Sunday, November 05, 2006


So, Saddam was sentenced today to hang for his conviction of committing crimes against humanity. The lawyer in me says that even if Saddam's trial was imperfect, there cannot be a realistic reasonable doubt that Saddam is guilty of terrible crimes that are eligible for the death penalty under Iraqi law. That being said, I have issues with it.

First, hanging, as described here, is not a humane way to commit an inhumane act. It seems better than death by insects ("There are many variations on the scenario in which the sentenced was staked to the ground, smeared with something sweet like honey, and left out to eventually be eaten by insects"), or garrotting ("It consists of a bench in which the sentenced sits. He leans on a pole around which there is an iron circle that grips him around the throat; a screw handle tightens harder and harder until he dies by strangling, while an iron wedge causes the breaking of cerebral vertebrae.
Garrotte was used in Spain until a few decades ago.") Still, it would be tremendously preferred (by me) if Saddam could die of a heart attack after conviction but before execution.

Besides, killing people seems to perpetuate a cycle of violence that it was meant to end. In fact, I suspect that Iraqis would probably be better off if Saddam were to rot in a jail cell for the next 20 years. That, in some ways, would emasculate him more than execution.


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