Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam dangles, EU divides


Poland supports hanging Hussein.

President Lech Kaczynski has said that the death penalty for the ex-Iraqi dictator was the ‘only possible outcome’ once he was found guilty in court of ‘crimes against humanity’.

But the killing of Hussein is being used by nations and organizations like the EU to underline their attitude to the death penalty. Even in death Saddam has managed to divide the ‘international community’.

Some of the new members such as Poland have welcomed the execution. The Czech Republic's Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek, welcomed the hanging, describing it as "an act of justice", whereas the British government has said, “We advocate an end to the death penalty worldwide, regardless of the individual or the crime. We have made our position very clear to the Iraqi authorities, but we respect their decision as that of a sovereign nation."

Opposition to the execution has also come from within the EU in Denmark, France, Portugal, Spain and Germany.

Lech Kacynski has annoyed the EU with calls for a reinstatement of the death penalty in Poland – although one of the conditions of membership is that countries drop execution as a form of punishment.

But Kaczynski does seem to be in line with the people of the EU, in this case at least.

In a survey of 12,570 people in six countries by the new French international broadcaster France 24 and Novartis/Harris Interactive, most participants favored the death sentence for Saddam. With the exception of Italians, participants from Britain, France, Germany and Spain supported the execution.

I have no sympathy at all for the old shitbag, but to me the hanging seems like a symbolic form of revenge (as all capital punishment ultimatly is) and will do nothing to stop the violence in Iraq, which has been caused by the invasion and the subsequent and disastrous occupation. Hanging Saddam will do nothing to stop that.

More...
Check out Uruknet.info, a strange pro-Saddam web site

30 comments:

Michael Farris said...

"I have no sympathy at all for the old shitbag, but me the hanging seems like a symbolic form of revenge (as all capital punishment ultimatly is)"

My interpretation is a little different. The Iraqis in charge (however much they are in charge in Iraq) wanted to make sure as quickly as possible that he was dead and would never be able to stage a come back, a real danger as long as things are as unstable as they are and he was breathing. You might think the idea of him getting back in charge somehow is ridiculous, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a worry for lots of Iraqis.

In other words, they were taking one very bad possible outcome of the botched occupation (return to power by Saddam somehow) out of the mix. Whether this was wise or will simply create new worse possible outcomes is something that's unknowable at this point.

beatroot said...

Fair enough, Mike. But that begs the question: are Iraqis better off now than before the invasion? The stark conclusion is ‘No’. There are some things worse than Saddam Hussein.

geez said...

Which Iraqis? I betcha, despite all the deadly insanity, most Shites and Kurds would answer they are better off now.

beatroot said...

Which Shia? maybe they wouldn;t say that in Sadr City, where getting blown up plays havoc with ya career prospects. And under all measures - from basic services to crime,women's rights, education (most of the top unuversity lecturers have gone abroad, parents are frightened that their kids will get kidnapped) - fings ain't what they used to be - even.

geez said...

In Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, hundreds of people danced in the streets while others fired guns in the air to celebrate.

beatroot said...
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Anonymous said...

I opposed tbe war in the first place

Murdering Suddam?

Are we in the real world?

gawd we should have left all this alone in the first place - at least it was stable = not good - no - but hell is what has been created

jannovak57 said...

What other peoples think of executing Saddam Hussein is largely unimportant, as it is usually just restating their existing stance on capital punishment. The Iraqis had two considerations in their decision to execute him, one was a popular desire to get revenge and secondly a fear that he would return to the political scene as irrational as that might be.

To the issue of are Iraqis better of with the invasion, it’s a complex question.
If you’re a Sunni then the answer is no as you likely held a position of privilege and that has now been lost. If you’re a Kurd or a Shite you’re no longer a second class citizen and as far as the Shite community goes likely to be the new privileged group.

Judging by Saddam’s scorecard for killing Kurds and Shites not to mention starting wars with his neighbours, it could not have been that safe anyway.

If the Americans are smart enough (after screwing this up) to get out of the way it’s likely the Iraqis will apply some traditional methods to restore order.

beatroot said...

Good article in Guardian with journalist in Baghdad watching execution with Sunni insurgents. One of them says

"'Every time the mujahideen do an operation they say it's the people of Saddam. Where is Saddam now? Let's see if his death will affect the jihad. Of course it won't.' He added: 'The resistance is led by the Islamists, and we don't love Saddam. It's good that he is out of the picture. Now things will be clearer...."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1980557,00.html

troutsky said...

You point out the disconnect so many people have between their intellectual disdain for capital punishment and their emotional support for killing "monsters". Its like "I disagree with executions but Ill kill you myself if you harm my family". It's what makes practicing Christianity so difficult for most people.

roman said...
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roman said...

This is my 2 cents worth on this matter. Mostly from my site.
Why the quasi-philosophical debate about whether to keep him alive or string him up?
The Iraqis hung him and two others just the same way as they do to many others found guilty of heinous crimes on a daily basis. The death penalty there is ordinary and customary. Why can't we just accept that this is their way of dispensing justice? Is this process backward and in need of updating? This is a nation where the very first laws were actually codefied some three thousand years ago at a time when "western" justice was whatever the strong said it was.
In retrospect, the only mistake made was that Saddam was taken "alive" out of that spider hole. His recent request for a firing squad execution over such an ignoble end as hanging, clearly indicates his wish for an honorable military sacrifice. Those original captors could have granted his wish and also those of the rest of the world by going in with guns blazing.

roman said...

BTW, Happy peaceful New Year to Beatroot and all his readers and commenters.

steppx said...

the question has to do with a fair trial....first.....and then the morality of killing anyone.

The trial was a joke....almost nobody this side of rumsfeld thinks otherwise. So why not just lynch him and save us the bad theatre?!

saddam was put in power by the CIA in the sixties....and he gassed kurds flying US made helicopters.....and Rumsfeld visited him as US envoy the following year with increased tax credits. He was "our" tyrant in the region and a hedge against the Ayatollah. IF you buy that....fine....but dont pretend the US gave a shit about his treatment of his people.

His hanging will only increase violence....he was no threat to resume power (since he was locked down in solitary Im wondering where this idea comes from??). And all state killing is grostesque. All of it....ted bundy or saddam. But when the hypocritial west acts as if this were a fair trial (saddam didnt get to call witnesses like his old pal Rumsfled for example) then one is further sickened.

Anonymous said...

H*A*P*P*Y N*E*W Y*E*A*R guys and girls

BW's Issie

Aka ANON - too lazy to have a blog or sign in properly:0)

Have a good one folks:-)

Anonymous said...

The q of whether Iraq is better off with or without Saddam reminds me of Ian Smith's control or Rhodesia. There are a lot of people in Zimbabwe who would welcome Smith back with open arms now. And I'm not only talking about white farmers... The more things change, the more they stay the same.
pete

beatroot said...

Happy New Year everybody!

This ‘anonymous’ comment thing is very confusing. It really is hard to distinguish between one ‘anon’ and another, so please give yourself ‘names’ like Pete has done.

Welcome back Step and I completely agree that the trial was a complete joke. Judges and lawyers trained by the US and British, picked under occupation by US and British.

But a fair trail wasn;t really the point. If he had been given a fair trail the verdict would have been the same. As it was it was a show trail, of course.

Iraq is not and will not be a ‘democracy’ in the sense that we know it in the West.

I also think the video of the hanging was unwatchable…it also emphasized the sectarian nature of the whole business …and made Saddam look like some brave hero.

Renegade Eye said...

Holiday Greetings.

Saddam died too early and too late. He never faced Kurdish accusers.

sonia said...

most participants favored the death sentence for Saddam

I am a bit skeptical about those polls. I have a nagging suspicion that people hate Saddam less for his crimes and more because he lost a war...

And they hate Bush for exactly the same reason...

beatroot said...
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beatroot said...

I remember seeing on the local news a demonstration in the late 1980s in London against Saddam - it was full of Arabs and left wingers...didn't see G W Bush or T Blair there...

But old Saddam was popular with the West back then. He attacked Iran for them, after all.

The Iraq-Iran war was disastrous for both countries. Iraq was left with serious debts to its former Arab backers, including US$14 billion loaned by Kuwait, a debt which contributed to Saddam's 1990 decision to invade.

The Halabja poison gas attack, of course, took place during the end of that war.

According to Iraq's report to the UN, the know-how and material for developing chemical weapons were obtained from firms in such countries as: the United States, West Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the People's Republic of China...

They just had a hand in hanging the monster they helped create...

polishpenguin said...

I had no idea that you can hang a prisoner of war. I wonder if John McCain agreed with the hanging.

Redwine said...

"Iraq is not and will not be a ‘democracy’ in the sense that we know it in the West." Bingo, and nothing irritates me more than this "we gave them democracy". Bull. Also, everything collapsed in 15 years because it was NOT a modern state in the sense we use the word. The modernization was very misleading in the 70's. Just like democratisation is now.

Also, the AI and HRW (the ones who oppose most the execution) hass ome nice documentation on Saddam's activity> if one has a look, anny trial IS a show trial in this case.
And last but not least> while wars can be justified after all: let us not forget that saddam invaded not once) executions are not: he was a prisoner, couldn't harm anybody anymore. As for staging a come back, ridiculous, how exactly, with the coalition troops in Iraq?

It ws nice, it was fun, a feeble country is falling apart now, let us rejoice, but above all, everybody go home.

beatroot said...

Amen

Mike B) said...

To paraphrase the Sex Pistols' "God save the Queen": they made you a martyr, potential H-bomb....

USpace said...

..
absurd thought -
God of the Universe sings
DING DONG THE BUTCHER’S DEAD…

if there is a BIG bad HELL
Saddam’s registered by now


absurd thought -
God of the Universe wept
when Saddam was killed

he wanted him pissed on
being dragged through Baghdad
..

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