Photo of body of Saddam Hussein courtesy of Iraq state television
I woke this morning to the inevitable media blitz offering video of the hanging of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. After watching a video of the decapitation of American contractor Nick Berg last year, I have decided to take a sabbatical on snuff films, although my understanding is that the released video has the actual hanging edited out.
Give YouTube and The Smoking Gun a few hours; someone in the Iraq government will gladly sell the death scenes for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver.
Hussein reportedly clutched a Qu'ran and refused an offered hood as he quietly walked to the gallows in handcuffs, the symbolic end of a reign of state terror that saw thousands of Iraqis brutally murdered by official and paramilitary thugs.
I should note that I am no admirer of capital punishment in any form; I find the practice repugnant, barbaric, and more about vengeance and the state exercising terror muscles than a legitimate method of deterring crime. I hope to one day live in a world in which state-sanctioned murder is outlawed across the globe.
The killing of Saddam Hussein, unfortunately, will likely lead to a new wave of violence in Iraq. Moreover, many Muslims are going to be highly offended by the decision to hang Hussein during Eid al-Adha.
As I write this, I struggle to find anything positive in the hanging of Saddam Hussein, and the bloody year of 2006 closes with the especially gruesome image of a dead dictator.
May God have mercy on our souls.