Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Justice Hung

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Like many around the world, I was fascinated at the prospect of the putting Saddam Hussein on trial. No, it was not because I thought he was an evil tyrant and dangerous control freak and I wanted to hear all the gory details of his murderous exploits from the prosecution. I was much more interested in Saddam's defense. I wanted to hear him, or his attorneys, explain in full the difficulties involved in governing a country splintered by ethnic, religious, national, and tribal rivalries. In short, I wanted to hear Saddam's side of the story. I wanted, dare I say, yearned, for a history lesson from Saddam Hussein. His version of events may have turned out to be complete fabrications, but unfortunately the world never had the chance of knowing for certain.

The world already knew the outcome of the trial before it began. It could not have ended any other way. As far as the defense rebuttal of the charges, I was to be very disappointed, as there was no defense at all. Famous American jurists and lawyers who attempted to intervene were turned away by the Bush Administration. Saddam, whether international leader or common citizen, was not permitted adequate counsel. This trial was a sham by any standard outside of Stalinist USSR. "Uncle Joe" would be proud to see that the Great Western Capitalists have finally succumbed to the 'wisdom' of Soviet jurisprudence.

Since I am opposed to the death penalty overall, it makes no sense to ask me if he deserved to die. I simply cannot answer that question. Was he guilty? Well, yes and no. Certainly he was a tyrant and a murdering bastard, but if one is going to charge him with that crime, incarcerate him, and put him on trial, should the proceedings at least have an appearance of legitimacy? Could they not have tried Saddam at the Hague where the judges and lawyers might not have their lives taken by partisan thugs?

Had Saddam been allowed to plead his case in some detail, we might have heard some remarkable theories and perhaps even some little known historical facts. Had Saddam been allowed the sort of defense that a Ken Lay or Jack Abramoff received, the trial may have looked somewhat more like a real honest-to-goodness legal proceeding. Imagine Saddam Hussein explaining in some detail how the various nationalist and religious groups conspired to overthrow his government or that their land was required for economic development. I suspect that people of every nation would be hearing snippets of their own nation's past and present actions and feel some sense of understanding.

The world outside the US knows this trial was sham and the execution was nothing more than one president's revenge intended to appease the Shi'ite majority of the nation that one American destroyed. Some of us inside the US know it, too. It is shameful what our national reputation has become.

Saddam Hussein is yet another Iraqi victim of American corporate aggression in Iraq, albeit a more notable one. He was not one of the dozens of the faceless, nameless, and forgotten Iraqis murdered as collateral damage in the race for revenge and oil profits each day. A legitimate trial could have shown the world that indeed, Saddam had to be deposed, tried, and perhaps even executed. America could have justified its position for doing so, but chose not to.

America deprived itself of boasting of fairness and equality under the law. We have shown that we will allow our allies to degrade a man even unto his death, mocking the doomed all the way to the gallows. Barbarism of the lowest order. Saddam took it like a man. Too bad the US and their Shi'ite cohorts couldn't offer it that way.

1 comment:

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Not only Saddam's story, but also that of all the people who went along with him. One of the books I'd be fascinated to read (if it's ever written) would be what it was like for Saddam's various body doubles (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Was-Saddams-Son-Latif-Yahia/dp/1559703733)