Monday, November 06, 2006

Good News and Bad

Good News:

An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced Saddam Hussein to the gallows for crimes against humanity, closing a quarter-century-old chapter of violent suppression in this land of long memories, deep grudges and sectarian slaughter.

The former Iraqi dictator and six subordinates were convicted and sentenced for the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town after an attempt on his life there.
I don't understand why the accusations come that say this will spark a civil war. As far as I remember, the folks in Iraq hate Saddam. I watched them on the day we first hit Baghdad, dancing for joy in the streets. Does anyone in their right mind want things to go back to the way they were before that day?

Bad news:
The European Union urged Iraq on Sunday not to carry out the death sentence passed on Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein after his conviction for crimes against humanity. "The EU opposes capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and it should not be carried out in this case either," Finland, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, said in a statement.
This shows you how seriously EU (or at least, Finland's president) takes Iraq. They don't view them as a sovereign nation fit to govern their own affairs. I don't recall the EU ever telling us not to drop a bad guy from our society -- and we haven't had someone who so clearly deserved a short drop and a sudden stop in a long time.

What do they propose we do with him? Let him sit in jail for a bit until some Shi'ite terrorist nut breaks him out so he can gas more Kurds? Let him continue to breathe when it is terribly clear that every breath is a waste of perfectly good oxygen?

I don't remember anyone in the EU being particularly evenhanded when it came to the Nuremberg trials.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uh oh. As a resident of Finland randomly reading blogs I just have to comment on the Saddam thing.

Killing people who other people look up to has a habit of making them into martyrs of sorts. People who are already fanatics get ideas of revenge and such. (Look what happened with them killing Jesus. Had they just imprisoned him things might be much different. Not meaning to really compare Jesus with Saddam.) And when you kill a leader like that someone will always take his place. I say best keep alive the enemy we are familiar with.

Letting him rot in jail is the smart thing to do. I think with the security they would put around him there is not a big chance of him escaping. And the guy is like 60 or something. He probably has 20 years at most to breathe the jail air.

I say let him think about what he has done and watch the world go by with his dreams in the gutter.

Matt said...

--Killing people who other people look up to has a habit of making them into martyrs of sorts.--

Very good point anonymous. And very true. Adding to your comment, I've always observed (putting myself in a serial killers shoes) that rotting in jail for the rest of your life, looking around at your 4x8 cell for decades is much worse than just getting it all over with and dying.

Going further, I don't know how you (kaggie) can as a christian condone capital punishment. The greatest moral teacher this world has ever seen, and the foundation of christianity was executed by the state! Too many christians in this country ignore the "turn your other cheek" message of christ and twist their ideology to call for the killing of bad people. Can't you see the hypocrisy in that?

But obviously, if anyone deserves to die, it would be Saddam.

k2aggie07 said...

Anon- Jesus is not a martyr. Jesus chose to die on the cross. Christians didn't rise up in revolt after He was crucified (although the Zealots did, later -- but they were Jews).

Matt- Christ never said anything about capital punishment. You sure do love putting words in His mouth.

If you believe that Christ and God are one, as Christian doctrine teachers, and God clearly and unequivocally states that the punishment for sin -- both mortal and eternal -- is death, how can you imply that Christ disagrees?

The difference is that Christ died in our stead. Christ exposed the hypocrisy present in the Jewish church of the day. There was no such flaw in the Law of Moses, as it was from God who is infallible.

---

Ending Saddam's life is more than just punishment. It is the world's way of saying that we don't tolerate this action as humanity. These are crimes against humanity, and we must treat them as such. He is not fit to share cell space with ordinary criminals. He is not fit to eat the same food other humans do. I do not hate him, but I am much more inclined to let God deal with him. As far as I'm concerned, giving him a trial is our show of mercy.

Matt said...

I used to major in religion because this kind of stuff intrigues me no end. It's like were reading two completely different religious books.

I found this online and I couldn't have said it better myself. It's a catholic nun discussing why she councils murderers on death row:

Vengeance is whose?

People ask me all the time, "What are you, a nun, doing getting involved with these murderers?" You know how people have these stereotypical ideas about nuns: nuns teach; nuns nurse the sick.

I tell people to go back to the gospel. Look at who Jesus hung out with: lepers, prostitutes, thieves—the throwaways of his day. If we call ourselves Jesus' disciples, we too have to keep ministering to the marginated, the throwaways, the lepers of today. And there are no more marginated, thrown-away, and leprous people in our society than death-row inmates.

There's a lot of what I call "biblical quarterbacking" going on in death-penalty debates: people toss in quotes from the Bible to back up what they've already decided anyway. People want to not only practice vengeance but also have God agree with them. The same thing happened in this country in the slavery debates and in the debates over women's suffrage.

Religion is tricky business. Quote that Bible. God said torture. God said kill. God said get even.

Even the Pauline injunction "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay" (Rom. 12:19) can be interpreted as a command and a promise—the command to restrain individual impulses toward revenge in exchange for the assurance that God will be only too pleased to handle the grievance in spades.

That God wants to "get even" like the rest of us does not seem to be in question.

One intractable problem, however, is that divine vengeance (barring natural disasters, so-called acts of God) can only be interpreted and exacted by human beings, very human beings.

I can't accept that.

Jesus Christ, whose way of life I try to follow, refused to meet hate with hate and violence with violence. I pray for the strength to be like him.

I cannot believe in a God who metes out hurt for hurt, pain for pain, torture for torture. Nor do I believe that God invests human representatives with such power to torture and kill. The paths of history are stained with the blood of those who have fallen victim to "God's Avengers." Kings, popes, military generals, and heads of state have killed, claiming God's authority and God's blessing. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN SUCH A GOD.

Matt said...

*counsels* murderers on death row

Anonymous said...

Is Jesus not the definition of a martyr. "In the Christian context, a martyr is an innocent person who, without seeking death (suicide being seen as sinful), is murdered or put to death for his or her religious faith or convictions." Wikipedia. And yes the followers of Jesus did not revolt because that was not what they were taught to do. They did however carry on believing Jesus was the son of God.

I am sorry I seem to have gotten involved in a religious issue.

k2aggie07 said...

Yes anonymous, that often seems to happen around here.

Matt, you and your nun-friend should read the book of Judges some time. While I agree that its not our place to reserve our anger simply in hopes that God will do our dirty work for us, to say that God does not practice vengeance or some sort of celestial discipline on mankind as a whole is to deny the whole of the Old Testament. (Check out Numbers 21:4-9 for a specific example).

That's not to say we shouldn't love people and forgive them. But if its the Christ model we're after, He certainly had no compunction about doing the right thing, even if it required physical force.

Matt said...

Wow, that is the whole point that I'm getting at. The "right" thing depends on where you live, who raised you and what cultural makeup your a part of. "Right" is not a universal idea! It changes from society to society, culture to culture, and for you to have the tenacity to believe that your RIGHT trumps everyone elses throughout history is pretty big headed of you if you ask me.

The Bible says a million things that contradict each other. You quote the Bible, but only verses and passages that suit your own predetermined ideas of what is RIGHT. For you, "right" is using physical force. For me, "right" is letting the bastard rot in jail for the rest of his life.

Neither of us is right.

k2aggie07 said...

Moral relativism is the equivalence of Nihilism. Its my big problem with liberalism in general. If there is no absolute right and wrong, no one is ever right or wrong -- and you can basically do whatever you want.

Have fun on the dark side.

Matt said...

I see you've been reading Strauss, which means you also agree that the only way to control the "ignorant masses" is to perpetuate religious myths... right? I'm sure you don't agree with that. Strauss was an extremely intelligent scholar, absolutely lacking in common sense and reason. Just like most neo-cons.

k2aggie07 said...

Never heard of 'em.

I don't think you have to "control" anyone. Thats more liberal thought for you.

I think Man is inherently free. Control, then, is a violation of his natural rights.

Liberals, on the other hand, espouse the above idea while doing everything possible to limit freedom in the name of security.

Matt said...

Funny, because everything you just said there describes the foundation of your own ideology. Strauss was the founder of neo-conservatism... he is the reason you think the way you do. I suggest you look him up.