Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The story of the year so far...

To steal a phrase from the great Mark Steyn, it was a capital concept, but the execution was lousy. In fact the coverage of the death of Saddam Hussein made me rather depressed. It provided to a murdering tyrant the sort of dignity in death that was the worst possible outcome. It made Iraqi justice look like a squalid tit-for-tat two-bit hit. It risks turning Hussein into that most potent of things: a martyr.

Before the event I was broadly of the position that, although personally opposed to the death penalty, the execution of Saddam Hussein was the only practical solution to a difficult problem: partly at least the king-in-exile problem. Ask yourself, I remember thinking, which makes a more potent slogan, 'Free Nelson Mandela' or 'Remember Steve Biko'. This is still true up to a point, but sadly the execution of Hussein, and especially the circulated video of it, risk a scenario closer to Our Blessed Martyr King Charles I.

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