Cross posted from Article of Faith:
Did you know that the term “gala” originates from the gallows? Back in medieval England, crowds would dress up in their best clothes to attend the hanging, often followed by lavish parties where the decedent would be eulogized by the partiers. Invitations were often sent out: “We hang at eight, party at nine.”
The events became known as “galas”, replete with black ties for the gentlemen and ball gowns for the ladies. And if it was a really good execution, the condemned would make a lengthy farewell speech, telling observers not to mourn their passing, but martyr them, and look forward to an afterlife of riches and God’s graces.
So it’s no surprise that the black tie gala in Baghdad is being rushed in time for New Year’s Eve. Out with the old, in with the new, justice and rule of law be damned.
As the Times notes in its editorial this morning, the kangaroo courts that both convicted Saddam and upheld his death sentence, replete with hand-picked stooges of the “Coalition Authority”, is rushing to get this hanging in before more violence erupts from the Baathist loyalists, which will no doubt come anyway as soon as Saddam’s death is announced.
Read this: “This week began with a story of British and Iraqi soldiers storming a police station that hid a secret dungeon in Basra. More than 100 men, many of them viciously tortured, were rescued from almost certain execution. It might have been a story from the final days of Baathist rule in March 2003…”
And then this: “Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, said there would be no advance notice of the execution because of fears that any announcement could set off violence. When asked who would be invited to attend the hanging, Mr. Rubaie said: “No television. No press. Nothing.” He said that the execution would be videotaped but that it was unlikely the tape would be released. Saddam will be handed over to the Iraqi government, out of U.S. military custody, as he’s being taken to the gallows.”
And we wonder why they hate us.
To tie this in briefly with the passing of president Ford, I was struck by the refrain I’ve heard over and over regarding his pardon of Nixon, that the decision was in the best interest of the country because allowing Nixon to be hauled into the criminal docks and prosecuted for his crimes would have “destabilized the country futher”.
In other words, convicting the president of his crimes and sentencing him to federal prison is something we just couldn’t tolerate of the office or the men who have held it, so subverting the judicial process with the pardon was seen as saving the republic.
Yet in our bloodlust to bring another country’s president to “justice” (even though their people never asked us to do so), we are once again subverting the rule of law and dirtying our hands in a perversion of bloodlust. Can you imagine if, say Canada, had launched an invasion of the U.S. in 1974 so that they could bring our former president to justice?
Certainly his crimes are of a greater scale than Nixon’s, but the point in comparison is that subverted justice is subverted justice. Nixon escaped and was allowed to rehabilitate himself over the next twenty years. Saddam escapes justice and becomes a martyr this weekend, sure to be eulogized by Iraqis for generations to come.
What price this “justice”, in blood money? I calculate the ratio as roughly 3000 to 1. Three thousand U.S. deaths just so we could get “the man who tried to kill my daddy.”
So put on your black ties and dance your jig as Saddam swings this weekend. Me, I’ll be busy laughing, noting that the rope used to snap Saddam’s neck was made of hemp.