The Moral Argument for Killing Another

March 2, 2009

[First published December 19, 2005] There is much to be outraged about, such as The New York Times divulging state secrets that aid our enemies, the left wing control over our universities and schools, the continuing genocide in Darfur, the starving children in the nation-wide concentration camp that is North Korea, or the Holocaust denial by the President of Iran. But what struck a particular nerve for me today is the European refusal to provide any aid to the Iraqi trail of Saddam Hussein because its judges will, as night will turn into day, sentence him to execution.

First, note that president Bush has said, “I think he ought to receive the ultimate penalty … for what he has done to his people . . . . I mean, he is a torturer, a murderer, they had rape rooms. This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice.”

However, Our European allies had this to say (from “Bush: Saddam should pay ‘ultimate penalty’ for crimes; at odds with anti-death penalty Europe”:

Britain’s top representative in Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, said his country would not participate in a tribunal or legal process that could lead to execution. . . .

Diego Ojeda, EU spokesman on external relations, wouldn’t comment specifically on Saddam, but said, “We believe there are no circumstances that can justify the death penalty.”

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who supported the U.S.-led war, also emphasized his country’s opposition to the death penalty. . . .

Of course, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had to relieve himself. He said that the world body (read thugsville) would not support bringing Saddam before a tribunal that might sentence him to death.

Then there is the Vatican’s Cardinal Renato Martino, who stressed the Roman Catholic Church’s longtime opposition to capital punishment. He said he felt “compassion” for Saddam, despite his crimes, after seeing images of “this destroyed man” being “treated like a cow, having his teeth checked” by an American military medic.

Martino must have had tears in his eyes when he said that.

How can we ever justify executing a man? Here one must be careful about the words used, for they can hide and mislead. We have to understand that an execution is the killing of a man or women — the taking of a human life, the most prized possession that any of us have. It is irrevocable, the end of all a person’s dreams, hopes, memories, accumulated wisdom, skills, and love. It is a human soul lost to eternity. Forever. How can we justify this killing?

First assume that the execution follows a fair trial with right of appeal, and that there can be no doubt about the guilt of the accused. That said, in contemporary debates over such executions, its justification is usually based on some utilitarian calculus. One argument is that such executions deter criminals and thereby save more lives, and then out come the rape and murder statistics for states that have executions compared to those that do not. Then there is the argument that the person executed, if for murder, will never kill again. Then out come the stories of escaped or early released murderers killing some family or another. Such a utilitarian approach is irrelevant to what is to me a moral question. Does a murderer of another human being deserve to die?

And this is the question that should be asked of Saddam Hussein. The answer is as Bush said above. To put it in my words: he is evil incarnate. Evil! How else can one characterize the ruler of a killing machine that wiped out perhaps a million human beings in democide alone, and is responsible for launching wars against Iran and Kuwait that may have cost a million more lives. He deserves the death he inflicted on so many others. It is unbelievable and morally outrageous that Europeans should oppose his execution. Would they have done the same for Hitler, if captured? If the answer is yes, it only shows their moral corruption.

Frankly, I go further on this. How about burying him up to his neck and then giving a representative of each group he slaughtered one swipe on his neck with a blunt bamboo saw. Now, that would be justice.

What? That would demean us, lower us to his level, be barbaric? We should forgive and forget? Ha! Tell that to the fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and husbands and wives of his victims.