On Saturday 30th December, at dawn, they hanged Saddam. The moralo-philosophic issue is clear – at least to the people of nations who no longer use the death penalty and those who are opposed to the death penalty on moral grounds. World reaction has been varied. How did you feel when you heard the news?
I woke at 6.00 this morning – later than usual. The news depressed me because I feel that we have been diminished by this war and the very public execution of a man who brought misery and death to many. (I leave the issue of ‘legality of the war’ to one side for this post.)
The very specific point I make (The wider issues are known to us all – whatever your view) is that it is simply not good enough for The Foreign Secretary to issue a statement that ‘We’, as a country, are opposed to the death penalty, but, at the same time, state that Saddam has been ‘called to account.’ I do not criticise the Foreign Secretary for doing so. I simply feel that our Prime Minister should have made the statement. Blair took us into this war, with the support of many, and he should represent us as the spokesman of Britain in this very public execution and ‘incident of policy and war’.
Pretty well every other world leader made a statement on the position of the country which they represent – from what I could glean from the net. It is unlikely that the British Government was not informed that Saddam was to be executed this morning. So why was it left to the Foreign Secretary to make a statement? Perhaps I am out of step on this one? It would not have taken much time for Blair to do a piece to camera or send a statement to the ‘apparatus of government’ – he usually manages to get his views through, even, if you will forgive the ‘gallows irony’, he wants to bury the news he is putting out. What was Blair doing today? Sun bathing? Playing his guitar?
What is my position on the execution? I suspect very similar to many…
I am opposed to the use of the death penalty on moral grounds (I am not a religious man) so I cannot condone the use of the death penalty in Iraq – however much I might understand the suffering of those who suffered under Saddam.
If you really want to see how ‘agonising’ it was for TV and Press to cover the execution of Saddam … read this rather tawdry story from the International Herald Tribune..
Here is one quote from the story..
“I didn’t want them to rush into it,” Capus said. “I wanted them to be cautious. I didn’t think there was anything to be gained by being first with the pictures of the body.”
EDIT>>> Inevitably, a full un-cut version of the execution was on the net within hours – taken with a mobile phone.