The Patch

January 18, 2007

Thursday 18th January 2007 – Hating and Hanging

Filed under: International News — Phil @ 10:25 pm

There are 2 things I want to talk about today, I’m going to start with the less serious of the two.

Firstly, I’m quite amused at the fact Big Brother has managed to cause an international incident, embroiling the Chancellor of the Exchequer and has been discussed in the commons. I’m amused, yet ever so slightly disgusted.

Such things should not be the concern of governments. It’s a bunch of reprehensible fools sharing their reprehensible opinions (I mean celebrity Big Brother, not the government, although…). It shouldn’t be the concern of this column either, but if the Indian government insists on bring it within my remit, who am I to disappoint them.

More important, though, is the hangings of Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamad al-Bandar. I’m actually not sure where to start.

For me, the death penalty is always, under any circumstances, morally reprehensible. Murder has no statutory definition under English law, but essentially, it’s when you kill someone with an intention to kill or cause grievous bodily (often phrased as “malice aforethought”). By this definition, every execution is necessarily murder, every executioner a murderer and every state which allows the death penalty is guilty of conspiracy to murder.

Awad Hamad al-Bandar was the head of the Iraqi Revolutionary Court, and, in 1994 sentenced the villagers of Dujail to death because an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi special tribunal said that the sentence was an order of murder (which it was), and therefore responded with an, uhm, well, it was an order of murder wasn’t it.

Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti was the head of the Iraqi Secret Service, executed for his role in the Dujail massacre, but guilty of countless instances of murder and torture.

Both these men, and Hussein, will forever be legally innocent of all the other crimes they committed. More than that, the presiding judge of their trail resigned, claiming the government was interefering in the trial. Two of Saddam’s lawyers – one of whom was a former US attorney-general, claimed the United States was ensuring an unfair trial. None of the defendants were allowed to appeal.

Furthermore, they could never have been given a fair trail in the current environment. It should never have happened. By failing to ensure a fair trial, the American government has gone a substantial way to proving that not only was the war not a defense of America or it’s allies (which we knew), nor was it an illegal but possibly defensible regime change (which we suspected), but was an invasion, nothing less. Economic colonialism of the oil world.

Not content with just murdering these men, it was done in a disgusting and depraved way. Saddam Hussein went to his death being taunted, and had his death broadcast to millions, if not billions of people. al-Tikriti’s head was ripped off his body. He then had his his death made into a spectacle for reporters.

Personally, I believe any living being, human or not, deserves better treatment than this, what ever they may have done. But even if you don’t, treating people like this brings the captors to same, depraved level. Iraq as a democracy is more bloodthirsty than Iraq under Hussein. Post-war Iraq is more dangerous to most Iraqis than Iraq under Saddam. I’m not saying Saddam Hussein was a good person. I’m not even saying it was wrong to depose Hussein, but the way it was gone about was demonstrably wrong.

I couldn’t even start to suggest how this wrong could be righted, I’m not sure that leaving Iraq now is a viable option, but I’m also not sure we’re not making it worse. All I know is that every action in Iraq now has to be made with an aim to ultimately remove our troops. But I’m also reasonably confident that the puppet government would collapse with it’s American support.

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