Jerusalem----December 29...... Should Saddam Hussein die by hanging? This
is a question that each and every one of us should ask.
should Saddam die? According to a senior Vatican official, the Pope has condemned
the death sentence against Saddam Hussein reiterating that capital punishment
goes against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Renato Martino,
Pope Benedict XVI’s top prelate for justice issues and a former Vatican envoy
to the United Nations, said that Hussein’s execution would punish “a crime with
another crime” and expressed hope that the sentence would not be carried out.
“The death penalty is not a natural death. And no one can give death, not even
the State,” he said.
Tuesday, Iraq’s highest court rejected Saddam's Hussein’s appeal against a conviction
and death sentence for the killing of 148 people in Dujail, in northern Iraq,
in 1982. The court said the former president should be hanged within 30 days.
Jewish law, we do not believe in capital punishment. The death penalty does not
exist in Israel. Only once was it ever exercised and that was for Adolph Eichmann
who engineered the Holocaust in Europe.
U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark denounced the Iraq Special Tribunal's death
sentences against Saddam Hussein and two co-defendants in a press conference at
the National Press Club in Washington on December 20. Clark served on Hussein’s
defense team during the trial.
consequences of execution will be greater violence." Clark warned, "I don't think
you can rationally expect anything else." Hussein and the co-defendants have been
held in American custody at Camp Cropper, an American military prison near the
Baghdad airport. Clark charged that if they were turned over to Iraqi authorities
they faced torture and death. Noting the biased nature of the trial, which was
roundly condemned by human rights groups, foreign offices of several countries,
U.N. observers and others, Clark questioned the speed with which the court is
moving to execute the defendants.
Minister Maliki has repeatedly said the execution should take place this year,"
Clark said. "Iraq law seems to provide that the sentence of death is to be carried
out mandatory within fifteen days of the final judgment." In addition to Saddam,
the court also imposed death sentences on Awad Hamed al-Bandar and Barzan al-Tikriti.
Further, near the end of the recent trial, an Iraqi puppet judge told one of the
defendants, "You had blood on your hands since you were a child." There was no
attempt to prove that the recent trial was anything other than a rigged show trial.
As Clark said, it represented "victor's injustice, victor's justice being an oxymoron."
The implications of execution are dire. Clark noted that "The Pentagon [had] announced
that violence in Iraq was at an all time high." Clark also commented on the parallels
between Vietnam and Iraq. He observed that long many knew that the U.S. government’s
war of aggression against Vietnam was doomed to failure, the war dragged on with
massive casualties mounting.
collaborated with the United States in launching the 1980 war with Iran. But the
Iraqi regime was never a comprador, puppet government of U.S. interests in the
same way as the client regimes in Jordan, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. When Hussein
began to assert Iraqi national interests independent of U.S. interests—for example,
the 1990 invasion of Kuwait— was his regime then targeted for destruction? Is
the real reason Hussein and members of his government face execution is because
they stood up to U.S.? Many claim that the U.S. occupation regime was illegal
and had no authority to try or convict Hussein or any of his co-defendants. Some
argue that real trials for "crimes against humanity" would have Bush administration
officials and Pentagon generals as the defendants. No different than charges that
Ariel Sharon and today Ehud Olmert face in Israel.
Joseph Jr. reports from Iraq stating a different perspective: "As an Assyrian
Christian, the indigenous people of Iraq, with family who were terrorized and
imprisoned by Saddam Hussein, hate is a mild word when asked how one feels towards
Saddam Hussein." Joseph Jr. continues: "I cannot erase from my memory
the terror in our family. The sheer horror when there was an unexpected knock
on the door or an unknown telephone call. The family members and for that matter
nearly one million Iraqis he killed and the countless million lives he destroyed."
do you forgive this? First of all it is important to never forget. One of the
true dangers outside of Iraq is that somehow in all that has transpired in Iraq
; the sheer evil of Saddam has been forgotten. I remember! The biggest lesson
Saddam taught me concerned the existence of evil. For those who live in democratic
and free countries, the concept of evil has gone somewhere. In a world of political
correctness, much of the world is unable to understand because they have never
experienced sheer evil. This was Saddam. His face was everywhere. From the moment
you woke up to the time you went to bed he was everywhere. He was on the money,
his three pictures - one in Arab Headdress, one with his rifle and the other,
the old black and white picture in every office - was always somewhere. Driving,
his statues were everywhere. He was in your dreams."
message of Saddam Hussein, is to remind the world that there is evil." It
exists and Saddam Hussein and his even more evil sons and all their henchmen embodied
it completely. The fatal flaw following the liberation of Iraq was the clash of
cultures - one who had lived under evil and knew it firsthand and the other that
denied its existence. This denial of evil brought us to where we today, where
the successors to Saddam Hussein in the form of Hakim, Sadr, Sistani and their
bosses in Iran are viewed through the prism of situational ethics which see something
"good" in all men, in spite of the simple fact that some men are evil. Second,
though can Saddam be forgiven ? The real ones to ask are those whose lives were
destroyed by him. For us, we need to face the uncomfortable fact that evil exists
and that we must stand against it, at the same time never forgetting that there
is a God and that in the end, it is He that wins."
a Friday sermon, one preacher at a mosque in the Shiite holy city of Najaf describes
the execution as "God's gift to Iraqis." He says Saddam "killed millions of Iraqis
in prisons" and in wars with neighboring countries. The preacher also says the
former Iraqi leader is responsible for mass graves, and prays that God will "take
revenge on Saddam."
Rights Watch has a different take: "The Iraq government should not implement the
death sentence against Saddam Hussein, which was imposed after a deeply flawed
trial for crimes against humanity. The Appeals Chamber of the Iraqi High Tribunal,
which was first reported by Iraq’s national security adviser to have upheld the
sentence, should have conducted a thorough legal review of the verdict and then
announced its findings. Imposing the death penalty, indefensible in any case,
is especially wrong after such unfair proceedings. That a judicial decision was
first announced by Iraq’s national security advisor underlines the political interference
that marred Saddam Hussein’s trial."
does the UN: ”The appeal judgment is a lengthy and complex decision that requires
careful study. There were a number of concerns as to the fairness of the original
trial, and there needs to be assurance that these issues have been comprehensively
addressed. I call, therefore, on the Iraqi authorities not to act precipitately
in seeking to execute the sentence in these cases."
International says: "We are against the death penalty as a matter of principle,
but particularly in this case because it comes after a flawed trial."
Prime Minister of Italy Romano Prodi: "While I don't want to minimize the crimes
committed by Saddam Hussein, and the ferocity with which he governed during his
regime, and while respecting the autonomy and legitimacy of Iraq institutions,
I must express the Italian government's, and my personal, firm opposition to the
the EU President stated: "The EU opposes capital punishment in all cases and under
all circumstances, and it should not be carried out in this case either." The
Times of India: "One of the main criticisms of the trial was that the special
court was not equipped to handle such a complex case. Questions have also been
raised about timely disclosure of evidence, the rights of defendants to confront
witnesses and impartiality of the judges. New Delhi has rightly condemned the
trial as lacking credibility. It has also raised the issue of the effect of the
death sentence on Iraq's future. There is good reason to believe that executing
Saddam can only worsen the situation in Iraq. The memory of Saddam as a martyr
is likely to have much more of a hold on popular imagination than a Saddam behind
the deposed Iraqi leader is executed now, the country's Sunnis will always think
of Saddam's rule as a golden era. Now is not the time to execute Saddam Hussein.
With Iraq still under coalition occupation, as far as Iraqis are concerned the
rope around Saddam's neck will be American. For
the Sunni, Saddam will become an instant martyr."
Robert Baer, TIME Magazine, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle
Asian Tribute: "The confirmation yesterday of the death sentence against
Saddam Hussein is the final act in a legal charade directed from Washington. The
Iraqi Appeal Court upheld the verdict against Hussein and two of his co-accused
- Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar - brought on November 5 for
the execution of 148 Shiites from the town of Dujail in 1982. With the only avenue
of appeal exhausted, all three can be hanged at any time within the next 30 days.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel hailed the court decision, declaring it to
be "an important milestone" in efforts "to replace the rule of a tyrant with the
rule of law." In fact, the Bush administration has repeatedly demonstrated its
contempt for basic legal norms, riding roughshod over international and US law.
It has pressed for the execution of Hussein as a means of demonstrating to the
world that it is capable of killing its opponents with impunity."
Australian: "The Iraq Government should have spared Saddam the death penalty."
Hanania, who was named 2006/2007 best ethnic American columnist by the New America
Media, says: "I don’t sympathize with Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein,
but I do hold sacred the international rule of law and the principle that justice
must be blind. That’s why I oppose the execution of Saddam Hussein."
continues: "It’s also why I believe that Saddam Hussein did not receive a
fair trial. His execution is a war crime and an act of murder. Why should I believe
any of the claims made against Saddam Hussein when nearly every claim used to
justify the invasion of Iraq have all proven to be false? There were no weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq. Saddam Hussein never conspired with the al-Qaeda
terrorists who planned the World Trade Center attacks. Iraq was never a threat
to America. I also do not believe that Americans who backed the war above and
beyond the lies that justified the war really cared about freeing the Iraqi people.
The court established by the United States military occupation of Iraq is also
illegal and has no jurisdiction to prosecute anyone. It’s a sham, so much so that
everyone knew Saddam Hussein would be convicted and sentenced to death."
the judge at the court expressed sympathies for Saddam Hussein, he was immediately
removed, which also proves that the purpose of the court, like the purpose of
the Iraq invasion, was never about justice or rights, but about politics. Saddam
Hussein should be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court in the Hague
where other international leaders have been charged, prosecuted and convicted
on the powerful foundation of the International Rule of Law. Or, brought before
an International Tribunal set up under the auspice of the United Nations as was
"Saddam Hussein was not sent to the Hague, nor was an International tribunal
convened because Bush cannot guarantee a conviction or death sentence there,"
says Hanania. "It might also open questions about Bush’s conduct in Iraq.
If Saddam Hussein can be prosecuted for quelling a rebellion against his regime,
cannot President Bush therefore be prosecuted for violating international law?
Why should American soldiers in Iraq facing war crimes charges be held accountable
but not Bush? I believe far more war crimes have been committed in Iraq, but we
have only chosen to prosecute those that are unavoidable and clear for all to
see. There is also one more legal issue that is being ignored by the kangaroo
court in Baghdad. If we accept the assertions that the war in Iraq is legal, then
Saddam Hussein is a prisoner of war. His murder is a violation of the Fourth Geneva
Conventions, that we have already ignored in our conduct in torturing and mistreatment
other prisoners. Regardless, sentencing Saddam Hussein to death is a violation
of international law. But killing him is an immoral act tantamount to murder exposing
Bush administration hypocrisies. All of these violated principles and laws may
one day come back to haunt us as Americans," says Hanania.
the time of this writing I suspect that Saddam has already been hung. "The
execution could occur in "another day or so" - before the start of the Muslim
holiday of Eid al-Adha," said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity. Iraq officials have said their government would be loath to carry out
an execution during the Eid festival, and have suggested that it would not take
place until the holiday ends next week. The U.S. official noted that the Bush
administration had been "in close contact with the government of Iraq" on Hussein's
to Iraq law the convicted person has the right to see family 24 hours before the
death sentence is carried out. Yesterday, Saddam said good-bye to his two brothers.
And a top Iraq official said Saddam Hussein would be executed before six am. Saturday,
Baghdad time, that's tonight at 10 PM Eastern/7 PM Pacific.
would make sense from a security perspective. Hang Saddam before the Eid al-Adha
holiday begins. Under the cover of darkness and then announce it at dawn. With
daylight US troops would have a better idea as to what would be coming at them.
writer has had his own personal experiences with Saddam Hussein. I watched from
the roof of the Tel Aviv Hilton in 1991 as Iraq scuds slowly hovered over and
fell onto Israel soil. One missed my home in Ramat Gan by only 200 meters. I have
no sympathy for Saddam Hussein. But nor do I care to see Saddam turned into a
should rot in jail but should not be hanged. What would his
hanging serve? He was not responsible for 9/11, no weapons of
mass destruction were found (though I suspect they did exist
earlier) and it was rumored his administration had met with
the US Embassy the day before invading Kuwait and was given
a green light by the US. And the war crimes that Saddam is accused
of occured in 1982.
Why didn't the international community take action then? Why
only after 2001?
Saddam Hussein murdered civilians in 1982, then why is Donald
Rumsfeld, representing President Reagan, shaking
hands with Saddam in 1983? Shaking
Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld,
then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on
December 20, 1983. The Reagan administration and its special
Middle East envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, did little to stop Iraq
developing weapons of mass destruction in the 1980s, even though
they knew Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons "almost
daily" against Iran.
support for Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war as a bulwark against Shi'ite militancy
has been well known for some time, but using declassified government documents,
the Washington Post provided details in 2002 about Mr Rumsfeld's role,
and about the extent of the Reagan administration's knowledge of the use of chemical
weapons. Furthermore, in 1988, the Dow Chemical company sold $1.5m-worth (£930,000)
of pesticides to Iraq despite suspicions they would be used for chemical warfare.
Hyprocrisy at its best?
death will only serve to polarize more moderate Muslims. It will not make them
fear the US, England or Israel even more so.
terrorists embrace death. They do not fear it. So who is the US punishing?
Baer of TIME Magazine states: "If the deposed Iraqi leader is executed
now, the country's Sunnis will always think of Saddam's rule as a golden era.
Now is not the time to execute Saddam Hussein. With Iraq still under coalition
occupation, as far as Iraqis are concerned the rope around Saddam's neck will
be American. The Shi'a and the Kurds may not care whose rope it is - they just
want the man dead and their pound of revenge. But for the Sunni, Saddam will become
an instant martyr." Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle
East, could not be more correct.
news media are now reporting on the fine details of what is a hanging. Providing
minute by minute accounts of what would happen if the rope was too short or too
long. Are we as a civilized Western world any different from the crowds that gathered
to watch the French Guillotine at work or the hangman's noose in the old US West?
distinguishes us from the Islamic terrorists that we fight is that we cherish
life. Yes, in war we can be more barbaric using pyschops as good if not better
than the enemy by hanging blood dripping heads on wooden sticks. But do we need
now to place Saddam's head on a wooden stick? Will video of his hanging decrease
conflict or increase it in the Middle-East?
for former Iraq president Saddam Hussein, who could be hanged within hours, today
asked a US court to order a halt to his execution. In a last-minute filing to
the US District Court of Washington, Hussein's lawyers asked for a temporary stay
of execution because Saddam is a defendant in a civil case in the same court and
he has been prevented from being able to defend himself.
ought to come, have a good time, they ought to feel confident," White House homeland
security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend said in a nationally broadcast television
interview. Asked specifically if people should be concerned about threats by Saddam
Hussein loyalists in Iraq to attack U.S. interests, Townsend said Saddam had "the
kind of legal due process that many of his victims were denied." She added: "We
don't see any specific uptick in threats."
trust the White House will use this legal stay as a last minute face saving gesture
for themselves to avoid deepening the mud for which brave US troops presently
stand on. To lessen the reality of Sunni Islamic suicide bombers visiting shopping
centers in New York, Washington, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Saddam die of a heart attack, AIDS, a stroke or other "natural causes"
in jail. It worked for Yasser Arafat, it can work for Saddam Hussein.
represents life. So does Israel. It's time for us to illustrate
what kind of society we live in.
What our values are. Yes, fight for freedom, but remember we
are Christians and Jews.
We are not the people who beheaded Daniel Pearl and celebrated.
July 2007 -
Has hanging Saddam brought peace to Iraq?
How many car bombs, how many US troops, how many Iraqi civilians
have died since?
The US should have kept the oil and kept Saddam in power against