Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Murder of Saddam Hussein

Capital punishment (The Death Penalty) is not a complicated issue for the detached, rational observer. From the perspective of a detached rational observer (someone who is not related in any way to the victim, for which the convicted is being killed), "capital punishment" is a premeditated, planned, "cold blooded" (emotionless for the executioner - the executioner has no more stake in the crime being avenged than I do), taking of a human life. One could easily use this definition to describe murder. That is fairly easy and there isn't a whole lot more to say, but I will anyway.

One can certainly understand how a victim, or the relative or friend of a victim of a terrible crime could become angry. Indeed, seeking revenge is certainly a natural impulse. Unfortunately, revenge is not "justice", revenge is an emotional, base impulse, and for Christians, revenge is a sin. I will not jump into the religious arguments against capital punishment, because its really quite obvious that capital punishment/murder is incompatible with a Christian outlook, despite what some "Christians" claim. Instead, let us focus on the objective truth and reality, that all can easily agree on. One cannot undo a murder, so clearly murdering a murderer simply compounds the crime.

Perhaps the argument that capital punishment is a deterrent holds some statistical relevance, I don't know and haven't bothered to look it up, because frankly, execution as a deterrent does not make the execution any less a murder. Statistics therefore, don't matter here. One could argue that a murderer (convicted person) has given up all rights to life or freedom or anything by committing murder. Without diving into religion and the dignity of all human beings and such, lets dispel any thought that man or "the state" in the example of capital punishment, which is a representative of man (whether endorsed by the governed overtly, or by the lack of the governed making an effort to overturn its government) has any right to murder another man. No man has the right to murder another, as soon as such an imagined right is championed by one man or the state, the very nature of equality and freedom break down, because the entity that now holds the power over life and death has been elevated to a higher status than the victim of the murder (execution). Once a man, or state has the power to determine who can and shall be killed, all who do not hold the position of greatest power in the state are potential victims. It is not hard to look through history and find examples of this power being abused, as it will always be abused, due to man's imperfection. One cannot be free or considered equal with other men, if his very life continues at the whim of other men. If the life of all men is not respected, the life of no man, save he who holds power, is respected. As a note to those whole hold power, no man holds power forever, and evil men are dealt with in evil ways in time.

The only time an execution is excusable is when it is unavoidable. For example, if ten people are trapped on a small deserted island, and one man murders another. The eight people on the island, may feel they need to kill the murderer, since no prison exists in which to hold the murderer and keep him away from the peaceful citizens. In that example, one would have to search long and hard for an alternative to execution. In the real world however, there is no shortage of prisons. Murderers can be imprisoned until natural death with very little difficulty and cost. For those people that believe they should not be forced to pay, through taxes, for murderers to be housed and fed, banishment is always an option as well. Murder however, is never justified.

For those that read this and then ask if I am a pacifist, the answer is easily no. Murder, which we defined several paragraphs above and killing in self-defense are clearly not the same.

So, what does this all have to do with Saddam Hussein and his execution? It was afterall the Iraqi's and not the USA that executed Saddam Hussein right? Well, yes, the USA did not open the trap door that dropped Saddam to his death. Our government, and therefore we who support our government (and that is everyone who pays taxes, whether you voted for those in power or not) are complicit in his murder. We held him for the current Iraqi government. We then handed him over to the Iraqi government for his execution. Further, we are responsible for protecting and keeping in power the current Iraqi government. Therefore, a great deal of responsibility is ours. Why should you care? Afterall, we execute our own people all the time, who cares of an Iraqi is executed? We have shown the world, once again, that we support cowards and terrorists. As one can clearly see in the pictures of Saddam's execution in media outlets the world over, his murderers didn't even have the courage to show their faces. They wore ski masks, just like the cowardly terrorists who wore masks while they sawed the heads off of living American citizens and then released the videos to the internet. The people we are dealing with in Iraq today, are no better than those we are supposed to be fighting. Now we know it, and so does the rest of the world. This is something to deplore not celebrate.

What is done is done, it cannot be taken back, and all will have to live with the consequences, in this case it was not just a simple murder, but it was a murder that shows the world once again that our commitment to freedom and democracy are hollow and meaningless.