Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam's imminent end

By Michael J.W. Stickings

***UPDATED BELOW***

Reports indicate that Saddam Hussein will be executed within the next few hours -- by 10 pm ET this evening.

I am disgusted. I am ashamed. I am appalled. I am saddened.

We, too, are barbarians.

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See our previous posts here, here, and here.

And see Shakes at Ezra. And Mohammed at Iraq the Model.

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UPDATE: For more, see the Carpetbagger at Political Animal.

The BBC has updates here.

Two editorials worth reading are in the WaPo and the NYT. The editors of the former claim to be against the death penalty but criticize "human rights groups" and argue that Saddam's execution will still be just, however imperfectly so. Which is an utterly stupid criticism and argument. The editors of the latter do not address the justice, or lack thereof, of Saddam's execution, but they are right to point out that it comes as the result of "a flawed, politicized and divisive trial". The trial -- and, I would argue, the execution -- did nothing to "set a precedent for the rule of law in a country scarred by decades of arbitrary vindictiveness". Indeed: "Toppling Saddam Hussein did not automatically create a new and better Iraq. Executing him won't either."

This is a horrendous development.

Iraq may officially be carrying out Saddam's execution, but do not be fooled. The U.S. is responsible for this. The U.S. is allowing this to happen. To the extent that Iraq is involved, it is vengeance, not justice. And vengeance of this kind, even vengeance directed at a former tyrant, will not help a country torn apart by bitter and bloody sectarianism.

More blood is not the answer. Another killing is not just.

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UPDATE 2: And it's over. The news networks -- and I'm watching CNN and the BBC -- are reporting that Saddam was executed just after 10 pm ET (6 am local time).

Now reported: 10:05 pm ET.

CNN has updates here. See also MSNBC here.

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UPDATE 3: The Times has an obituary here.

And make sure to read the response from Human Rights Watch here: "The execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein following a deeply flawed trial for crimes against humanity marks a significant step away from respect for human rights and the rule of law in Iraq."

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