Phi Beta Cons

Saddam Film Terrible

Despite what has been posted here on various arguments for the morality of executing Saddam, I am afraid that whatever value his death might have had for the new Iraq will be dissipated by the awful film of his last moments.  There is good reason that we no longer have public hangings and executions.  Of course they have to be witnessed, and maybe this one had to have some official footage in order to assure people that it had taken place, but what I have seen of the evidently unofficial film (and I guess no precautions were taken to insure against that) is an absolute disgrace, a violation of the whole procedure, removing it from the level of higher justice and putting it on the level of tribal vengeance.  The film could even support the argument against capital punishment.  In a film of this low level, looking like something that could have been done in the depths of the gulag, we do not see the cruel dictator who committed crimes against against humanity being executed honorably and in a dignified way–in a manner of death more humane than he inflicted on others–in order to serve justice, but a poor helpless human being having his God-given life taken away by ordinary men who have somehow been given power over him, some of whom taunted him in his last moments.  And his executioners being hooded did not carry the idea that they were personifications of abstract justice, but suggested in that context the primitive, hooded, faceless murderousness of the Middle East that we often see in parades and funerals.  Terrible, terrible, terrible, and another sign that Iraq is nowhere on the rule of law and that we have been utter fools to think that this society even understands the meaning of those words at this point.  And the execution being done around the time of a Sunni holiday, that makes it even more of a transgression and an embarrassment. 


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