Rough injustice and Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein is a very bad man, let’s address that chestnut right off. Bad man, did terrible things, no small trifle. Although, and it’s only a slight clarification, Saddam was our bad man, following America’s lead, doing our bidding, buying his weapons and chemicals from us, etc. It doesn’t excuse him, nor us.

Is the US within its rights to execute Saddam Hussein? Is it in our purview to pull a Judge Roy Bean, contrive a legal device, contravene Iraqi law against capital punishment, and hang the bad man? Actually it is not. Not because we were complicit to Saddam’s crimes, but because the US is proposing to commit an altogether additional illegal act.

Although it would probably be the least of the injustices America will have committed in the Middle East, executing Saddam Hussein will be the most blatantly illegal. There are international conventions against victor’s justice, and many legal minds have already been weighing in and advising as much.

I’ll put it to you that with the 3,000th US soldier likely to die in Iraq before the end of the year, and Saddam Hussein’s hastily announced, thoroughly dishonorable execution, America will have in 2006 decisively sealed its rogue nation status. Brace yourselves, to the rest of mankind America’s lawlessness is public enemy number one. Reining us in will likely have to be extra judicial.

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