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Hanging Saddam

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"There's no way to describe the loss we've experienced with this war and occupation. There is no compensation for the dense, black cloud of fear that hangs over the head of every Iraqi. Fear of the Americans in their tanks, fear of the police patrols in the black bandanas, fear of the Iraqi soldiers wearing their black masks at the checkpoints." Riverbend; blogs from Baghdad

The execution of Saddam Hussein is another grim chapter in the catalogue of war crimes perpetrated against the Iraqi people. It is a gratuitous act of barbarism devoid of justice.

What right does Bush have to kill Saddam? What right does the author of Abu Ghraib, Falluja, Haditha and countless other atrocities have to pass judgment on the former leader of a nation which posed no threat to the United States?

Let's be clear, the lowliest, most ruthless Iraqi has more right to rule Iraq than the most upright American. That's what's meant by "self determination". When we honor "self rule" we avoid bloody interventions like the invasion of Iraq.

Bush believes that killing Saddam will achieve the "closure" which has eluded him through 4 years of occupation. But he is mistaken. Saddam's death will only eliminate any opportunity for a political solution. Reconciliation will be impossible and Saddam will die as a hero.

Is that what Bush wants?

Or does Bush really know what he wants? Perhaps, he is just a war-mongering psychopath completely disconnected from reality.

Capital punishment is a moral evil. The state never has the right to kill its own people regardless of their crimes; Saddam is no exception. But the premeditated murder of Saddam is particularly appalling, because it is stupid as well as unjust. It cuts off dialogue with the very people (the Ba'athist-led resistance) who need to be entered into the political process to achieve normalization. Bush is destroying his last chance for a negotiated settlement and paving the way for America's total defeat.

It's complete madness.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, told the Times Online that "the deposed president could be hanged 'within hours'" and that his death sentence would be executed by Saturday at the latest.

Munir Haddad, the presiding judge on the appeals court, said, "All the measures have been done. There is no reason for delays."

Plans are already underway to film the entire event.

It's impossible to imagine a more fitting summary of 6 years of Bush rule than video-footage of Saddam's limp figure dangling at the end of a rope. The pictures will no doubt replace the iconic photos of the hooded Abu Ghraib prisoner who appeared in headlines across the world.

The United States will pay a heavy price for Bush's savagery. The war is already going badly and this latest travesty will only quicken America's inevitable withdrawal.

America has become a moral swamp, its leaders incapable of wisdom or mercy. Hanging Saddam only adds to our mutual disgrace and exposes the real face of American justice.
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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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