Personally, I don't like Saddam, never did, and never thought that there is anything to defend in his rule of Iraq. However, to give the man his due respect, we have to admit that Iraq was in a much better state during his days than it is now, I believe few people can argue that the freedom to vote is more important than the freedom to live. Of course both are extremely important, but what use is elections if I can't walk to the grocer safely.
Anyway, despite my utter disagreement with the way he ruled Iraq, and my despise for his crimes, I am totally against the way in which (and the fact that) he was executed. It is funny when you find a well known journalist like Yoel Markus of Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/808349.html) responding with shock to the voices that opposed the execution. Let me state why I find that shocking, in itself, shocking.
1. If you are so humane to oppose killing of innocent people in Halabcha and Anfal and other places of Iraq, If you consider the killing of human beings, in essence wrong, a crime that should be punished, how can you punish it with the same type of crime?
2. Saddam was totally wrong in the way he led Iraq, but establishing an American administered court, whose decisions and sessions came in such amazing synchrony with American political milestones (Note that the sentence hearing session was scheduled hours before the American mid-term polls opened), does not look like the free choice of Iraqis. The trial itself was not legitimate nor even contained the slightest indications of "due process of law" evidence was confidential, much controversy was spurred around the proceedings of the trials in which witnesses identity was also confidential. I remember watching the testimony of a 26 year old man, who at the time of the Dujeil events was 2 years old. So just how exactly was the judge able to determine "with no reasonable doubt" that Saddam was guilty. Because to me, the evidence I have seen is all less than sufficient to even be presented at a normal court of law.
3. OK, I agree people should be punished for their crimes. That is the reason we adore justice, and we demand it, but is it just that some people are punished for their crimes and others are not? Well, if such a possibility exists then it will undermine the whole justice system. Then let's ask ourselves, why does Saddam, Milosovic and Pinochet (although he escaped) stand infront of courts while other criminals don't? Is it the number of their crimes? So if saddam is responsible for over a quarter of a million deaths in 35 years of ruling Iraq, Bush himself is responisble for many more deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq during his 6 years in the White House. And didn't Bill Clinton allow carpet bombing of Kurdish villages in Turkey using American aircrafts and ammunition? Or what about 1000 Lebanese killed by Olmert and Co. this summer in Lebanon? or the more than 5000 Palestinians killed by Israel in the last 6 years of the conflict? We should put everyone to trial no?
Or at least, to be fair, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," to put it in a language that Bush understands (since the Lord speaks to him).
4. Isn't that Rumsfeld Shaking Saddam's hand in the picture, or is the world going insane? Ah, its both.