Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Ace of Spades, the Ace of Spades

saddam.JPGAh, just when you thought things could barely get any worse in Iraq, they give Saddam the death penalty. He is to be hanged for crimes against humanity.

Fuck me, it's sure to be mayhem over there in the coming days, isn't it? I mean, isn't it? Is this not a no-brainer?

Wife and I were talking about this over breakfast this morning, before they had passed the sentence, and we were saying how strange it is that Baghdad has become synonymous with all these terrible things over the past few years. Sure, Saddam was in power for 35 years, but we in our insulated cocoons knew little of what was going on. As children, we saw Baghdad as this wonderful, magical, exotic city of flying carpets and beautiful palaces. Now look at it. It's a great shame.

I don't know how I feel about Saddam being sentenced to death. I'm not really against the death penalty, truth be told, in cases where there is absolutely no question over someone's guilt of horrific crimes against people. That said, it's easier to feel that way in a country that doesn't use it. All I'm thinking right now is that it seems a barbaric thing to do, and death by hanging more so than lethal injection or firing squad, the latter being Saddam's preferred choice. In the meantime, of course, he's appealing. Well, wouldn't you?

Of course, I would add to this that the whole thing is bullshit. While Saddam has rightly been found guilty of heinous acts, the fact remains that this whole thing never would have happened if the US-led war had not gone ahead, which it shouldn't have on the reasons that were given. Nobody actually gave a fuck while he was killing people, and yet as soon as someone lied about WMDs, we were there like a shot. Ends justify the means? Maybe. But it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Anyway, whenever the death penalty is on the agenda, I find myself thinking of the following song.

"Let Him Dangle", Elvis Costello

Bentley said to Craig, "Let him have it, Chris."
They still don't know today just what he meant by this.
Craig fired the pistol, but he was too young to swing,
So the police took Bentley and the very next thing
Let him dangle.
Let him dangle.

Bentley had surrendered, he was under arrest,
When he gave Chris Craig that fatal request.
"Craig shot Sidney Miles, he took Bentley's word,"
The prosecution claimed as they charged them with murder.
Let him dangle.
Let him dangle.

They say Derek Bentley was easily led.
Well, what's that to the woman that Sidney Miles wed?
Though guilty was the verdict, and Craig had shot him dead,
The gallows were for Bentley, and still she never said,
"Let him dangle,
Let him dangle."

Well it's hard to imagine it's the times that have changed
When there's a murder in the kitchen that is brutal and strange.
If killing anybody is a terrible crime,
Why does this bloodthirsty chorus come round from time to time?
Let him dangle.

Not many people thought that Bentley would hang,
But the word never came, the phone never rang.
Outside Wandsworth Prison there was horror and hate
As the hangman shook Bentley's hand to calculate his weight.
Let him dangle.

From a welfare state to society murder,
"Bring back the noose" is all that is heard
Whenever those swine are under attack,
But it won't make you even,
It won't bring him back.

Let him dangle.
Let him dangle (string him up).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are those of course who would use Elvis Costello as a candidate for capital punishment.

05 November, 2006 11:30  
Blogger Karen said...

Considering the US's involvement in Iraq (including Hussein's capture/interrogation), I really was not expecting a different result. Regardless of whether the rest of the world thinks killing him is the "right" thing to do or not, it's bound to have far reaching consequences. It will surely mean that the problems in that area of the world will continue and therefore give Bush even more ammuninution (pun intended) in his "war".

05 November, 2006 15:05  
Blogger Gardenia said...

I think firing squad would be more appropriate since Hussein preferred that. Hanging, I've heard, is horrible. Often they don't die right away, they strangle slowly. News reports say that October was the most violent month ever in Iraq. I still don't see why several countries couldn't have gotten together, slipped in there and assissinated the fellow - much cleaner than shock and awe for the general population,eh?

One of the Christian "prophets" before the war started said that going in there would begin a blood bath. That one was right on.

Anyway, I'm wondering if this hanging thing is because it will be very visual and will send the "enemy" a certain message...(like hate Americans more?)

I'm with you - I think certain heinous crimes do deserve capital punishment.

05 November, 2006 17:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhgg, my head hurts. ELection coming up, political pop tossing everywhere. Does the timing of this announcement bother anyone else????

On a positive note, Elvis Costello is a fave!

05 November, 2006 17:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant to say poop tossing. Damn my quick fingers!!!

05 November, 2006 17:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truth be told, as a dictator of a dictatorship, Hussein wasn't doing anything wrong. Dictators are allowed to kill their citizens. We arrested him under false pretences and tried him under the wrong rules. I sure wouldn't have wanted to live under his regime, but his country should have risen against him, not us. Especially since we supported his dictatorship for years with money and weapons.

05 November, 2006 19:08  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

RD: Tres drôle, sir. I'm not a massive fan, myself, but I do like his album Spike and some of his old stuff.

Karen: Yes, I fear the timing of this news will likely play well for the Repubs at the midterms.

Diana: Those who support Saddam will certainly see this as yet another reason to hate the West. Scary times ahead.

Olives: Timing is everything, huh? Sure is.

Lee: Absolutely right, which is kind of what I was implying. Get in and get the guy, if you like, but do it for the right reasons at the right time, not when it suits your political agenda God knows how many years later.

05 November, 2006 19:33  
Blogger The_'Real'_Batman said...

I don't believe he should be executed. He ewas a violent megalomaniacial dictator, but he will then become a martyr and further martyr complex amongst the Sunnis, who will take it out on the Shias, who will take it out on the Sunnis etc etc...

Also, who did deals with him for poison gas in the 80s, who profited form oil-for-food scandals while children starved. The international community is complicit in this and killing him will not wipe the stains from our hands.

Was coming though. We had minsters predicting he would die; it was a conclusion from the outset. Not that he wasn't guilty; he was always going to be sentenced to death

05 November, 2006 20:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hanging seems so Old West Texas or something. It seems barbaric and uncivilized. Hmmm ironic that I just said a form of killing is uncivilized as compared to another means, no?
I agree though that his death sentence will only cause more havoc.

06 November, 2006 00:38  
Blogger Camie Vog said...

I suspect he gets a hanging because he REQUESTED a firing squad. Can't do what he wanted...

06 November, 2006 01:28  
Blogger ldbug said...

I think they still hung people into the '80s in Montana.

06 November, 2006 02:36  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Batman: Absolutely right. It's all fun and games until someone gets a poke in the eye, isn't it?

Angel: The same thoughts occurred to me, that hanging seems so barbaric. And yet, just the notion of capital punishment should logically be repellent to us all.

Camie: I'm sure that's a large part of it, too.

LDBug: That's insane, isn't it?!

06 November, 2006 11:05  
Anonymous Pie said...

Seems to me that it's almost like a testing ground for the US taking a more aggressive stance against undesirables. Kill the big boogey man and suddenly killing other criminals isn't such a biggy. Will be interesting to see US public opinion over this and future actions. Had a weird dream last week that the UK decided to slowly phase back in the death penalty...

06 November, 2006 11:32  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Weeelll...I didn't even think anyone should attack Afghanistan. Just send special ops in, catch OBL, nice and easy...and throw off the Taliban. But now the Taliban are selling herion to U.K. and America, to fund the fighting against yep, the U.K. and America. I was pissed at the Taliban YEARS before 9/11 when they destroyed the Buddhist temples.

The whole situation is assbackwards.

I suspect that Hussein has to be executed.

I don't know for sure, but I imagine it's because if he was kept alive in a prison, he would become a reason to kidnap business executives and journalists in the middle east...for bargaining to releasease him.

But I don't know, it's all fucked up beyond all recognition.

peace out.

06 November, 2006 14:13  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

There needs to be a death penalty. I'd volunteer to do it n all. However 'guilty beyond all reasonable doubt' is not enough. A Royal posthumous pardon means squat to the deceased if some'at goes pear shaped. Hindley, Brady, Nielson, Sutcliffe and co are the ones. 'Guilty as sin' but dunno what the law could call it. Guilty without doubt?. Sadam deserves what he gets but the way he's getting it is very wrong.

06 November, 2006 23:02  
Blogger apositivepessimist said...

over here they televised the celebrations that went on with the Iraqi immigrants upon hearing this news...the streets of Auburn [incidentally a place where I worked for many, many years] was awash with jubilant cheering...all I could think was damn I could go one of their kebabs when I spied a shop in the background...and ohhh there’s that bloke that we used to have to chuck out of the Club on many occasions.

07 November, 2006 05:53  

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