December 9, 2006

"One of the hardest tasks will be to determine who gets to be the hangman because so many people want revenge..."

Everybody wants to be Saddam's hangman. But, really, under the rule of law, the executioner -- if we are to have executions -- should be a neutral, disinterested government functionary, not someone who's into revenge. One must maintain a sharp distinction between executioner and murderer.

And what of public executions?
Officials have considered staging a public hanging in Baghdad’s largest sports arena, Shaab Stadium, and filling the place with tens of thousands of spectators...
That has been rejected, but only because of the security risk.

The linked article goes on to talk about the death penalty in Iraq, where at least 51 people have been hanged since August 2004. (The American authorities had suspended the death penalty in 2003.) Here's one anecdote:
On Sept. 6, the Iraqi authorities planned to hang 27 people. On the 13th hanging, according to an official who was there, the rope snapped and the convicted man plummeted 15 feet through the trap door onto the concrete floor. “God saved me!” the man cried. “God is great! I did not deserve this!” For an hour, he lay on the ground praying and shouting while prison guards and the executioner debated whether this constituted divine intervention and, if so, whether the man’s life should be spared. Once a new rope was rigged, however, the man was forced up the stairs once again and successfully hanged.

15 comments:

Dave said...

If the argument is that the executioner should be neutral then you or I should be the executioner, not some Iraqi. I don't think there are "neutral" Iraqis when it comes to the question of Saddam, any more than there were neutral Cambodians when it came to the question of Pol Pot or neutral Germans when it came to the question of Hitler.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Do you happen to know if there's an age limit for hangings? I heard that Saddam might "age out" from the penalty if he can extend his appeal until after his 70th birthday. I have not been able to confirm this, however.

Bissage said...

If it's a neutral you want then there's no better choice than Peter O'Toole. (Scroll two-thirds down for the scene.)

Regarding the article, isn't it funny how the condemned are men or women at paragraph 17, prisoners at paragraph 18, and victims at paragraph 19? Not too subtle.

wv: "flemba." Traditional arabic cheer appropriate for weddings, sporting events and executions.

David said...

One of Saddam's torture/rape victims should be given the lever to send this murdering degenerate to the fiery hell that awaits him.

Saddam killed himself a long time ago. The rest is mere formality! He demeans the rest of us by his continued existence!

AllenS said...

Does it have to be a hanging? May I propose death by a thousand cuts. That way you could have a thousand people stab him. I hope Santa Claus doesn't read this.

gj said...

This is sure to do great things for Shia / Sunni reconciliation.

It's almost as if the Bush administration studied the history of successful national reconciliations (e.g. South Africa) and decided to do exactly the opposite.

Troy said...

Normally I would be dead set against a public execution (even unseemly "Free him" and "Fry him" protests outside death row ae irritating), but Saddam's public death (or a "viewing post execution"?) could prove both a catharsis for the Iraqi people and a public confirmation that he is in fact gone. Similar to Mussolini as opposed to the conspiracy theories surrounding Hitler's demise. Just a thought....

Simon said...

More than anything right now, Iraqis need something that all the various factions in the country can unite behind. Perhaps hatred of Saddam might provide it; a public executiuon with three levers, pulled by three representatives of sunni, shiite and kurd might be a good national demonstration for them all to pull behind.

Cedarford said...

Neutral? Hire a reporter from the AP or NYTimes to pull the hangman's lever. They all say they are neutral. *snort*.

Despite the Euroweenies blubbering and peeing in their panties about the precious sanctity of terrorist lives....besides Saddam, there are thousands of captured Sunnis who have been involved in killing Iraq civilians, bushwhacking Iraqi cops, US troops. Iraq would be better off if they were executed with little fuss if a Civil War breaks out. The USA and Shiite and Kurd militias also have a pretty good idea what tribes, what Sunni leaders have been involved in butchery and if Civil War starts, it would be better to attack and kill the tens of thousands or hardliners than the average Sunni on the street.

Cedarford said...

I would add that if executions are to be done, unless adjacent Sunni nations work out a deal, all their citizens who came in as IED users, executioners, carbombers should be executed with vigor and dispatch if Iraq breaks down.

While harsh, the foreign fighters went in as transnational terrorists intent on killing Shiite government forces, Shiite civilians, and religious centers.

Killing them all would be a signal within the Muslim world that it is intolerable that Fighters from other Muslim nations may violate sovereignity to wage sectarian warfare on it's citizenry.

Al Qaeda and dozens of other terror groups count on the Muslim people's passivity towards transnational Jihadis - not rising up when Iranian Hez kills Sunnis in KSA or Al Qaeda KSA, Algerians, Sudanese, Jordanians pile into Iraq to kill Shia.

If the custom becomes Death for foreign fighters captured, then the Muslim world may achieve social progress greater than all the vaunted human rights of terrorists "laws" secular progressive Jewish lawyers in America or the Euroweenie Left have whined, coaxed, and foisted on the World over the last 40 years.

Ending the practice of foreign fighters being welcomed in other Muslim countries may help significantly hinder terrorist recruitment, ability to act.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...

I'll do it.

Seriously, though, they should raffle it off. They could raise a lot of money that way.

Aside to gj: I'm pretty sure this isn't President Bush's call.

Eli Blake said...

I bet it would really rattle the Islamic world if they used a female executioner.

Trivia question: Name the U.S. President who once served as an executioner (no, it was not Andrew Jackson; this is an actual execution, as opposed to Jackson once killing a man in a duel.

Eli Blake said...

Of course, I've always wondered at the 'two wrongs make a right' mentality of executions in general, but this is just one more of the many examples of ways in which some conservatives have more in common with radical Islamicists than they want to believe.

Revenant said...

I've always wondered at the 'two wrongs make a right' mentality of executions in general

People who support executions don't think that killing someone is wrong. They think that *murder* is wrong, and other sorts of killings -- such as self-defense killings and executions of convicted murderers -- are not.

So it isn't a case of two wrongs making a right, from their perspective. It is about eliminating a wrongdoer in the right manner.