THE WAR AND THE EXECUTION - IRAQ
The classsical idea of a just war demands that aim is moral;
Classical scholars defined war as an ethically appropriate use of mass political violence. Many credit Augustine with the founding of just war theory but this is incomplete. As Johnson notes, in its origins just war theory is a synthesis of classical thought .Many would accredit to Aristotle, Cicero and Augustine this refined and redefined validation of war – The Just War Tradition- Many of the rules developed by the just war tradition have since been codified into contemporary international laws governing armed conflict, such as The United Nations Charter and The Hague and Geneva Conventions. The tradition has thus been doubly influential, dominating both moral and legal discourse surrounding war. It sets the tone, and the parameters, for the great debate.
Just war theory can be meaningfully divided into three parts, which in the literature are referred to, for the sake of convenience, in Latin. These parts are: 1) jus ad bellum, which concerns the justice of resorting to war in the first place; 2) jus in bello, which concerns the justice of conduct within war, after it has begun; and 3) jus post bellum, which concerns the justice of peace agreements and the termination phase of war.
That the likelyhood of success is positive, that the means are proportionate towards that end.
The invasion of Iraq fails on each of these tenets. An outraged US President desperately seeking a perpetrator for the attacks on the Twin Towers declared it. When an obvious target in the form of an obvious aggressor could not be found, the State of Terror was invented, and later Iraq was dressed up to be the manifestation of that State. The US invaded without the mandate of the UN.
The Shock and awe strategy to bomb a city into submission prior to the land invasion was brutal, barbarous and yes murderous. It was indiscriminate and slaughtered thousands of civilians. It was on a scale of carnage and in equal ignominy to the bombing of Dresden in WW2 .
The leadership was topppled and the regeimen changed .The Americans used a con man (Chabli) to usurp / install a favourable leader. They succeed in installing a leadership as crass and fundamentalist as the one they deposed. The despot was tried in a courtroom where his protestations could be switched off and his remonstrations be screened off at the touch of a button by an unconcealed vengeful judge. He could have pleaded that the Anthrax which he used against the Kurds was supplied by the US, he might have referred to his former relations with Rumsfield, and the US support in his was against Iran but the charges against him were selective in that they had no material basis for US or UK collusion. These were Saddams own killings in revenge for the attempt on his life.
And so after a hearing which appeared at times like some slapstick judicial romp; a farce of truly theatrical proportions he was not surprisingly sentenced to die. He pleaded to be shot as a soldier (which he was not); this was denied
And so he was hanged by a taunting jeering mob as he prayed for the deliverance of Iraq from the Persians and their allies. And this was filmed on cell phone to give us the grisly reminder of the macabre horror of an18 century execution. I have watched this with some sense of, loathing revulsion and disgust.
These last recorded moments of Saddams life as recorded on this cell phone are chilling and one feels a voyeur for looking at it.
If in his last moments Saddam showed contrition, or remorse or asked forgiveness we can never know ;only a knowing God can know and adjudicate. But what can one say of his executioners – if they believed in a hell need they have taunted and goaded him – he was in their urgings going there anyway but and if they believed in deliverance through a Devine mercy by any deity ; Allah ; God – any supreme being – how could they torment him even as the trapdoor opened.
Now consider the paradox that would surely have been if the British had captured Saddam and he immediately sought asylum in the UK because of his perceived fears of a trial culminating in the death sentence - a system which is not countenanced in the UK, I believe in these circumstances Saddam would have argued for such protection and have succeeded as did Pinochet.
The problem is that now are exposed the fault lines between the allies in the ethics of warfare and its sequellae. There is already an evidential wish for the British to distance themselves from what was a dark, brutal, gruesome and unseeingly hasty execution.
A new hatred between Arab cultures has been fomented by the invasion of Iraq – that between Sunni and Sheite ; it has been exacerbated by this trial and execution to an untold degree.
As the Bush administration seek to justify a new surge of troops in a country already in a state of civil war, where the Houses on record at least should oppose such a venture Bush seems destined to sink to depths of unpopularity not even known to Nixon
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