Sunday, January 14, 2007
Tony Blair has condemned the manner in which Saddam Hussein was executed saying “it was completely wrong”.
In other words there is something worse than having a rope tied around your neck and then being dropped through a trap door so that your neck breaks and your tongue lolls out. It is all of this and then being insulted at the same time. As if death wasn’t enough, death with insults: as if death without insults would have been so much more humane.
Did you notice that they put a silk scarf round his neck too, so that he wouldn’t get rope-burn? A broken neck is fine but rope-burn is unacceptable.
Some of you will say he deserved it. Maybe you are right. I have my own views on capital punishment. I think it would have been far better to have made him live with his crimes than to have let him off so lightly.
On the other hand I can’t argue with the Iraqi people’s right to do as they liked with the man, having suffered under his foul and capricious regime for so many years.
But it seems to me there was an unseemly haste about the process. He was found guilty of the murder of 148 Shi’ites in southern Iraq, and yet there were hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of deaths attributable to him.
Surely justice demands that he should have been held accountable for all of his crimes, not just those selected by the United States.
The Iranians wanted him tried in an international court. Not only did he invade their country, killing up to a million people in an orgy of mass violence, but he also used mustard gas, nerve gas and other illegal weapons. Surely the Iranians too deserved their day in court?
So why wasn’t he held accountable by an international criminal court for his crimes against humanity?
I think you already know the answer to this one.
Because we in the west were directly implicated in those crimes.
We’ve all seen the pictures of Saddam Hussein shaking hands with George Galloway. There are also pictures of him shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld, who was in Baghdad at the time the UN released a report showing that the Iraqi army had used mustard gas in Iran. You have to ask why those pictures haven’t been blazoned across our front pages too?
There’s that old joke. How come we were so certain that he had weapons of mass destruction?
Because we kept the receipts.
But there’s something else which disturbs me about this whole episode.
It was virtually a public hanging.
The whole world saw the lead-up to the hanging. The whole world saw his body afterwards. We watched it all on TV.
If you are really sick you can catch the whole ghoulish event on the internet.
So this is what this so-called war on terrorism has brought us to. It has revived public hanging for our edification and entertainment.
It has turned us into barbarians.