Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Gets a Necktie for Christmas

{This post represents a time when I was truly off my game. I'm so tired of Iraq and the repulsive stuff coming out of there, that I just had to go escaptist with it. Not one of my finer moments.}

One of the more ruthless bastards ever to slither out from under a desert rock, will not be joining us in 2007. I hope he didn't waste too much time working on his New Year's Resolutions. Yes, Saddam has left the building, although he did hang around for a while. He should have gotten some counseling because he obviously had quite a hang-up.

Okay, okay! Enough of the gallows humor. How did you react to your fellow humans putting a rope around a man's throat and dropping him to his death?

It reminded me of the weird response I had to child-killer Wesley Dodd's execution up in Washington. There is something very unsettling about the state taking a human life. I am philosophically opposed to capital punishment - it just feels wrong to kill someone no matter who it is. Plus, by hanging? It seems so barbaric and primitive like from the early days of the Wild West.

On the other hand, by the next day I realized that I did not miss Wesley. In fact, I really felt good that Wesley was gone. And it's even more so with the psychopath Saddam. Heck, I'm still celebrating that his sons are dead. I'm not saying Iraq was worth it - no way. But I do feel good knowing that Saddam is no longer breathing.

A secondary argument against capital punishment is usually made on the basis of human error - the classic problem of killing an innocent man. Do we really want the state having this power? I've been to the DMV and that was horrifying enough. Do we really want to concede this ability to a bureaucracy? Wouldn't we all want to live with the knowledge that you can get screwed over big-time by the government, but the worst case scenario is life in prison. At least the incompetent bastards can't execute you by mistake.

We don't have to sweat this argument with Saddam and we didn't have to worry about it with Wesley Dodd, either. Wesley openly discussed his willingness to kill children - how he kept crime scene pictures of them for later, because the photos aroused him sexually. If ever there was a person who needed to die it was Wesley Dodd. Sure, the night they hanged him up in Walla Walla was an ugly feeling, but I have to admit, the world is a better place without him, just as it feels better today knowing Saddam is gone.

Let's face it: The incompetence argument is a cop out. It's skirting the issue of whether or not the state has the right to kill an individual. However, there's a way to get closer to the heart of the matter.

Try comparing this to mercy killings. The debate has raged about doctor-assisted suicide and there's a similarity, but I'm jumping right to the reality of killing out of mercy. The easy position is to say we never take a life. Never. That's it, no exceptions. Unfortunately, in the real world, it sometimes becomes obvious that someone needs to die. We skirt around with the idea by saying we're just withholding treatment, but I bet mercy killings take place all the time. I bet so much medication is given that the body can't function and death occurs. We say we were only treating the pain, but the truth is the medical people were using medications to hasten a death. That's taking a life. You know it and I know it, and if we were in those wards at night when someone was in a pointless, prolonged agony, we would probably see this as the right thing to do. So killing someone can be humane. Weird, huh? You might not like it but it happens all the time.

Once you get there - to a place where you sort of understand mercy killings - you realize that there are times when a state takes a life. That's just reality. It's a very dangerous concept and I go back and forth on this, but I'll say that in the real world there are times when an execution is going to happen. It's just too obvious that it should. Wesley Dodd said he'd spend the rest of his life trying to escape so he could brutally kill more kids. Saddam? Well, Saddam was a poster child for capital punishment. Don't be fooled by the gentle-looking old man. This guy really was a monster. That doesn't mean we get a good feeling about watching him hang. There is obviously something hideous about snuffing a person out. But it is the next day and I sure don't miss having Saddam on the planet.

Of course, we don't want this to get out of hand - we don't want mass executions either. I mean that's one of the reasons we executed Saddam and there's the rub: Some guys are so brutal that we have to be brutal just to handle them. But how do you do that without crossing over to the dark side yourself? For example, are war crimes justified in response to war crimes? Hell, no. Having Saddam around is less scary than losing ourselves trying to kill him. That's what we might have done here.

Oh well, at least Saddam is gone. The planet is better off and we should be pleased about that. In a sense this was a mercy killing. We were showing mercy on ourselves.

So in conclusion, I'm going to stay in the anti-capital punishment camp. I realize some people need to go and if the other camp kills them, I won't have a problem with it. But hanging? Let's at least move on to something with a little less drama. We're a feel-good, high-tech society. If they have to go, make it peacefully with drugs. Hit them with a laser beam. The weirdest part of the Wesley Dodd execution was that they hanged him. Let's move on from that. We don't want to awaken the brutality that lies somewhere in us all.

If you have to do it, do it better with science. It would be worth it alone, just to get past the hanging jokes.


At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he ..and his sons were pretty naughty.

but I think
The crime he was executed for..

was DONE BEFORE Rumsfeld, et al... visited him and gave him 'toys'
and 'permission'
to attack Iran...
here we sit weeping for G.Ford... who took his orders from Kissinger, and the group... and allowed the 'snuffing' of 200k minimum in East Timor ...

yes there are still..
"ruthless bastards" all over .. ...running things...
like governments and religions..

eventually they all leave the planet..

in this case, as in most mobster cases.. the criminals were tying-up lose ends...

he maybe should have been in a witness protection program..

a World Court trial.. would have dragged-in some of our fearless leaders.. and that..made a trial and execution necessary in a controlled environment...

I enjoyed the bits about your Dad..

have a good NEXT year..


At 9:48 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Have a great 2007, TommyLee and thanks for your comments.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger ihihnck said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Jack Bog said...

I honestly thought they would behead him.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wanted say

I thought
"this is boring" ...going through your drawers... old ticket stubs... bus transfers...etc... London Tube tokens...

but this is the fantasy we all have.. we when we die... or when the new year comes...(maybe some cultures see these as the same?)

all of our loved ones gather 'round the fire and 'discover' all the little treasures in our top drawer...

he he

actually I think you COULD write your top movie script with this as a take off... can fake a few...things..

"oh look... Bill had a Medal of Freedom AND a Congressional Medal of Honor...



I always clean out my stuff at year-end...
with these similar thoughts..

I STILL have a BIRDS concert ticket stub.. my (ex) wife was pregnant with my daughter... we were NOT '8 miles high' then..
But Valerie turned out OK
...because of the MUSIC?

At Stonehenge..
SOMEDAY ... 3 feet down...
they will find a little leather bag with a few rabbit bones, a SMOOTH rock, a clam shell, and a little meteorite sample...


this WILL be a good year...

I wish for you
inspiration for a NEW concept.. or movie script... and its SALE!

BUT ......
for me...

I WANT YOU TO WEAR your TUX on the SLACKERS...SHOW... I'll donate $100 dollars if you do..
to your fav charity..

(yes yes might have to be altered ...(RENTAL?)..... )


if you put it on a hanger and show it...I'll donate anyway...
*I* wouldn't wear one for $100..



At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush and his neocon buddies should be right next to him!

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way the Iraqis could have screwed up the execution worse is to have had the idiots in Florida do it.

Saddam would still be alive, four days later.


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