of Saddam Hussein in us all. To the extent that people refuse to succumb or nurture that potential, they are more civilized and rational.

I struggle with this within myself - since my passionate side derives satisfaction from the execution of a child molester/murderer. But, my rational and civilized side remains opposed to killing as a means of exacting justice or retribution. Killing in self defense of one’s own, or family’s life or right to liberty, is justified when no other alternatives are available. I simply cannot find any civilized or rational justification for killing on any other grounds.

And it is precisely because there are circumstances when my passionate side may speak louder than than my rational and civilized side, that I so dearly love living in a nation designed generally around the rule of law, and not the passions and whims of our darker less civilized sides.

This is also why I am so adamant about defending the rule of law and critical of those who would subvert it, like President Bush and so many in our Congress.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 6:47 AM
Comment #200850

I take glee and comfort from the son of a bitch being hanged. He will never hurt anyone else and the sooner he can meet the demons of HELL, the better. I don’t care if he was beaten for 3 days a week and raped the other 4 while he was growing up. I personally wouldn’t care if they hung him in the desert and left his body hanging till his bones fell apart.

Does that sound sadistic? Well, I had a hard childhood. Maybe you can forgive me.

Posted by: tomd at December 30, 2006 6:48 AM
Comment #200852


I find it hard to believe the Iraqi government would have removed Saddaam’s judge without consulting with the U.S. on some level. At the very least it seems more likely than Iraq acting alone. That’s why I use the word “we”. Human Rights Watch protested his removal. Even if there was no U.S. involvement, I think it was a bad precedent. Ideally, Iraqi courts would be independent of the government the way they are in most democracies. So, while I agree with you it’s high time this trial is over and Saddaam found guilty, I think forcing, or ensuring, the verdict, was a shortsighted gain incommensurate with our hope that a true democracy is instilled in Iraq.

Posted by: Max at December 30, 2006 7:24 AM
Comment #200877

“my rational and civilized side remains opposed to killing as a means of exacting justice or retribution.”

David R. Remer,

I was having trouble finding the words. Yours express my opinion quite well.

Execution serves only one purpose: exacting revenge!

In this case it may have an unwanted result: martyrdom in the minds of Ba’athist loyalists.

At the end of the day, Saddam’s just dead. He’s suffering no more or no less than if he’d died in his sleep.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 30, 2006 12:11 PM
Comment #200920

Jack, while your fantasies about hell may arouse your curiosity, Sadam is worm food and not learning a damn thing.

Dsvid, you wrote my thoughts, as well.

Posted by: gergle at December 30, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #200933


There is a big difference between thinking something is possible and being able to say for sure that it happened. You suggest originally that the US *DID* something and therefore are wrong, but then say that you *THINK* that they *COULD* have done it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2006 10:05 PM
Comment #200996

I don’t take pleasure from anyone being killed, but Saddam’s execution sends a clear message to those who are tempted by evil. May it be heeded well.

Posted by: Amani at December 31, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #201049

The sad truth about Iraq, is that we are ones dangling.

Like Vietnam, we shored up a regime to our liking that has no real, in-country support. The Shia are more prone to follow their factions, as the Kurds and Sunni’s will follow theirs.

Our invasion was the action of a colonial regime installing a favorable government. The only problem is their was no support in this country, europe, or asia for our occupation, and development of a government in the mold of the US over a generation or more. That would be the only mission that might have hope of working, but their are no politics to support it. The Shia will be dominant and require outside support, likely Iran, and the Sunni’s will likely seek support from the Saudis and Syrians. The Kurds will worry Turkey.

The Caliphates and Kingdoms will fight for position as they always have. While we crow about the overthrow of a bad man like Sadam, and our participation in his execution, we are now caught in the spider web, dangling like a juicey morsel upon the Arab web of deceit and intrigue.

Once again, a president’s political pride has become more important than the lives of our soldiers and the effectiveness of our military.
Unlike Johnson, Bush did not have the decency to not run for a second term.

Posted by: gergle at December 31, 2006 11:19 PM
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