They hanged Saddam…

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.

2 thoughts on “They hanged Saddam…

  1. What do you mean – I oppose the death penalty on moral grounds? Such a glib expression. Why is it wrong morally? And dont just say “because taking someones life is immoral” because that must mean the taking of life in any circumstance is immoral e.g. through war. I suppose you would not have condoned the war against the Nazis, on the grounds that lives would have been taken?

    There are some causes that are right and just, and henceforth the execution of an evil despot might very well be on of those causes.

    I was glas that he was executed.

    I think you will find that the majority of the British public would welcome the reintroduction of the death penalty. Is their sense of morality less than yours? I dont think you can say that is true.

    As for your comment re Tony Blair: that was petty and facile. He has a Government of Ministers – a team of people.

    Live and Learn – from Mr Pineapples.

  2. It is, of course, my choice as to whether I oppose the use of the death penalty on moral grounds – as it is your choice to back the use of it. My choice implies no criticism of those who take a different line. Saddam was a vicious murderer who brought death, fear and misery to hundreds of thousands of his own people and others in neighbouring states and deserved to be held to account. My choice would have been for life imprisonment – but I do understand the need of others to have more severe justice.

    Your point as to not going to war against the nazis does not link to, nor follow, a moral objection to the use of the dealth penalty. In time of war, the use of lethal force is fully justified and I have no hesitation whatsoever in supporting the use of lethal force by armed forces when it is justified within the accepted international rules of engagement for war and international law.

    You may recall that the Chief of The Defence staff (I think it was) sought advice on whether the invasion of Iraq was legal and was given that assurance.

    On the death penalty issue: I think you are right – if there was a straw poll on the use of the death penalty in Britain, I suspect the majority would be in favour of the death penalty. That, of course, would not prevent me from maintaining my own opposition to the use of the death penalty.

    I do feel that Blair should have dealt with a statement himself. It would not have taken very long. The fact of the matter is, Blair took us to war in Iraq and whatever the rights and wrongs of that decision are, I believe he should be the spokesman for Britain on such an important issue as the execution of Saddam and other major policy issues in relation to the deployment of our armed forces in Iraq.

    The full uncut video of the execution of Saddam – taken from a mobie phone – is now on the net. Clearly, security at this execution was not particularly good. The official film which we have seen on our TV screens did not reveal the drop.

    Diversity of view is always interesting.

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