The local news anchor said that “distressing” details had emerged about the execution of Saddam Hussein. Funny, I wasn’t distressed that people were rude to Saddam in his final moments. While I myself would behave like a female Lord Chesterfield at the execution of a mass murderer, I don’t begrudge the witnesses, who may have more first-hand knowledge of Mr. Hussein than I, a taunt or two.
Even Christopher Hitchens, usually so sane when it comes to Iraq, sheds some tears (as do the Palestinians and European intellectuals):
“The disgusting video of Saddam Hussein’s last moments on the planet is more than a reminder of the inescapable barbarity of capital punishment and of the intelligible and conventional reasons why it should always be opposed. The zoolike scenes in that dank, filthy shed (it seems that those attending were not even asked to turn off their cell phones or forbidden to use them to record souvenir film) were more like a lynching than an execution. At one point, one of the attending magistrates can be heard appealing for decency and calm, but otherwise the fact must be faced: In spite of his mad invective against ‘the Persians’ and other traitors, the only character with a rag of dignity in the whole scene is the father of all hangmen, Saddam Hussein himself.”
Puh-leeze. I do regret that Saddam, who never should have emerged from his hidey hole alive, was given what really amounted to a show trial. We had decided Saddam’s guilt or innocence when we risked lives and treasure to depose him. But it seems that litigation, even litigation for show, must now proceed every act. At least he is gone.