Sunday, December 31, 2006
Executing Saddam was the best thing to do
1. At enormous cost in life and resources an elected government has been installed in Iraq. The majority of this government wanted Saddam dead and it would have been self defeating to deny their creation its first major judicial decision.
2. If it was not allowed to apply its own version of justice what chance would it have of imposing genuine law and order?
3. Increased internecine fighting is unlikely to occur as the supporters of the former dictator comprise only a minority of the those fighting.
4. It sends out a message to other dictators that the comfortable old age which previous Middle Eastern leaders of this type have enjoyed hitherto, can no longer be guaranteed.
5. Given the mood of the majority Shia population of Iraq, it would have been more dangerous, in terms of levels of violence, not to execute him than to do so.
I've always thought that politics is a matter of choosing the least bad course of action. Sometimes doing that - as in this case - involves the breaching of otherwise vital principles. Allowing Iraq to hang Saddam, without complaint, was the least bad option available to the occupying US-UK forces and it was therefore the correct course to take. It's already a huge mess: no reason to make it even worse.
Like many of Blair's actions, this collaboretion in what seems to have been a public execution has been carried out in a despicably ulterior manner.
Surely to argue that Iraq as a sovreign state must be left to mete out its own justice is total hypocrisy when at the same time, 'our' bellicose meddling has brought pointless destruction to thousands of ordinary citizens from East and West!
I appreciate your 'pragmatic' arguments for supporting this execution, Skipper, but 'Thou shalt not kill' is indelibly etched on my, albeit atheist psyche. It is the anomalous absolute to my relativist view of the world.
Will anything be gained by re-enacting the inhumanity that brought Sadam to face justice? I think not.
I voted Labour in the late Fifties to end the barbaric practice of capital punishment. I will now vote Lib Dem for the same reason. I believe many others will do likewise.
I agree the manner of the execution was brutal and botched and appalling PR.
i) agree there is hypocrisy involved but the best bet the Iraqis have right now is that their government can get a grip- over-ruling this sentence would have retrogressive in this respect.
ii) 'will anything be gained?' you ask, probably not, but I see the issue chiefly as avoiding anything even worse; I think the execution will achieve this.
iii) I agree 'thou shalt not kill' is an absolute principle but just occasionally such golden rules have to be breached in the interests of humanity and my feeling is that this was one of them.
iv) I'm sure other people will be repelled from Labour as well as yourself -they are leaving the party at the rate of one every twenty seconds according to John Cruddas(Deputy Leader candidate) a few days back. But so far I haven't heard any condemnation of the execution from Mingis Campbell(though I might have missed it in all the food/booze fest of the holiday period).
I don't know much about Praguetory actually but suspect it is I who should feel wary at the level of agreement... But being pragmatic is not the exclusive badge of the rightwinger- many lefties have been very pragmatic on lots of issues way before Tony Blair; e.g. Ernest Bevin eschewed the adage that 'left will speak unto left' in 1945 and assiduously set about establishing an Atlantic alliance with the USA.
Not only should Bliar be asked these questions, so too should Brown who as chancellor, is funding and actively supporting a government that uses the death penalty.
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