Saddam Hussein is scheduled to hang. I heard the verdict and my head hurt; my heart was pained. I pondered the situation and the sadness, as did the man himself.
Former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein speaks of his life and of his probable passing in a letter written more than a month ago. The text is presented below. I acknowledge that Saddam Hussein did much harm to his people; however, I cannot ignore that he too is human.
Admittedly, there is much evidence. The former Iraqi leader did not respect the human rights of others. Nevertheless, can we justify our intent to cruelly kill this tragic tyrant? Are we able to excuse execution of any being? Apparently, the human race is infinitely capable of defending what it does; it has for centuries. I invite each of us to contemplate what we continue to do, kill in the name of righteousness.
I begin this treatise with the writing of another, Saddam Hussein.
Saddam letter: Key excerpts
Saddam Hussein wrote the letter on the day he was sentenced
A letter, written on 5 November by Saddam Hussein has been released by the former Iraqi leader’s lawyers. Here are some key excerpts . . .
In the past, I was, as you all know, in the battlefield of jihad and struggle.
God, exalted by He, wished that I face the same again in the same manner and the same spirit in which we were before the revolution but with a problem that is greater and harsher.
Oh beloved, this harsh situation, which we and our great Iraq are facing, is a new lesson and a new trial for the people by which to be judged, each depending on their intention, so that it becomes an identifier before God and the people in the present and after our current situation becomes a glorious history.
It is, above all, the foundation upon which the success of the future phases of history can be built.
In this situation and in no other, the veritable are the honest and faithful and the opposing are the false.
When the insignificant people use the power given to them by the foreigners to oppress their own people, they are but worthless and lowly. In our country, only good must result from what we are experiencing.
To the great nation, to the people of our country, and humanity: Many of you have known the writer of this letter to be faithful, honest, caring for others, wise, of sound judgement, just, decisive, careful with the wealth of the people and the state… and that his heart is big enough to embrace all without discrimination.
His heart aches for the poor and he does not rest until he helps in improving their condition and attends to their needs.
His heart contains all his people and his nation, and he craves to be honest and faithful without differentiating between his people except on the basis of their efforts, efficiency, and patriotism.
Here I am speaking today in your name and for your eyes and the eyes of our nation and the eyes of the just, the people of the truth, wherever their banner is hoisted.
You have known your brother and leader very well and he never bowed to the despots and, in accordance with the wishes of those who loved him, remained a sword and a banner.
This is how you want your brother, son or leader to be… and those who will lead you (in the future) should have the same qualifications.
Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if He wants, He will send it to heaven with the martyrs, or, He will postpone that… so let us be patient and depend on Him against the unjust nations.
In spite of all the difficulties and the storms which we and Iraq had to face, before and after the revolution, God the Almighty did not want death for Saddam Hussein.
But if He wants it this time, it (Saddam’s life) is His creation. He created it and He protected it until now.
Thus, by its martyrdom, He will be bringing glory to a faithful soul, for there were souls that were younger than Saddam Hussein that had departed and had taken this path before him. If He wants it martyred, we thank Him and offer Him gratitude, before and after.
The enemies of your country, the invaders and the Persians, found that your unity stands as a barrier between them and your enslavement.
They planted and grounded their hateful old and new wedge between you.
The strangers who are carrying the Iraqi citizenship, whose hearts are empty or filled with the hatred that was planted in them by Iran, responded to it, but how wrong they were to think that they could divide the noble among our people, weaken your determination, and fill the hearts of the sons of the nation with hatred against each other, instead of against their true enemies that will lead them in one direction to fight under the banner of God is great: The great flag of the people and the nation.
Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly co-existence…
I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking and keeps away one from balanced thinking and making the right choice …
I also call on you not to hate the peoples of the other countries that attacked us and differentiate between the decision-makers and peoples…
Anyone who repents – whether in Iraq or abroad – you must forgive him…
You should know that among the aggressors, there are people who support your struggle against the invaders, and some of them volunteered for the legal defence of prisoners, including Saddam Hussein…
Some of these people wept profusely when they said goodbye to me…
Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any faithful, honest believer… God is Great… God is great… Long live our nation… Long live our great struggling people…
Long live Iraq, long live Iraq… Long live Palestine… Long live jihad and the mujahideen.
President and Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Mujahid Armed Forces
I have written this letter because the lawyers told me that the so-called criminal court – established and named by the invaders – will allow the so-called defendants the chance for a last word.
But that court and its chief judge did not give us the chance to say a word, and issued its verdict without explanation and read out the sentence – dictated by the invaders – without presenting the evidence.
I wanted the people to know this.
People may choose to understand or they may reject what they refuse to believe. Here is a man, a fellow human, facing his own mortality. Individuals defend the decision to put this man to death. They assert he is not human. He is merely evil, the enemy, and must be executed.
Persons such as the self-professed Christian leader of a supposed secular country, President George W. Bush thinks the sentence is just. Iraqi courts ruled the former Middle Eastern leader quilt of crimes against his people. Hussein was convicted; they say he killed 148 people. Perhaps he did, or persons working for the dictator did the deeds. Those in authority rarely carry out the dirty work.
As the arrangements are made, attorneys for the condemned are scurrying.
Hussein is ‘a prisoner of war,’ says chief lawyer
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein’s chief lawyer implored world leaders Thursday to prevent the United States from handing over the ousted leader to Iraqi authorities for execution, saying he deserves protection as a “prisoner of war.”
Iraq’s highest court on Tuesday rejected Saddam’s appeal against his conviction and death sentence for the killing of 148 Shiites in the northern city of Dujail in 1982. The court said the former president should be hanged within 30 days.
“According to the international conventions it is forbidden to hand a prisoner of war to his adversary,” Saddam’s lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, said in Amman, Jordan.
“I urge all the international and legal organizations, the United Nations secretary general, the Arab League and all the leaders of the world to rapidly prevent the American administration from handing the president to the Iraqi authorities,” he told The Associated Press.
The death penalty has never made sense to me. I have tried and tried to understand; yet, I never have. As a child we are taught to honor the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Quotes from the Bible are offered, “Turn the other check.” Of course, that pronouncement is quickly followed with the retort, “An eye for an eye . . .”
The Ten Commandments no matter which translation you choose state, “Thou shall not kill.” No religion sanctions the silliness. Only zealots endorse the option. Interpretations of text are interesting to say the least. Fortunately, today there is a religious voice that rejects the prospect.
Renato Cardinal Martino, Pope Benedict’s top prelate for justice issues and a former Vatican envoy to the UN, condemned the death sentence in a newspaper interview published Thursday, saying capital punishment goes against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Still, there are those that think killing one wo/man for killing another wo/man makes sense. I am fascinated by pro-lifers, anti-abortion fanatics, those that forcefully attack clinics, their physicians, and patients, all in the name of preserving life. These activists say they love their fellow man as they advocate murder.
BOSTON — In Norfolk outside the jail where John C. Salvi III was being held for the murder of two women, a pro-Salvi rally was going on. There was applause for the fatal assault on the Brookline, Mass., clinics where abortions are performed. There was talk of “justifiable homicide” and talk of “war.”
The Rev. Donald Spitz of Pro-Life Virginia bellowed into a megaphone aimed at the prisoner’s cell: “John Salvi, we care about you. We love you. We support you.” He called the murders “a righteous deed.”
Often emotions govern what we do. We kill and then justify the reasons why.
People ponder possibilities. Humans value their own lives. thus, they honor all life, except when they do not.
Money is a motivator. Many a conflict commenced with dollars as the “root cause. Dear reader, you might recall, cash was considered grounds for this protracted Middle Eastern conflict. Some say oil and the financial gain we in the States might reap were reason enough.
Insiders told Newsnight that planning began “within weeks” of Bush’s first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.
An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington, and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d’etat.
Mr. Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.
Secret sell-off plan
The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq’s oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq’s oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.
Former Shell Oil USA chief stalled plans to privatise Iraq’s oil industry
The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Fadhil Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel.
Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.
Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan’s “back-channel” to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq’s oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.
“Insurgents used this, saying, ‘Look, you’re losing your country, you’re losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,'” said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.
“We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming.”
Privatisation blocked by industry
Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq’s oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.
Our President claims we must save the oil fields; they might fall into enemy hands.
At the naval base, Bush declared, ”We will not rest until victory is America’s and our freedom is secure” from Al Qaeda and its forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab alZarqawi.
”If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks,” Bush said. ”They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition.”.
Others offer a different view. George w. Bush bellowed his rationale in 2002, prior to the falling of the first American bombs.
if the United Nations fails to adopt a tough resolution, then the “United States will lead a coalition” and confront Iraq and force it to disarm outside of any new U.N. mandate.
Bush was speaking in Houston at a fund-raiser for Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Phil Gramm.
Houston is the adopted hometown of the president’s father, former President Bush, and in discussing the threat posed by Saddam, the current president offered his staple list of complaints about Iraq’s defiance of the United Nations and his contention that Iraq is working aggressively on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. “This is a man who continually lies,” Bush said.
He said the Iraqi leader’s “hatred” was largely directed at the United States and added: “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”
I sigh and say, we may never know all of the reasons for this war or that. I do comprehend to my core, I certainly cannot understand the rationale for killing. I acknowledge that we continue to do as was done. We have for centuries. It seems obvious, slaughtering one man does not lessen our loss. Little if anything is gained by the spilling of blood. I ask each of us to assess how many more maimings and murders will it take before we realize that killing offers no cure. Hangings do not bring resolution, though they may provoke a revolution. Death does not promote peace. The loss of one will not compensate for the loss of others.
As I breathe deeply I wonder why; why would we wish to harm another in the name of justice. I invite you to share your opinions.
The hanging of a human, Saddam Hussein . . .
Saddam Hussein Sentenced to Death by Hanging. Google Video.
Saddam letter: Key excerpts. BBC News. December 28, 2006
Death Penalty Information Center.
Saddam’s Death To Be Videotaped, CBS News: Final Moments Will Be Recorded, Could Happen By End Of Month. CBS News. December 28, 2006
Bush’s support for death penalty opens rift with UK, By Anne Penketh. Independent News December 28, 2006
Saddam Hussein: crimes and human rights abuses. A report on the human cost of Saddam’s Policies. By the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. November 2002
Brookings Scholar Scores Saddam Hussein’s Human Rights Record War more justified than ever. By David Anthony Denny. Free Republic. March 14, 2003
The Line Between Persuasion and Terror, By Ellen Goodman. The Boston Globe Newspaper. Friday, January 6, 1995; Page A21
The Ten Commandments By B.A. Robinson. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Bush calls Saddam ‘the guy who tried to kill my dad’. From John King. Cable News Network. Friday, September 27, 2002
Bush gives new reason for Iraq war. Says US must prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists, By Jennifer Loven. Associated Press. Boston Globe. August 31, 2005
Secret US plans for Iraq’s oil, By Greg Palast. Newsnight. BBC News March 17, 2005