Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saddam Hanging

All the ususal suspects are scrambling to the moral high ground about how hanging Saddam was supposedly bad, or else it was done wrong, or should have been handled with more sensitivity, or what the hell ever. Never mind that the US is largely sensitive to some of the claims. What's going on here is typical bandwagoning on any excuse to oppose the Iraq War.

Now - the usual disclaimer. There are plenty of good reasons to be opposed to the Iraq War. I'm just not convinced that most of the opposition knows what they are. Handwringing over Saddam's (Saddam's!!!) execution procedure might as well be People's Exhibit A. I find it truly incredible that anyone expects us to take them seriously in their sensitivity to the creature comforts of a brutal dictator! This is nothing but display - call it the international equivalent of White Guilt (that peculiar disease that requires white people to preface any statement about race whatever with "Now you know, some of my best friends are black..." whether or not they've ever spoken to a negroid in their lives). I mean, I get it in the case of ordinary criminals. Procedures are really important there. But dictators deposed by war are sort of out of this scope, no? Unlike ordinary criminals, there isn't a clear set of laws that applies. There are some vagueish international laws, I suppose, but these are really only treaty arrangements between individual states. There is no solid international governing body or police force, and until there is pretending that deposed dictators are criminals like any other is a bit silly. For ordinary criminals, we have a stake in treating them carefully because there are so many trials and arrests each year that errors are bound to happen. The legitimacy of the conviction (and punishment) is at stake. But there is no such question in the case of dictators deposed by foreign invasion!!! It happens rarely, and I'm not aware of so much as a single case in modern history of someone being falsely convicted of being a brutal dictator - nor is there any caselaw on the subject that I know of.

Whatever. Just as I think pro-choicers (which includes me) should not be protected from pictures of aborted foetuses, I think people opposed to the death penalty on "moral" grounds (I myself oppose it for ordinary criminals on practical and procedural grounds) should confront the crimes of the people they are "saving." In that spirit, here is a very interesting blog entry from someone who attended a party given by a family of Saddam's victims. Anyone who thinks Saddam deserves "respect" and "dignity" should read it - or any of the countless others like it available on the web. Personally, I wish they'd been allowed to Ceauşescu him a bit. It isn't, after all, really about Saddam himself. It's about a public show to humiliate those who miss him.


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