I don’t really feel intellectually qualified to enter into a debate on all the arguments for and against capital punishment in a modern society, but I do know that I oppose it. Part of me actually feels naive for holding this viewpoint, but there it is. It seems to me morally reprehensible and hypocritical to murder one man as a punishment for the murder of others. It’s the revenge of the mob, not justice; it’s about satisfying people’s instinctive uncivilised need for a merciless and final act of retribution, not about holding onto moral certainties. I realise that this practice is legal in some US states, and I also realise that Iraq is a different culture with its own values and laws, but that doesn’t stop me from finding it abhorrent.
What really brought this home to me was watching footage of Saddam Hussein on the news yesterday evening and realising that this man who was at that second alive and well would soon be murdered in a planned, state sanctioned killing. Worse still, he would not be killed in a humane fashion but be hanged by the neck until dead. For the actions this dictator took and those he sanctioned he deserved punishment1 – to never see daylight again – but I don’t believe that he deserved to die, or that anyone had the right to kill him, or that his killing should be celebrated.
Rant over. I didn’t intend to post about this at all, but I found it more shocking than I expected and I want to record that fact.
1 He was, as Eddie Izzard would say, a mass-murdering fuckhead