Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Justice II

The reactions to the verdict in Saddam's trial are entirely along predictable lines. (Out of the box thinking is too much creativity to ask and also not quite "best practice"; would possibly even disqualify for DNV certification which is unthinkable in today's civilized, soulless and heartless Europe.)
The Left in the Netherlands have condemned the verdict. Their criticism is mainly directed at the Prime Minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende, who has supported it. Considerering he is facing elections on the 22nd of November this is once again another example of the man's moral courage.
Europe, by way of the Finnish chair, also has condemned the verdict on the grounds they are against the death penalty across the board (surprise!).
Catholic World News reports that the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has issued a statement deploring the death penalty. Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino said with regret that the sentence determined by an Iraqi court reflected the principle of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." Apparently the Cardinal has a bit of a history along the yesterday's posted lines of Willem Oltmans and George Galloway. The Vatican's Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, made no public comment on the decision.
In all these prominent statements and posturings for the prize of The Most Civilized, nobody seems to take into account the Iraqi context, the low violence threshold in that part of the world and - most of all - the suffering of Saddam's victims, which according to some estimates may number eight million people. This puts him on par with the Nazi leaders and those other mass murderers who escaped justice and universal moral condemnation, Joseph Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot and Mao.
Those victims' families - some of which have suffered multiple sacrifices - have been given life sentences by Saddam and his criminal henchmen of the Baath Party. How easy it is to take the moral high ground and pronounce sentence on the Court (by proxy, George Bush and his administration, which is the real background of all this indignation!!!) instead of blaming the actual perpetrators of the carnage.
It is however totally in line with the hypocrisy and demagoguery which has typified the Iraq discussion from the outset. It is my modest opinion however that history will not take kindly, once the balance is made up twenty odd years from today.

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