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Putting things in perspective

I haven't said much about Saddam's execution because I didn't have much to say. When I heard the news I tried to decide what I thought about it, but any emotion seemed equally inappropriate, and there were enough other people talking about it round the clock without my having to weigh in with my studied ambivalence.

But one thing I do have a distinct reaction to is a lot of the hand-wringing commentary that accompanied the news. This is typified by Josh Marshall, who penned this piece even while Saddam was still swinging, judging from the dateline. He had lots of company among port-side pundits and bloggers in the days that followed.

Let me begin by granting the Josh Marshalls of the world a few points. First, I don't feel altogether comfortable with what happened. I'll admit that Saddam's trial wasn't the kind of proceeding we'd hope to have for ourselves if we stood accused of a crime here in the States. And yes, there was unquestionably an aura of sectarian revenge that tainted the process and, certainly, the execution itself. Granted.

Still, I'd like to point out a few things to help put this in perspective.

  1. Whatever we think of the trial by Western standards, it was damn near a model of jurisprudence compared to the norm of the region. It was likely as fair a trial as Iraq has ever seen.
  2. Of the countless thousands of Iraqis who have been executed over the past few decades, Saddam is certainly among the most deserving.
  3. The dude basically confessed.

Right or wrong, once it's placed in the proper context, the execution is only worth so much hand-wringing and self-flagellation. Josh Marshall has done enough for all of us.


I would have preferred to see pictures of him in an orange jumpsuit, cleaning pots and pans in the prison mess hall for a few more years.

I stand by my opposition to capital punishment, but have lost remarkably little sleep over this one.

> I stand by my opposition to capital punishment, but have lost remarkably little sleep over this one.

My sentiments exactly. And I understand the orange jumpsuit angle, but at least this way we're spared the hunger strikes, the memoir writing, and the interviews with Dan Rather....

Certainly compared to routine Mideast justice, this trial was as fair as one could expect and the punishment far less barbaric as usual - a public stoning (wrapped in a sheet, buried up to one's waste) would've been a lot more barbaric and a lot more "traditional" for that region.

Now, unlike WF, I support Capital Punishment and even support the growing number of state laws that make repeat child molesters (most for children 14 or under) subject to the death penalty.

Someone somewhere yesterday brought up the thought: what if Saddam had instead been sentenced to life in prison. And then what if some crazy Islamic or Sunni group decided to storm an Iraqi school, for instance, take dozens of children hostage and demand Saddam's release in exchange.
Its better the scumbag is dead and gone.

Cliff May, I believe.

I agree with that Fred, and it also puts an end to the Sunni fantasy of a resurgent Saddam (Baathist) government putting them back in control of that nation.

As a prisoner, Saddam Hussein would've made everyone around him a target and kept the feint hope of a Baath resurgence alive.

Both those things died with him.

At least killing Saddam didn't involve the trashing the Constitution, like when they abducted, kidnapped, and tortured an American Citizen, Jose Pedilla.

Later on, the government admitted that all that "dirty bomb" plot nonsense was sheer bullshit -- they didn't even charge him.

JMK cheers when the government trashes the Constitution and the rights of Americans. He only gets upset when "activist" judges imagine that women have a right to make reproductive choices with their own bodies. After all, women's bodies belong to the government, where men will decide what happens to them.

Barely's BACK!

Only you're defending a guilty man in Jose Padilla, but that's par for the course with you.

Holding him as "an enemy combatant," while unusual hardly "trashed" the Constitution.

And once again, since you fail to understand my very straightfowrd views on abortion, I'll give them to you one more time.

Like 2/3's of Americans I support unrestricted First Trimester abortions and like 2/3's of Americans I oppose "Late Term" or partial birth abortion (when the fetus is viable outside the womb, it is a self-owning life).

The ONLY area on which I offer anyhting close to a "controversial view" on the subject, is that I'd impose birth control and where necessary, abortion upon "wards of the state" (incarerated felons, those dependent on Public Assistance) on the grounds that as "wards of the state," unable to meet their own needs without support, they are by dint of that also "unfit parents" at that time.

Few actually diagree with me, when I explain that to them in that way.

Now stop defending Jose Padilla!

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