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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Rule of Law?

Saddam Hussein is dead. Hanged. It always felt like an inevitability to me; perhaps, to most. It’s hard to work up great emotion about his demise when the stench of ongoing war is overwhelming.

I listened to the news. I listened to the pundits opining about what it all means. And then…a talking head said this:

“The trial by the Iraqi government, the fair trial, proves that this government is committed to a rule by law, and not the despotism of a dictator.”

THWONG!!! A thought arrow pierces me smack dab in the forebrain. Was this trial and hanging truly a compelling display of the magnificence of a rule by law? It didn’t feel that way to me. If I break it down, a man guilty of countless murders is caught and hanged. Now, call me a simpleton if you will (you may be right), but wouldn’t the outcome have been the same under “frontier justice,” or the swift, merciless "justice" meted at the hand of a despot? C’mon. If I wished to demonstrate the importance and the justice of the rule of law, I’d point to some innocent man, wrongly accused, who faces trial and is found not guilty. I’d point to the personal liberties the rule of law protects.

A murderer is hanged at sunrise. We humans tend to be a vengeful lot, regardless of the varied means employed to achieve the same end.

I’d truly love to see a demonstration of the beauties of the rule of law in Iraq. I would dearly love to see the innocent protected; a society in which each individual is given the liberty and security to pursue dreams. I’d dearly love to see that everywhere in this wracked and wounded world.

A murderer hanged at sunrise? That's not it.

It's not even close.

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5 Comments:

Blogger t1ernd0g said...

Another pundit I heard said something like, "... (blah blah blah) rule by law, not rule by man". That made me think. It hurt.

Sat Dec 30, 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger roadsofstone said...

I'm one of the majority in this country (UK) in being strongly opposed to the death penalty, whatever the crime and whoever the person.

You only have to look at the 'justice' meted out in the 1970s and 1980s to a whole string of IRA bombers (most of whom weren't bombers, or at least not the right bombers) to know that too many awful mistakes can result.

In this case, there is no doubt about identity. But my view is that a justice system which condones the taking of a life for a life is not really a justice system at all. It's just an instrument of vengeance, and that's not at all the same thing.

Tue Jan 02, 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I share your views, Roads. Sister Helen Prejean's Dead Man Walking examined capital punishment from a wide range of perspectives. It truly serves no moral purpose, while perpetuating retribution and vengeance.

Tue Jan 02, 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Sunny Delight said...

You have articulated so well the thoughts my own feeble brain was unable to, my own utterances as I listened to and read the news more closely resembled "what a load of bs!"

Wed Jan 17, 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

There's much to commend your concise summary, Ms. Delight.

Wed Jan 17, 08:36:00 PM  

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