Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sadness and Sadam: I hated the hanging of Hussein. Of course like everyone else I berated myself for feeling a note of uneasiness as they slipped the knot around his neck. I suppose I am uneasy about capital punishment. I personally could not slip the knot, inject the needle, drop the cyanide or do anything else whereby I could perform an execution. I leave that neatly to others. More than even the capital punishment question, though, is to me the more disturbing fact of the numerous overt acts of jubilation upon Hussein's death.

I cannot think of one human being that was more deserving of execution than Adolph Eichmann. However, when it was done I do not recall crowds in the street jumping up and down for joy at even his execution. To me it is because the whole endeavor, the whole rationale behind his execution was so sad and so horrific to the civilized mind that killing him did not produce joy. It produced sadness.

I felt similarly about Hussein. He perhaps was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not a million people and not just the few thousand he was charged with crimes against humanity about. His crimes against humanity were much larger. The whole episode from Hussein's crimes, to his invasions, to his war with Iran, to the two US responses have been hugely gruesome to many many innocents. So it is not joy that I feel at his execution but sadness that our human species is still after millions of years of evolution capable of this kind of brutality. One more man, Hussein, himself was yet another victim in the saga of slaughter. To me there should be no joy in Mudville but a profound and utter sadness that there still exists today men who act as beasts.

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