Friday, December 29, 2006

One more mistake among many?

As I started to sit down to write this I heard the news that a tyrant had died.

I don’t doubt that he deserved to die, this is one of the small points of opinion where my Wife and I disagree. In some small specific cases, of which I believe this to be one, I do support the death penalty. When there is no doubt at all of the guilt of the accused. In this case I am convinced that there can be none.

However I do not believe that in this case he should have been put to death.

“But what do we do with him then?” I hear you ask. “He is surely too dangerous and guilty to set free.”

It is my opinion that we have a historical example of what to do with those who fit exactly into this category of prisoner. Just as immediately post World War II it would have been immensely divisive to have executed Hess et al, not to mention dangerous for a very fragile newborn peace, so too it is today in this case. Of course we have yet to acheive even a fragile peace in Iraq, which makes it all the more important for us not to do anything to further fan the flames. He, like Hess should have simply been allowed to rot quietly in some remote isolated stronghold. This way he might, one day, have been forgotten and died quietly without fanfare and almost without remark.

As a martyr I believe him to be far more dangerous than alive. He has been of late making comments in the media which seem to embrace this role, that last one which he may be able to play. In the same way you’d react if I said “Don’t think of an elephant” so too do his protestations of “Don’t blame the invaders” convey the exact opposite message to my ears. So instead of seeing this last play for importance and a lasting legacy and denying him we have instead allowed him to make himself into some kind of martyr. We have in fact played right into his hands.

In the words of another, from a galaxy far, far away. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

Sadly, I think this might be just what we just did.

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