Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Notions of justice

It seems as if I have been given the writing assignment that I have craved for so long. I have been asked to comment on whether, given Saddam's execution, justice has been served in Iraq. In a private correspondence, Dr Cook asked that I keep my post Iraq-specific, and not get into a discussion of the death penalty. I have attempted to do this, but I feel the two issues, capital punishment and the execution of Saddam Hussein, are inextricably linked, and thus a discussion of one will inevitably turn into a discussion of the other. For certainly if ever there was a time that the death penalty was appropriate it would be for a conviction of crime against humanity. With this in consideration, I must state that I oppose the death penalty in all cases and in all forms, and thus, my answer is that justice has not been served. The death penalty cannot, nor will it ever, serve justice.

Yet this is not what the good Doctor intended from his prompt, and I did, after all, promise him a bit on Iraq. So I leave you with this, as obvious as it may be. The execution of Saddam Hussein is clearly a political move cleverly disguised as 'justice' for Iraq's oppressed. Bush-backed Nouri al-Maliki has done nothing to curb sectarian violence, and by some reports, has taken actions to encourage it. Saddam's execution should be seen through this lens. It was yet another way to incite Iraq's Shiite militias and enrage Saddam's Sunni supporters. Had Maliki been truly concerned with national unity, Saddam's fate could easily have been a bargaining chip to reel in Sunni insurgents. Instead it has been used to fuel the already burning sectarian fire.


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