January 1, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Saddam at the gallows: video

For those with morbid curiousity about the hanging, there are probably several valid URLs, but this one seems to be among the more original versions of that grainy cell phone video clip: pandachute.com, located via Google Video. I saw it during the New Year's Eve party last night, and while the haste and partisan nature of the execution were a little disturbing, I wouldn't quibble with Iraqis doing things their own way. They have very good reasons for feeling the way they do. It was, at least, much more proper than the Christmas 1989 execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. As BBC editor John Simpson opines, however:

Altogether, the execution as we now see it is shown to be an ugly, degrading business, which is more reminiscent of a public hanging in the 18th Century than a considered act of 21st Century official justice.

Well! As for the hanging itself, John Krenson lays out "The moral case for Saddam's execution." He acknowledges the anti-death penalty position of the Catholic Church and others, but argues that the small possibility that Saddam could have one day escaped and resumed brutalizing his opponents justified taking extreme measures for society's own defense. He cited Jules Crittenden who writes, "The world is a better place rid of this filthy murderer," (hear, hear!) and has a roundup of blogospheric reactions. Jeff "Protein Wisdom" says the execution "provides a kind of psychological relief for the many Shia oppressed and brutalized by the thuggish Ba'athist regime." No one should underestimate how important that is. Jeff also echoes my point regarding Saddam's last-minute conversion to conciliatory politics, paraphrasing Samuel Johnson:

Depend on it, Sr, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates the mind wonderfully. (SOURCE: Oxford Dictionary of Quotations 3rd ed., 1980)