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Saddam Hussein's Execution

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I know he was an evil dictator and killed many people. But did he deserve to be hanged? I mean, if he would have rotted his life away in jail, would that have been so bad?

If you know he was an evil dictator, how can you ask if he deserved to die? This was a man who had prisons for children. This was a man who gassed a whole village--and those who didn't die of the initial exposure now must live with the horror of genetic mutations visited upon their children; i.e., the destruction, misery, and suffering from that one act continues to this day, and will for generations. This was a man who dug a multitude of mass graves for those who displeased him. This was a man who tortured and maimed, raped and murdered without regard for the age, sex, or sin of the victim. Those who didn't die lived in perpetual fear for their lives and the lives of their children.

And his evil didn't stop at the borders of his own country. This was a man who made war on his neighbors, in no small part to keep the young men busy so they wouldn't turn on him, using gas during the Iran/Iraq war, and torture, rape, murder, and looting during the Kuwaiti war. This was a man who ordered the assassination of an American President. This was a man who paid terrorists and "martyrs" families $10,000 to $25,000 for murdering innocent Israelis sitting in pizza restaurants and celebrating weddings. This was a man who rained scuds upon the cities of Israel--a country who was not fighting against Iraq at the time. This was a man who dreamed of weapons of mass destruction--not to protect himself and his country, but to cause the mass destruction and terror of innocents.

We'll never know the true extent of the horror and suffering this man caused during his evil life.

I don't know if he deserved to die. [...]

By what standard would someone "deserve" to die? What is Justice?

And I know that he killed people himself...but does that justify his own death? Wouldn't it have been more torturous for him if they would have made him stay alive but live a meager life in jail?

Ask yourself about the justice of forcing his victims to continue to pay to feed and shelter their oppressor until he died of a natural death. What could possibly justify that? Haven't they paid enough?

If you do value life, then you will demand that mass murderers not be allowed to live because they are a real danger to your own life and all the values that make life possible. You do not succor evil, you destroy it.

Lastly, remember Miss Rand said that evils power is made possible by the sanction of the good. Allowing Saddam to live, allowing any murdering despot to live, sanctions evil.

As for the murdering al-Sadr, I shall be just as pleased to see him dead as I am with Saddam's death. And it can't be soon enough for me.

Edited by oldsalt
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And I know that he killed people himself...but does that justify his own death?

I knew justice had been done, while at the same time it hurt my heart to see the end of a life. I have the same reaction to all deaths I hear of, to different degrees, because I value life, some might disagree with my initial feeling (hurts my heart to see the end of a life).

When I hear or see someone get killed who undoubtedly deserved death, it fills my heart with joy to know there is that much less evil in our world; and it fills my heart with pride to see that there still exists good men to fight against such evil.

"Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent"

-Terry Goodkind, The Sword of Truth

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Sounds like a great strategy for Iran, I think.

I think we would need to purge a large section of the Iranian government. Otherwise the Guardian Council will just appoint the next crop of goofballs so that the Iranians can vote on who should be their next demagogue.

I find the following paragraph on the Iranian Presidency interesting:

The presidency is largely a figurehead position. First, the president does not have leeway in cabinet appointments[1]. Second, the president does not make military and judicial appointments. Third, the president is not entrusted with the power of presidential pardon. Fourth, he is not the commander-in-chief, albeit, the Supreme Leader can delegate the command of the military to whomever he chooses including the president.

Good riddance to Saddam.

Edited by DarkWaters
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There is no question as to whether or not executing him was the right thing to do.

A. a dictator does not have rights, because they dedicate their lives to depriving others of them. Therefore, just as a totalitarian regime can claim no rights against being invaded by a country like the U.S, Saddam has forfeited his right to live, just as he has taken away that right from so many others.

B. It is not a matter of what would be worse for him to endure. Rationally, execution was the only solution. It was the only way to completely get rid of a man who had no buisiness living here on earth any more. He gave up that right when he destroyed the lives of his citizens.

I completely agree

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Charles Krauthammer posted an interesting column on how the execution was justified but shamefully conducted. Here are some highlights from his op-ed:

Then came the execution, a rushed, botched, unholy mess that exposed the hopelessly sectarian nature of the Maliki government.

Consider the timing. It was carried out on a religious holiday. We would not ordinarily care about this, except for the fact that it was in contravention of Iraqi law. It was done on the first day of Eid al-Adha as celebrated by Sunnis. The Shiite Eid began the next day, which tells you in whose name the execution was performed.

It was also carried out extra-constitutionally. The constitution requires a death sentence to have the signature of the president and two vice presidents, each representing one of the three major ethnic groups in the country (Sunni, Shiite and Kurd). That provision is meant to prevent sectarian killings. The president did not sign. Nouri al-Maliki contrived some work-around.

True, Hussein's hanging was just and, in principle, nonsectarian. But the next hanging might not be. Breaking precedent completely undermines the death penalty provision, opening the way to future revenge and otherwise lawless hangings.

He then relates this event back to his opinion on the situation as a whole in Iraq:

The whole sorry affair illustrates not just incompetence but also the ingrained intolerance and sectarianism of the Maliki government. It stands for Shiite unity and Shiite dominance above all else.

We should not be surging American troops in defense of such a government. This governing coalition -- Maliki's Dawa, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Sadr's Mahdi Army -- seems intent on crushing the Sunnis at all costs. Maliki should be made to know that if he insists on having this sectarian war, he can well have it without us.

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I hereby award the prize for the "Most Imaginative Reason why Saddam should not have been Executed", to Richard Dawkins. (We had a thread on him recently.)

...in Mr. Dawkin's view, ...the execution is [an] example of "wanton and vandalistic destruction of important research data." It is inherent in the research on ruthless national dictators that "the sample size is small". ... Sparing the former dictator's life could have helped scientists discover how exceptional Mr. Hussein was, whether there are more people like him in society and, if so, why they haven't risen to power. ... ... The true nature of wickedness cannot be found through "prejudice or preconception or intuitive common sense".
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  • 1 month later...
I know he was an evil dictator and killed many people. But did he deserve to be hanged? I mean, if he would have rotted his life away in jail, would that have been so bad?

I'm very unsure about this topic. I don't know if he deserved to die. I mean, if I think about myself....I don't know how I could ever kill someone, take away their everything in one rash act...and it'd be unchangeable. I could never kill someone! :)

And I know that he killed people himself...but does that justify his own death? Wouldn't it have been more torturous for him if they would have made him stay alive but live a meager life in jail?

Thoughts, my Objective friends! What are your thoughts?

I feel the same .Personally I do not beleive in an eye for an eye. I always think that theres got to be a better way. Give him a life of hard labor. I too would find hard to take a life unless it was in complete self defense and there was no other way out.I consider all life to be sacred.

If we really lived up to "an eye for an eye" imagine the number of drug company executives that would be going to the gallows for knowingly passing out "medecines" that actually kill people,not to mention those who poison the food with chemicals that have been causing disease in people and eventually premature death. Besides, taking the life of another even if they took anothers' life sounds more like revenge than justice.

kublakan

[Mod's note: The pharmaceutical company part has been split to another thread. -sN]

Edited by softwareNerd
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Personally I do not beleive in an eye for an eye. I always think that theres got to be a better way. Give him a life of hard labor. I too would find hard to take a life unless it was in complete self defense and there was no other way out.I consider all life to be sacred.
Hussein unambiguously proved that he considered other people's lives to be his play-toy, to be destroyed by the hundreds of thousands if he wanted to (and he did want to). Let's set aside your personal beliefs, and also the meaningless claim that life is sacred (are you really appealing to god to justify your position?). What could possibly objectively justify allowing that butcher to live one second longer than he did?
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Hussein unambiguously proved that he considered other people's lives to be his play-toy, to be destroyed by the hundreds of thousands if he wanted to (and he did want to). Let's set aside your personal beliefs, and also the meaningless claim that life is sacred (are you really appealing to god to justify your position?). What could possibly objectively justify allowing that butcher to live one second longer than he did?

I'm not appealing to anyone to justify my position, and all life still remains sacred to me.

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I don't see the contradiction. There is no contradiction in saying "I value my life, but not his life". Indeed, if I were to say "I value my life and his life", then you can arrive at the contradiction of altruism.There's no problem here: general benevolence is a rational virtue (it allows us to live in civilized societies). It is a recognition of causality -- virtuous actions should be rewarded. Correspondingly, evil actions should be punished -- it is not right to consider the peaceful trader and the evil butcher to be equally deserving of the good things of life. Benevolence should not be twisted into unconditional life-absolutism. The fact that you take your life to be your fundamental value and that you benevolently wish other rational men to enjoy the same kind of benefits of existence does not mean that you should abstractly worship life itself, regardless of the bearer of the life. Some life-forms are deserving of death, and Saddam is an example. Since (I assume) you were not directly affected by his atrocities, i.e. you have no friends or relatives living under his rule in Iraq, you would not have a reason to actively rejoice in his execution, but still you can be satisfied that justice was done. (Indeed, the conduct of the trial indicates to me that there is hope for that country).

This probably isn't the right place to put this, but I didn't know where else to do it, it is kind of related.

I want to reply now to you, briefly, and say that I appreciate what you said and it has helped me put a few more pieces in place. I can understand what you were saying and see the flaw in my thinking. There have been a few things come up death related and now I think I have the right perspective. Thank you for that. Sometimes just a few simple words or the right phrasing can make all the difference.

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