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December 29, 2006

There Are a Million Reasons Why

...this guy should die. But I think this way is a huge mistake. Why hasn't he been in the Hague like Milosevic or just about any other dictator guilty of heinous crimes? I'm especially concerned about quotes like this:

"We think he might be executed by tomorrow as a gift for the Iraqis," he [Saddam's lawyer] told BBC News 24.

And hanging is barbaric. Understandably, of course, there are tens of thousands who would gladly yank the trap open fifty times over if they could. But it's barbarism just the same as our troops fight on the streets everyday and what the Iraqi people cower from in their everyday lives. We're perpetuating it. And the visceral anti-American bias seething through the Arab mind. This will be seen as the U.S.'s puppet court.

He should have faced justice in a world court, on a world stage, with the WORLD condemning him.

Damn. I just do NOT feel right about this. He could well be swinging as I write this and I pray for our kids over there.
And every American on the street here.

UPDATE: Well the argument's philosphical and moot anyway, since I guess they'll be breaking into programming in a couple hours.

Official: Saddam to Be Executed Tonight

The official witnesses to Saddam Hussein's impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime's atrocities.

...An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. Also to be hanged at that time were Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, the adviser said.

At least they're replaying his greatest hits so everyone's 'why' is fresh in their minds.

I imagine it's going to be pretty interesting in the streets of Baghdad shortly.

Keep safe you guys.

Posted by tree hugging sister at December 29, 2006 01:40 PM


I don't think hanging is barbaric. Perhaps there is a brief moment of pain, but who cares?

A barbaric execution would be one that is made a ghastly public spectacle with drawing and quartering or wood chippers. Hanging is pretty civilized.

This did not happen fast. He's been on trial for three years. It's only our perverse system of fifteen year appeals that makes us think this was fast.

The Hague is the last place he should go. He should be subject to the laws of his own people, and they have been admirably restrained.

I'll be drinking to his well-earned death if it really happens. (Half of me thinks he'll be allowed to escape once he leaves US control.)

Posted by: Mike Rentner at December 29, 2006 01:57 PM

There is nothing barbaric about it. It is an appropriate method of execution and was used correctly on the Nuremberg defendants.

And, by the way, the Hague is largely run by the same types who tried to keep him in power and funneling money to them.

Posted by: Ken S, Fifth String on the Banjo of Life at December 29, 2006 02:18 PM

Oh, a last minute dash to freedom os never out of the question in that hellhole, Mike ~ I agree. Didn't his nephew or something just escape last week? As for hanging...there's only a brief moment of pain if it goes well. And they often don't. And, like I said, it smacks of barbarism by Third World dictators and religious f*ckwads. Gay teenagers in Iran? Ken Saro-Wiwa? How lovely to be as civilized as their executioners.

And Mr. Summers, oh yes there is. It's horrible and the very thought gives me the wee willies. Okay, I'm a P-word BUT that's how I feel. (On a lighter note, did you guys know the last public execution by guillotine was in France ~ but of course ~ in 1977?!)

As for the Hague, I know and I could give a rat's ass who's running it as long as it's not US. Especially concerning this monster. Let someone else take the heat for putting him out of the world's misery.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at December 29, 2006 02:38 PM

Mike retner wrote (And, by the way, the Hague is largely run by the same types who tried to keep him in power and funneling money to them.)Just because the World Court is funded by all countrys except America That refuse to recognize it Does not make it "A Bad Court " But America knows they would soon have there polititions being held there for Guantanimo and Prison cruility in Irag.
And that would never do.Malisovich and Dubya.Are as bad as each othere

Posted by: Charles Newsham at December 29, 2006 02:56 PM

Actually, I don't know a Mike Retner, but I am Mike Rentner and I didn't say that.

Posted by: Mike Rentner at December 29, 2006 03:06 PM

Smacks of third world dictators? They usually just use a bullet in the head. Quick and easy. The difference is that we don't execute gays (or political opponents).

And try to find anyone else who would have the stones to "take the heat". They haven't the stones to face down Islamofreaks in their own countries, much less anywhere else.

Oh, and we are not "perpetuating" anti-American bias. It does very well on its own without any help. What we are currently "perpetuating" is the idea that we don't have the will to finish the fight, or even to fight as if it were an actual war.

Posted by: Ken S, Fifth String on the Banjo of Life at December 29, 2006 03:06 PM

A Swill welcome to you, Charles. But I have to take issue with your 'Dubya' comparison. God, that's so tiresome and infantile. No one's been hung, electrocuted or even gouged eyeless in Guantanamo. (Hell, you usually didn't even GET into Guantanamo unless you had some sort of weapon in your hand.) And certainly no where near the numbers of unfortunates Saddam sent to their untimely and horrific demises. So your grasp of the concept of 'horrific', 'inhuman', 'genocide', 'torture', 'brutal' vs. 'detention', 'three meals a day', 'wearing women's underwear' and 'accountability', etc. is pretty weak. Plus, our court system has been working overtime on the whole mess from both the detainee AND prosecutorial sides of the razorwire. I would challenge you to find those who defended Saddam or Milosevic's victims. (And Mike didn't say that.) But I notice you're Canadian, so perhaps that colors your viewpoint. In the meantime, the British have had to raid a prison in Basra for what Iraqis were doing to...Iraqis. And they just happily go on slaughtering each other in the most horrible, cowardly, despicable ways imaginable or UNimaginable. Dubya isn't doing that. They're doing it to themselves.

It does very well on its own without any help.
Exactly my point. Plus, as Saddam managed to kill people beyond his own borders, his case is perfect for an international forum.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at December 29, 2006 03:31 PM

And Mike ~ having been there, what's your take? Is the place going to explode or business as usual?

Posted by: tree hugging sister at December 29, 2006 03:47 PM

Well I feel great about it. Let "them" seethe and hate us -- they do anyway. And as for letting the namby-pambies who run the joke "International World Court" at the Hague -- are you serious? They wouldn't condemn him of anything, except for not being harsh enough on Americans and Israelis. Hell, they'd probably set him free with many grovelling apologies and try to get us to pay his lawyer bill.

I agree about the dubious virtues of death by hanging, though. He should be drawn and quartered.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 29, 2006 05:40 PM

I don't think this is a situation where having been there makes much difference. I was in Al Anbar, which is pretty much like what you might imagine New Mexico to have been like in the 1870's. They have schools and shops, but nothing big. They have ties with some institutions outside of their specific town, but not much. There was some industry, mostly in Kubaysa (cement factory is quite large). Mostly I know that they are tied into a national education system in some way because they have to take national tests to advance to the next grade. We had to set up special arrangements for that when we occupied the city of Hit.

Law is in Baghdad and I've never been there.

My contacts with Iraqis were limited to the engineers and technicians at the dam, the interpreters we had, a handful of vendors at Al Asad, and a very few other chance encounters.

The only thing I know of Saddam is what I've seen on the internet, and no one I talked to had an interest in discussing him with me, so I can't say I have a good feel for how they will react in Al Anbar, let alone Baghdad.

Posted by: Mike Rentner at December 29, 2006 06:56 PM

Saddam's trial has been as fair and honest as it could be. And, honestly, the question of Saddam's guilt is rhetorical (unless you are Ramsey Clarke or another similar nutter).

I also think it is unfair to compare Iraq and Iran in this specific situation. Iran would simply have executed Hussein, probably without a trial, and likely as a public spectacle. The Iranian government is barbaric in nature; the Iraqi government is struggling get away from that (with mixed success, I should add).

The method of execution, IMHO, is moot. Death by hanging was once the standard in America....the only reason it went away was because of botched executions, or ridiculous law suits (like the murderer who, after being sentenced to hang, ballooned his weight up to 400+ pounds in prison, and then appealed his sentence based on the assumption that he would be decapitated during his hanging, thus making it a "cruel and unusual punishment").

Some methods are barbaric (e.g., stoning), no question about it. Hanging? No. Can a hanging go wrong? Yes, but witness the recent problems with lethal injection here in the United States, supposedly a "humane" method of execution.

Executions are made "humane" (not a good word, but better than "non-barbaric") because some people are squeamish about causing the death of another person. I understand that, but it's a false comfort; I fail to see how the deliberate death of a person can be "humane" in any sense of the word for anyone involved.

Minimizing the pain and torment, and eliminating humilation, is the best we can do. That is a civilized execution, and it is not an oxymoron.

As for whipping up "more" anti-American sentiment.....please! People who blow up school children, or get violent over a cartoon can't be placated.

(BTW....it's interesting to note that the guillotine was developed because it was considered to be "...a humane form of execution, contrasting with the methods used in pre-revolutionary, ancien régime (old regime) France..."?)

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at December 29, 2006 07:00 PM

Aren't we all bloodthirsty! I for one think he needs to die and hanging is not so barbaric to me. I would offer though that this may cause more problems than it solves despite the satifaction we will all feel when he is dead, which may be as I type this. What I fear is that this will incite a spike in violence of Sunni vs Shiite and will also be a propaganda tool for radical Islam. I can see the Iranians saying that the Americans killed a "fellow" Muslim leader while at the same time jumping for joy at his death. These people can turn anything to their advantage, something we have been slow to learn. An international tribunal that convicted and executed him would blunt the accusation that we did it. Not to say that a body such as that would do the right thing. The Euros are a bunch of pansies. If a court with a Frenchmen or two were to convict this shit it would quiet a lot of the propaganda. The cauldron that is Iraq needs little to bring on a wave of violence, this could start a new wave. What we need to do if we do increase the troop level is to be brutal. Take out that fat bastard Sadr and his militia and do it with extreme prejudice. Make them fear us, again.

Posted by: major dad at December 29, 2006 08:18 PM

What I fear is that this will incite a spike in violence of Sunni vs Shiite and will also be a propaganda tool for radical Islam.

They don't need an excuse to spike violence; if it wasn't Hussein being executed, it would have been Hussein getting a life sentence. As you say, they can turn anything to their advantage, so don't worry about it, use it to our advantage.

But the propaganda angle is something that we need to deal with far more effectively. So, it is indeed time to get brutal, and stop being so concerned about someone's feewings.

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at December 29, 2006 09:05 PM

Major Dad, I agree with you whole heartedly that they should be made to fear us.

I don't like the idea of letting some international court try him. First, the Iraqi people should be the ones to do it if we at all cede that right. Second, I am a firm believer that an international body is by its nature a bad thing -- not because it can be corrupt, but because it is an international body. I don't think there is a legitimate need to further pretend that an international body has more moral authority than we have.

Posted by: Mike Rentner at December 29, 2006 09:24 PM

What Jeff said. They don't need an excuse.

As Reagan said (roughly and possibly apocryphally), "I don't want to be liked. I want to be respected."

Posted by: Ken S, Fifth String on the Banjo of Life at December 29, 2006 09:26 PM

The only problem I have with the Iraqis trying him is that they are so disfunctional. The Iraqis are not an entity, they are factions. The only thing an international court brings is just that, an international finding. The Japanese nor the Germans tried their war criminals. Mike, you say "we", that's my point, make the rest of the world condemn him. Don't let the nut jobs use us as a rally point. We are in agreement, make them fear us.

Posted by: major dad at December 29, 2006 10:16 PM

Well it's 21:20 my time. The butcher of Bagdad is dead as reported on the tube. Hung by the neck till dead. Let's see what happens.

Posted by: major dad at December 29, 2006 10:23 PM

If there's a hell buried somewhere (besides the one they've made their slice of this earth) in the Islamic faith, I hope they've saved him the choicest spot in a Hieronymus Bosch.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at December 29, 2006 10:32 PM

I was watching an otherwise bright lawyer on Fox complaining that Saddam's trail was substantively just but procedurally flawed (mostly noting that defense lawyers have been assassinated). She then went on to complain that this flawed procedure made it a mockery and they might as well have taken him out and shot him before a trial.

I don't get her point. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the man was guilty, but putting on a trial, even a show trial, allowed the new government to show that it acts rationally and according to evidence. That the procedure was "flawed" is a symptom of the terrorism and civil unrest in the country and it hardly seems just to keep the man perpetually on trial while people get assassinated for defending or prosecuting him. The substantive law was clear, he's guilty. I think only a fully peaceful nation like ours can afford to dink around with procedural perfection. Iraq needs resolution, and no one sane questions the issue of guilt.

Posted by: Mike Rentner at December 29, 2006 10:54 PM


Bullgoddmaned shit. The bastard got a much fairer and more thorough trial than anyone could have possibly imagined under his rule, and as good a trial as he would have gotten anywhere, period. The only 'flaw' that these people see is that someone who likes to kill americans got convicted.

To me it is critical to any hope of Iraq getting its act together that he die. The best would have been for one of the soldiers who found him to have let a grenade 'slip' into the little shithole he was hiding in, but, barring that, this is the best outcome. He was tried and convicted by Iraqis. Europpeasers at The Hague need not apply.

As far as increasing violence, well, perhaps. But as has been said those scumbags already hate us and I'm not sure how much more they could ratchet things up (famous last words, I know). And despite what all the Talking Heads are saying We Didn't Hang The Douche.

But as a symbol his card needed to be permanently removed from the deck by Iraqis. I think this will help in the end. It may not make much of a difference in that hellhole, but it will help.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at December 30, 2006 10:10 AM

An international court would not have been able to impose a death sentence. Hussein’s fate was rightfully the decision of the Iraqi government, duly elected by the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein was charged, tried and executed under Iraqi law for crimes against the Iraqi people. There is no doubt Saddam was guilty as charged.

Trials against Hussein could have continued for years and well passed his 70th birthday, at which point the death penalty would have been off the table in accordance with Iraqi law. So he was only convicted of one atrocity, the Dujail massacre, which included one of the Butcher of Baghdad’s favorite methods of execution – throwing people into a meat grinder.

Saddam Hussein needed to be executed to ensure everyone that there was no way he was ever coming back into power. Now there will be no escapes and no hostages for Saddam situations. The Iraqi’s made an excellent decision and they can now move forward with life without fear of Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: Enlighten-NewJersey at December 30, 2006 12:18 PM

He's dead, that's good. Internationals have the most diluted court-system yet devised, it barely hangs together and is more simply a badge of office for the people in its subsidized employ.

Posted by: DirtCrashr at December 31, 2006 07:27 PM

Happy New Year Mr. Bingley and THS! Y'all have been such good friends! My best wishes for a beautiful new year!

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at January 1, 2007 03:13 AM

Happy New Year Sharon!

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at January 2, 2007 05:53 AM