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« Saddam Hussein's last moments: "I saw fear, he was afraid" | Main | Happy 2007 and all that jazz »

Sunday, December 31, 2006

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Mike

Well said, Rick.
Well said.

My thoughts? Mercy is a gift for all of us... or it is for none of us.

Leslie

It struck me as I read what you're saying, Rick, that Saddam's execution stands as a reminder of the importance of keeping a close handle on sin.

Back up history and imagine if the world had acknowledged the seriousness of what Saddam was doing when he was just getting started.

Smaller crimes, smaller consequences, more people alive.

We failed Saddam by trivializing his actions and lacking the imagination to see where it all would take him.

Earlier intervention would have been a gift to all, including Saddam. Trouble is the world now won't tolerate intervention until things have gone too far. What is mercy?

Tim C.

I think, as I ponder all of this, that there's a deeper story to the deeper story and it starts not with the clutched Koran but with what we're clutching as we attempt to seriously think through this event and it's aftermath.

That, my friend, may be one of the most profound paragraphs I've ever read on this blog. Thank you.

If that execution had occurred many moons ago, there would be many more Iraqis alive today. George H.W. Bush made a major mistake.

kylee

after watching the video,I am sickened you could see the fear in his face.I agree that he deserved to die but watching someone die i that way made me sad

Zossima
We failed Saddam by trivializing his actions and lacking the imagination to see where it all would take him.

We had precisely the imagination to see where it would take him. We sold him a lot of weapons. The US has a history of supporting repressive regimes when it is convenient.

I appreciate Rick's candor here. Nobody is saying the execution wasn't just. But it's not satisfying. I wonder if that has to do with the fact that Hussein's death really isn't justice for his victims?

Leslie

Hussein's death may or may not be justice in the ethereal sense, but the innocent Iraqis who survived his reign no longer need to live in fear of him. His death isn't satisfying to us because we didn't fear him in the first place.


Zossima
His death isn't satisfying to us because we didn't fear him in the first place.

I hadn't considered that, but I think it's true, Leslie. However, I don't think it explains why his death rings hollow for Rick and others.

What I was referring to is that his death doesn't bring back the dead. We feel compassion for the victims, and his death, while just, has not brought about restoration for the victims, which is a big part of God's justice.

Along those lines, I would argue that the great justice of WWII was not the downfall of Hitler and subsequent Nuremburg trials (which were just) but the restoration of a battered Europe via the Marshall Plan.

Rick

Zos et al,

I can't explain the sense felt so strongly after viewing the video either and confess to you (and all) that it's a most uneasy feeling.

I mentioned before that I felt wishy washy about capital punishment and am thinkng I'll be as wishy washy the more time passes. It seems that being gray on this black and white issue is a minority position.

Oh well... continue in your musings here folks... maybe something will stick with me here...

Leslie
What I was referring to is that his death doesn't bring back the dead.

I get that and I agree completely. I guess it's why the "mercy is for all or none" that is a close cousin to Chamberlain's "peace in our time" philosophy troubles me so much. If Hitler had been stopped sooner there would have been less of Europe to rebuild.

Justice would have been taking Saddam Hussein's crimes seriously in the '70s. It freaks me out that mass graves and gassed Kurds and all the rest aren't seen as enough of a reason to intervene.

I guess from that perspective I see public outcry for mercy and peace the way it plays out these days as ignoring the cries of the innocent, scared and oppressed.

J

Sadam is with the devil now. No human torment can compare. Death by hanging was far unjust for those who sufferd under his torment, but none can compare to that of which he faces now. Let our lives be better without him, and let us carry on into a better future.

Praise to God our Father, and to those who carried out his will. Amen.

tellurianna

I know he performed evil acts, devising torture methods and enjoyed watching them. He killed hundreds of thousands of innocents. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity, yet I am appalled by the lack of humanity shown towards him in the method of his death and the minutes leading to it. I think his death in this manner says equally important things about us.

I fear his 'martyrdom' (though no longer fear his ressurection), I fear increased resurgency, and I fear histories review.

I watched the video, not for a macabre reason, but I truly felt I had to be a witness. It affirms my rejection of capital punishment and my concern for the 'long term' future for peace/democracy/secularity.

I am happy to have my concerns met with respectful arguments as to where or how I may be wrong.

sincerely

t.

Leslie

I think his death in this manner says equally important things about us.

Which part of Iraq are you from?

Leslie

Zossima, that 3:22 post was directed to you. I hadn't seen Rick's post yet...Rick I get the greyness too. My lap just filled up with kids though so...bhgu76rvhgfcjti76.

:)

Tim C.

This is an old debate, and we won't resolve it here.

Public outcry for mercy, in terms of a reprieve from hanging, is a mute point now; Saddam is dead, and the debate won't bring him back.

I will, however, pray that God have mercy on him, as I hope that God will have mercy on me, a sinner.

Leslie

Whew! I just wanted to join you in the grey, Rick, thinking that it's a lesser of two evils. There's both good and bad with both choices. Hopefully the action of choice is the one with more good.

Have you read CS Lewis's The Great Divorce? A pretty interesting look at the separation between good & evil here on Earth.

Tristan

Watching the news and hearing people talk, why is it that everyone thinks that the U.S did this? We turned him over to the people he caused the most harm to. This was not our doing, (although I would of loved to be the person to pull the handle). It is nice to see comments from people who honestly believe that the right thing has been done.
When did out country get so caught up in Liberalism that we have all sense or real? I hear "no it's not right for Saddam to be killed, it's in humane." What? People say jails don't work . . . how many kids can a child molester rape, if he's behind bars? The answer to this . . .zero. Why is it that our prisoners who have tortured our AMERICAN soldiers need proper meals every day and baths and a chance to pray? What chances did they give our men? None. It's time that America stands up for what's right instead of what gives Liberals a warm fuzzy feeling in their middle knowing that as their sitting around the campfire singing Kum Bi Yah.

Tim C.

Tristan, if you think that turning the other cheek gives a person a warm fuzzy feeling in their stomach, I suggest that you try it a few times and you'll discover it ain't the case.

For the real story of those who obeyed Jesus to the point of losing their lives without responding violently, look here and here.
Trust me - you won't read about to many warm fuzzies and kumbaya singers.

Kevin

Reading some of these postings, sparked me up!

Saddam killed the innocent with great pleasure and smiles. It made him feel as if he where a god. Killing and torcher; his hobbies and his sport. Many times it was random and always without regret or remorse. To kill the one he was after, he would kill thousands.... a shot-gun method that may have missed many times. Family, friends and allies died, nobody was safe. I am not sad at all by his hanging.

How many of you eat meat, and go to the slaughter house to watch a cow bleed to death? Eat chicken and watch the blade of a cleaver cut off its neck in the packing plant? It is sad? Yes. Poor creatures don't deserve to die to be stuffed into our bellies. After watching Saddam's hanging and you feel sad for Saddam (the butcher of Baghdad) the you should become a vegetarian forever. But, for those who have to feel righteous, morn for him. That is truly sad. For me, time to roast a chicken...yum!

I have also heard that Saddam did not get a FAIR TRAIL? The fact that he got one at all is fair enough for me. Hum....maybe he was innocent. Wow, we killed thousands of Iraqs, bomb Iraq into poverty, thousands of our military dead or maimed for life, spent billions just so we could capture an innocent man?

BTW. When I hear "Killing him will not bring them back", IS the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Email me if some does find a way to bring the dead back to life. Duh....FYI Execution is the final punishment and consequence for murder. Hello!

Leslie

But then Tim how does the difference in today's moral compass compared to that of the 16th century factor in? Sin, the devil and the human ability to hand oneself over to them were commonly accepted. Now all that is gone and I'm afraid there is a bit of Kumbaya being sung every now and again. It's hard to know what to do with that.

I don't know. When I hear you bringing up the importance of turning the other cheek in the context of the Iraqi people being psychologically liberated from the potential of Saddam returning...it sounds like you're saying it is the people's duty to accept their fate, whatever that may be.

I just can't make sense of it. Should the woman stay with her husband and turn the other cheek? No. She should leave peacefully. But what if it's not her husband, instead the borders are closed and her abusive dictator won't let her go? Then we watch while she dies peacefully.

From what I see it's a pacifistic conundrum because the violence continues for one or the other until death either ends it for the victim or the perpetrator. So then the question becomes which is less worse -- violence toward the innocent or the guilty?

From what I see, society seems to favour violating the innocent and I can't understand that at all.

Mark Steyn said this:

Whatever one's views on capital punishment, that's not what it's about. Hardcore dictatorships have to be not just politically but psychologically liberated. When one man is so murderously powerful, incarceration cannot suffice - because as long as he lives there will always be the possibility that he will return. After all, we're talking about someone who by definition has never been bound by any of the other restraints - personal, moral, religious, constitutional: why should a court sentence prove any more effective? When a dictator has exercised the total control over his subjects that Saddam did, his hold on them can only end with his death.

Saddam wanted to have that hold over everyone. He set himself up so that even in his absence as long as he was alive the people would fear him. He forced the hand of death by pursuing power to that gross degree and if Iraqis were ever going to feel free, after an entire generation of abuse, Saddam would have to be more than just absent.

I've gone on and on here and don't intend to sound antagonizing, but the way pacifism, in the form of a hard and fast collective ideology, condemns some to a life of torment flabbergasts me.

Where I end off at, is I have to be missing something, for you, who are compassionate, have thought this philosophy through.

Mark

Whether late or not, the death of Saddam stands as an example to those who choose to follow in his footsteps.
Throughout The history of israel God meted out judgement (death) on those who desired to destroy the good of the whole.
There will never be peace in Iraq, but at least now, there is one less butcherer in the world.
Death by hanging was actually a very mild ancd merciful way of ending Saddam's life in comparison to the methods of death and destruction he chose to end lives.
I, as a christian, believe in the death penalty, not only for murderers, but for rapists and child molesters.
Forgiveness from God has to do with where your soul will end up in the afterlife. Forgiveness from God does not negate having to pay an earthly penalty for things done to others in this life.
If this were the case, no one would be in jail, All those who have been convicted of a crime would just say that God had forgiven them of that crime.
Remember that the bible declares that when you go before the judge, and you have refused to change your ways before you were brought before him/her, you will pay every farthing.
We all have a chance and choice to change our ways both before we come before a worldly judge, and the judge of judges.
Saddam had plenty of time to change his ways before he was stopped.
I am for the death penalty, which is really just ending ones sojourn here, for those who choose to committ acts of atrocity against mankind.
It is always sad to see one face the untimite punishment from society and to see the potential of someone's life go down the drain because of their own decisions, but it is more frustrating to hear of rapists, pedophiles, and murderers being given another opportunity to destroy another's life because of missplaced mercy.
It is more merciful to end a life like Saddam's than it would have been to allow him to continue on.
Repentance or a change of heart is between him and God, but society has a responsibility to stop him, at whatever cost.
Just my opinion.
Mark

Tim C.

Leslie, I was not in my comment trying to advance a pacifistic argument (I know better than to think I can change any minds here!). Nor would I presume to question the integrity of those who hold the majority position here. I do however resent the implication in Tristan's post that those who are questioning the execution of Saddam are doing so because they want warm fuzzies while they sing Kumbayah around the campfire. Tristan seems to think that those who advocate love for enemies (as Jesus did) are not acquainted with the harsh realities of life. My references to the Martyrs' Mirror were simply trying to counter that false assertion.

Leslie

I was merely laying out my deep concerns with the philosophy itself. In my wanderings, no one's ever offered up an answer to them. An answer would change my mind in a heartbeat, but I just can't guess what it would be.

Tim C.

Leslie, I think my answer would be along these lines.

T.

Leslie

Lots of interesting things there, each of the 5 points being many conversations of their own. I'm not sure I see just war being in itself good rather than the lesser of two evils, but philosophy aside, I can't figure out what the answer is for the person in the concentration camp, or in Darfur etc when I tell them that their terror must continue because I don't believe in killing, period.

Anyway, a stubborn Lutheran, I. I promise not to badger you about this for all of 2007. Happy New Year, Tim.

Tim C.

And to you, Leslie. Hope to see you in Edmonton at some point during the year???

Oh, and Rick - once again, thanks for a good forum where we can have these sorts of conversations...

Scott

He was a piece of shit and he died too fast. They should have cut his nuts off and let the rats eat him.

DJ

As a working in a prison in a state with capital punishment laws, I think it is important to remember that, in some cases it may be hard to endorse the capital punishment unless you or a family member is the victim. Who are we to criticize those support capital punishment when it is not us who has taken the loss. Yes we need to empathize with those who are involve and the families, but we have not felt the loss and or traumatic experience that they have. As a human, if you are willing to take the ultimate sacrifice of putting your life on the line to commit a crime that is punishable by death, then you have made the choice and accepted death. Once again, who are we do criticise that choice.

I say its a fake

Laura

It is about time... No one deserves this more than he does. My only regret is that he did not die a slow and painful death. Which is what his victims where dealt. They should have allowed the victims families to decide his faith. My heart goes out to every family that this evil bastard has traumatized. I hope this relieves some of your pain.

k. matern

After watching the video and reading the comments that others have left,I want to say that I dont disagree that he was a horrible person who took many lives,but was this really justice,really an execution?At this point it seem to be more of a freak show,a glorified murder,a sort of revenge.What is wrong with the world?I know he should have been executed,but people are so numb to death and violence that they can watch this and enjoy it,its a sad world.

Kent Burris

Regarding Saddam's Execution, and all executions for that matter: I have heard people scream out the passage from the Bible, "An eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life"! These laws were true in the days of Moses, or during the time there was no mercy for braking these laws. One man was executed for picking up sticks on the Sabbath.
Today, we live under a time period of mercy. Jesus has made this reference to mercy many times. There will be a day we all will face Judgment, today is not that day! Is execution right? If it is wrong, all persons involved will one day face God for judgment regarding this matter. There were many sections of the law that required execution! Today, do we execute went one is found in adultery? Do we execute a man for not keeping the sabbath? Do we execute a Doctor for performing an abortion? The United States says that Church and State is separated! Is It? All our laws, no killing, no stealing, and so on, all came from God delivered to Moses! If a man killed one of my kids, my first reaction would be to take his life in return! Is this Justice or revenge? I really think Saddam had mental problems. We he did to people was so far from normal. Was he insane? I think the US Courts would have found him insane! No matter what, I would hate to be a world leader in our time! Your damned if you do, and your damned if you don't! KB

Leslie

KB: I really think Saddam had mental problems.

Tim, I don't know if you're still reading this thread, but this where I was going with the Kumbaya bit earlier. Completely different paradigm faced by the martyrs of the 16th century. People are now thought of as in essence good, which means someone committing evil must be ill. No more sin.

Huge implications for the answer to the question what is justice and what is mercy. Saddam is no longer a free agent making choices, he's a victim of illness...or something. Mercy then takes the form of casting a blind eye out of pity for the victim.

Preshia

I have often told my children when steering them toward being safe, doing the right thing, and getting them to somehow comprehend the wisdom of my years..."I told you so’s” will not make me feel better, especially if you're dead."

Being right isn't the goal...having my words heard are. God knows mistakes will happen, but the big ones often can be avoided. An odd thing to say perhaps, but the point of the message is that if I tell you that playing on a busy highway will increase your chances of getting killed by 1000 percent, you do it and die, there's no victory for either one.

I won't stand peacefully over a grave justified that I was right. I will mourn that fact. My point is we are free will agents. Saddam was a free will agent whose end was foreseeable if not justified. Still as I watched his end, I felt a certain sadness as if God himself grieved, justified to remind him that an end such as this was inevitable, but who silently now grieves in the knowledge.

There was no victory, not really, not this way. Yes, I watched the video, and yes, I felt compassion and loss. I wanted to offer up forgiveness, yet nothing personally had been done against me. I felt sorry for the universe, those who had been brutally tortured and put to death by his hand, and yet I still wanted to somehow save this murderer.

I realize forgiveness and condoning are two separate issues. I don't condone Saddam's life or actions. If he had killed my son or daughter, maybe I would feel justified, at least immediately, to do the same to him. But being right doesn't always make one feel better or make things right. Justice, not revenge is the key, and I’m not sure that justice was the end result.

I agree there should have been consequences and some sort of retribution, but it tugs on the human heart to see a life perish without a chance. Murder for murder was the message in the video, and I didn't want to dance or sing or buy a few rounds at the local tavern to celebrate. I just wanted to erase the look of a dying man from my memory as I reminded myself that this wasn't a Hollywood movie but real life, or death as the case was.

It put a soul in torment to watch a life expire when life is what we cling to and our military sacrifice so much to protect. So now more than ever I realize the gift of mercy is under appreciated.

When we fall and fail, free to make our own mistakes, God's lessons may repeat but won't repel. “I told you so's” can be easily said but hold a shallow reward. Watching someone's life end reminded me just how frail saints and sinners truly are at life's end and that that end is a solitary journey for all.

I feel conflicted and small and maybe even compassionate, ready for the justice not revenge, and in this somewhat pathetic moment sorry for Saddam and the frailty of humanity.

As I hear my own voice remind me, "if you watch the video you may regret it" I refrain from the guilt and thank God that I've lessons still to learn, with or without the telling.

Robert

After reading some of the comments on here about "The Butchers" execution I am assured of the natural balance on earth between the wolves and the sheep. In my very humble opinion this is not a question of right or wrong, good or evil, but of progress and natural selection. It is up to us wolves to eliminate those whom impied progression or otherwise polute the gene pool. And it is up to the sheep to cry when it is done. This principle is clear in my mind. what is not clear is why the sheep think the way they do. Do they not understand that there train of thought is exactly why people like Saddam achieve thier sinister goals. I am not religious and believe that as a human you must earn your right to existance somewhat like a balance sheet. Things like: helping others, giving to the poor, contributing to society in a positive way, being moral, ect...... are credits. Things like; raping, killing (other than self defense or ridding society of the in debit souls), torture, ect......are debits. When your debits are greater then your credits, you are not worthy of existance, period. It is a very simplistic way of explaining my idea but accurate. Mercy and forgiveness are words that the sheep love to use but do no service to man kind or society. The implimenting of those two words is a weakness and only further degrades our efforts to become a more peaceful planet. In the grand view of things Saddam is just another name, a page in history now. His line has been eliminated we need not worry about his influence any longer-this was the goal behind his execution and for that matter for all others who have been executed or are on death row. These dondemned men had the choice in thier lives to keep a credit heavy or debit heavy balance sheet and they chose debit. THis is a decision that we all have and might I be so bold as to assume that the consequences are what keep most of us in the black.
Some of you have expressed sarrow or disgust after seeing the execution of this waste of oxygen. I see this two ways-surely you would not feel happy or joyful after seeing a man any man lose his life by any method (what did you expect)-if you had family members that had been killed by this debit heavy soul, would you still be forgiving, or would you be fighting to be the one that pulled the lever.
It is unfortunate that the sheep forget about the countless humans that had to die just for them to be able to express the opinions that they have here. And also very interesting that those same opinions would have certainly netted them the same consequences that Saddam suffered had they been living in Iraq during his reign of terror. Enjoying our freedom of speech is a wonderful prevledge but not without cost. We must listen to the sheep because they have a right to cry and we must continue to eliminate those like Saddam whos very existance threaten our way of life. Think about it sheep if you are not willing to pull the plug on people like Saddam---Than shut the hell up----let us us wolves secure your rights for you.

Kent Burris

Follow up on my comment "Saddam is mentally ill". A person who follows deep dark sins to satisfy the desires of their flesh willfully brings on a self inflicted mental illness. Saddam thrived on watching video's over and over again of people he had executed. There has been testimony of him laughing at these videos, mocking those souls he cut from life. Do we justify sin because of mental illness? No way!!! When we face God in the day of Judgment, there will be no excuse as to any forms of sins we take to our death with an un-repented heart. No matter how bad we may or may not feel about the look on Saddam's face as he had the rope put around his neck, his eternal fate is in Gods hands. There is only one unforgivable sin in the eyes of God, but there are a multitude of unforgivable sins in the eyes of man! Personally, I would not want to be Saddam facing God in the day of Judgment.

Leslie

And isn't it good God can perfectly deal with those situations in ways more creative than our finite minds can handle?

DON L.

justice, mercy, kumbayah, the only thought process no one ever speaks of are punishment befitting the crime(s). the world is a fascinating, lovely, harsh, dangerous, place with good and evil in a constant struggle for dominance. i for one am satisfied that saddam's sphere of influence is now benign, yes more evil to follow but also good to temper the blows, but if the next time i here of someone whining about how adverse to capital punishment they are i would be amused by how they think that in lawless areas of the world their kindly punishments would have a better impact on evil.

Nick

I really appreciate the President Bush for taking the following steps to secure america & the World,God Bless our President

andy

there is only 1 george bush in the world,let him be the brave president,keep up the good work george.

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