Tuesday, January 02, 2007

About Saddam...

Saber Point: The Intellectual Dishonesty of the American Left

I've avoided writing about Saddam and his execution over the holidays, but today I read the above linked blog article that pretty well summarizes my thoughts and feelings about it.

It's kind of sickening that so many people are torn up over Saddam's hanging. I watched the video of the actual hanging, with the drop (link found at the Reference Frame).

I was most impressed with the grim darkness of the gallows and the apparent lack of ceremony and pomp that a dictator might have expected. The atmosphere was chaotic and I'm sure that only increased Saddam's discomfort and anxiety. One could probably imagine that his execution was rushed and premature, but what's done is done and it was done by the Iraqis according to their own design. Did the US have some hidden hand in it? I don't know and I don't really care. Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen, and frankly now Saddam isn't worth even a dime.

You know, the same people who keep hollering that we should let Iraq do its own thing are the same ones who criticize their handling of Saddam (and many other things). Well, you can't have it both ways. You can't give people Independence and then demand that they still do everything the way *you* think they should.

I'm not celebrating a death, not even a dictator's death, but I'm not mourning it either. When someone willingly and criminally takes another life he has forfeited his own right to live.


Stogie said...

Right on, Rae. Your post expresses my feelings closely.

dhammett said...

I saw one of the edited versions on the internet. I wish I hadn't...it was a little macabre and I'm somewhat abashed at wanting to see it. I think it was because I really didn't believe it happened so quickly.

Having said that, I'm pro-death penalty. Some people do things so outrageous that the only fitting punishment is death. Let God deal with them after that. Saddam definitely fits that category.

And regarding the Iraqis, if that's how they wanted to deal with him, that's up to them. They need to be going about the business of establishing a government that stants on its own. Having the threat of Saddam somehow lurking in the background for a comeback should the Sunnis ever return to power can reasonably be seen as a chilling factor in the establishment of their democratic government. More power to them for having the courage to deal with him in a straightforward manner.

Rae Ann said...

stogie, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad I read your post and thanks for letting me link it!

dh, yeah, I share some of your feelings about it. I'm kind of surprised that so many people are in such an uproar about it now. Bush said it could be more 'dignified', and they've arrested the guy who took the video. I think he should be given an award instead. And really, I think the execution was adequately horrifying. Why should it be "dignified"?

nige said...

Well, I was about 6 I read this article in the paper about hanging in England, which by then had been abolished.

The article, I think in the Daily Telegraph, weirdly included a formula for calculating the length of rope needed to hang someone successfully!

It explained that hanging someone requires a good knowledge of physics, because you need to take account of their mass in calculating the "drop".

If the drop is too short, they will strangulate slowly. If it is too long, the momentum of the body may be enough to decapitate the head.

You have got to ensure that enough impulse is delivered in a jolt which breaks the neck cleanly.

Although all masses fall initially at the same acceleration (9.8 ms^-2), as soon as the deceleration starts (at the end of the "drop" when the rope goes suddenly from being slack to being tight), the momentum of the body travelling downwards comes into play.

The greater the mass, the greater the momentum.

Hence, the executioner has to factor in the weight of the person in order to calculate the ideal vertical drop required for success.

It really amazed me how much physics is involved in even simple things like hanging, nevermind the atom bomb and other great inventions like the hydrogen bomb, missile, etc. All doing an excellent job of making the world a safer place. ;-)

Arun said...

Why not revert to the executions in the public square as there used to be e.g., in England, even a century ago?

"After witnessing his first hanging in 1846, Charles Dickens published a letter in The Daily News:

I was, purposely, in the spot, from midnight of the night before; and was a near witness of the whole process of the building of the scaffold, the gathering of the crowd, the gradual swelling of the concourse with the coming-on of day, the hanging of the man, the cutting of the body down, and the removal of it into the prison. From the moment of my arrival, when there were but a few score boys in the street, and all those young thieves, and all clustered together behind the barrier nearest to the drop--down to the time when I saw the body with its dangling head, being carried on a wooden bier into the gaol--I did not see one token in all the immense crowd; at the windows, in the streets, on the house-tops, anywhere; of any one emotion suitable to the occasion.

No sorrow, no salutary terror, no abhorrence, no seriousness; nothing but ribaldry, debauchery, levity, drunkenness, and flaunting vice in fifty other shapes. I should have deemed it impossible that I could have ever felt any large assemblage of my fellow-creatures to be so odious. I hoped, for an instant, that there was some sense of Death and Eternity in the cry of "Hats off!" when the miserable wretch appeared; but I found, next moment, that they only raised it as they would at a Play--to see the stage the better, in the final scene."

--- No more civilized today? Shame on the entire lot of you!

Rae Ann said...

Arun, thanks for commenting. Perhaps I'm not any more civilized than the hooligans of Dickens's England, but did you miss the part that said I wasn't celebrating or mourning. Or anything much in between. I merely was reflecting on the grittiness of the scene and expressed my feelings that it was quite appropriate.

Is it really "civilized" to honor a mass-murderer with an execution with much fanfare and 'dignity' *just because* he happened to be a famous dictator? I don't think so. His rights to civility were forfeited along with his right to life.