[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Fri Oct 21 16:02:27 CDT 2011
Gaddafi slaying shows double standards over execution
1 video shows Muammar Gaddafi dragged, dazed and bleeding, off the back of a
pickup. Seconds later we see the Libyan despot extremely dead, apparently shot
in the head.
No trial, no martyrdom, no defiant last speeches, no loyalists fighting on in
Just click, bang. And you probably even cheered.
So isn't capital punishment useful?
Oops. I've offended against the conventional piety of this country, so peaceful
that moralists can afford to damn the execution of even the evil.
So I should say it's a shame the wishes of the Western governments dabbling in
Libya were not respected when Gaddafi was this week dragged out of a sewage
pipe (it's claimed) by the NATO-backed rebels overrunning his home town of
Yes, the rebels should have sent their old dictator off for trial in the
International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, for crimes against humanity.
There he could have spent the next few years awaiting victors' justice, and
preparing speeches of self-justification of the kind that Serbia's Slobodan
Milosevic delivered during his own trial until he died - probably from boredom
- after 4 years of waiting for a verdict.
Hmm. I wonder what the Muslim world would have made of that? Would it have seen
it as the imperial West just picking on a poor Muslim leader?
Well, we'll never know because the rebels on Thursday held a trial that lasted
as long as it took to fire a gun. Moving on.
I doubt even many progressives were outraged. Heard one complaint? And doesn't
this suggest that perhaps our opposition to capital punishment isn't as firm as
is often presumed?
In fact, Gaddafi's killing will be widely justified not only by his crimes -
the Lockerbie bombing alone sees to that - but by its usefulness.
There's nothing like a sudden, humiliating, unappealable execution of a monster
to take the wind out of his rampaging supporters. Demoralise them, and you may
save many lives.
This is so obvious that even the United States felt it more convenient to shoot
al-Qaida boss Osama bin Laden dead in his Pakistan hideout than to read him his
rights and drag him to court, despite the useful secrets he might have traded.
On the other hand, Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein, did get a trial after being
caught in December, 2003, but I suspect that might have been a mistake.
Over the next 3 years, Saddam's old Sunni supporters and al-Qaida operatives
waged a terrorist campaign against the "occupiers" and their Iraqi allies so
bloody that tens of thousands of civilians died.
Yet within months of Saddam's hanging, in December 2006, the heart went out of
I do not say there's a strong link. More important was that the US sent in more
troops, enlisted more Sunni tribes, and divided their enemies.
BUT would that insurrection have been defeated sooner had Saddam been given the
Gaddafi treatment, or hung, like Mussolini, from a lamppost?
But once we argue like this, judging executions by their utility, we must start
to question our own no-exceptions ban on capital punishment.
Why do we applaud the execution of Gaddafi, but denounce the idea of killing
the worst of our own mass murderers and psychopaths?
True, we may argue that we can keep our worst locked up so they'll never hurt
anyone else. We may argue that hanging a child killer probably won't stop the
next. We may also argue that executing a criminal also comes at a cost of being
But we're still weighing costs and benefits. And Gaddafi reminds us that
sometimes the scales do tip towards the bullet.
(source: Commentary, Andrew Bolt, Melbourne Herald Sun)
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