Imagine it is 1985. Holocaust Memorials and museums had been opened for ten to twenty-five years all over Germany and somewhere, in a German prison, sat Adolf Hitler. Now, a good number of Germans still supported dur Fuhror, but after the United Nations, the rest of ruined Europe, the few remaining Jewish survivors of death camps and the Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill, thought about it, everyone believed that for reason to triumph over revenge, Hitler's life should be spared. He should live out his days munching Cheetos and watching Charlie Chaplin silent movies.
Would Europe be able to move on with their collective angst-filled consciences? Would the losers of the war feel that the war was really and truly over? Would it feel weird to go to museums knowing that the architect of such depravity sat in a cell down the street? Would an underground resistance, ever hopeful for a return to glory, give up and submit? Would the victims ever have peace knowing that the monster still lives?
Today, a sociopathic man dedicated to rape, torture, mass murders and known for wiping out his own people, sits in an Iraqi jail cell munching Cheetos and watching M.A.S.H. reruns while writing poetry and waxing philosophical.
Enlightened people everywhere believe that what he is "enduring" at this moment would be justice. As Prime Minister Tony Blair says:
How very Churchillian. And he is not alone:
Mr Blair told his monthly press conference in Downing Street that the Government was “against the death penalty, whether it is Saddam Hussein or anybody else”.
The Finnish presidency of the EU acknowledged 'the systematic, widespread and extremely grave' human-rights violations under Saddam, while repeating its opposition to capital punishment 'in all cases and under all circumstances.' German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced similar disapproval for the death penalty.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour urged Iraqi authorities not to execute Saddam and his two former aides.
'Whatever the outcome of an appeal, I hope the government will observe a moratorium on execution,' Arbour said.
Human-right lobby group Amnesty International said it regretted that the trial had degenerated into a 'shabby affair, marred by serious flaws,' said Malcolm Smart, the group's director for the Middle East and North Africa.
The South African government issued a statement that hanging Saddam would not the political challenges facing Iraq, which is embroiled in insurgency, terrorism and rising sectarian violence. Johannesburg expressed hope that the outcome of the trial would not lead to more strife in Iraq.
These sentiments display utter moral stupidity and lack of strategic foresight. Iraq suffers today in part because there is no clear winner. Winning means vanquishing the enemy and the enemy is personified by the leader.
In addition, when victims of such merciless horror must live with the knowledge that their pain inflicter enjoys three squares a day, electricity, a bath, etc. while they toil to rebuild not just physically, but emotionally, from the destruction he wrought, it doesn't seem quite fair. It isn't fair. It gnaws and unsettles.
Very few wronged people, when interviewed after the murderer is executed, say it feels satisfying. Most say, "I'm so relieved."
Relief. Relief from the possibility of escape to do more damage. Relief. Relief from having to hear his opinions on this or that for years. Relief. Relief from those who are ever hopeful that he'll return to power. These are all very good reasons to rid the earth of this man.
It makes Western values seem toothless and silly when someone so evil can be given a pass. We want new democracies to employ truth and justice. The truth is that Saddam Hussein was a psychotic despot who killed anyone who stood between him and his glory. Justice for Iraq is to end that horrible regime. That regime ends with Saddam Hussein's death.