Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The justice of a trial

In my last post, about Saddam as press hero, I wrote about transmuting the very human desire for personal revenge into the desire for a different sort of justice, the justice of a trial.

No sooner said than done, apparently. I just came across this wonderful post by Mohammed of Iraq the Model, entitled, "Let Justice Be Served." In it, he describes that exact process taking place as he and his friends watch the trial:

“Why do we have to listen to this bull****?” said one of my friends.
“I prefer the trial goes like this:
Q:Are you Saddam Hussein?
Then take this bullet in the head.”

Everyone could find a reason to immediately execute a criminal who never let his victims say a word to defend themselves “let’s execute him and get over this” sentiments like this were said while we watched the proceedings which were rather boring and sluggish for the first half of the session.

At the beginning we were displeased by the presentation of the prosecution which was more like a piece of poetry in the wrong time and place and this is what encouraged the defense to give us a worn out speech about objectivity and how the court must not go into sideways; the thing which both the prosecution and the defense were doing.

Anyhow, the prosecutor began reading the facts and figures about what happened in Dijail. The defendants went silent but Saddam objected on some details and then prosecutor said “Do you want me to show the film where you said and did that?” Saddam stopped talking and the prosecutor asked the court to allow showing the film, we don’t know if it was played there as transmission was paused for a while.

As the prosecution went deeper into details and facts, the way we viewed the trial began to change and those among us who were demanding a bullet in Saddam’s head now seemed pleased with the proceedings “I don’t think I want to see that bullet now, I want to see justice take place as it should be”. We were watching an example of justice in the new Iraq, a place where no one should be denied his rights, not even Saddam.

We smiled seeing the news anchors lower their voices and nodding down when the prosecution grew stronger and more reasonable and convincing and they also abandoned the previous poetic sentimental tone that couldn’t stand in the face of facts and figures...

We’re drawing the outlines of a change not only for Iraq but also for the entire region and I can feel that today we have presented a unique model of justice because in spite of the cruelty of the criminal tyrant and in spite of the size of the atrocities committed against the Iraqi people, we still want to build a state of law that looks nothing like the one the tyrant wanted to create.



At 7:55 PM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Well, there's a lesson for all of us.

At 9:43 PM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Bill Gnade said...

Indeed, it is a profound lesson. I am encouraged. Thank you for sharing it.



At 9:47 PM, October 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had come across this post from Iraq the Madel a bit earlier and thought to myself "Why doesn't first person reaction like this ever make the MSM news?" It seems such a shame that only those of us who travel the blogsosphere get the opportunity to share such a personal story.

At 10:01 PM, October 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was decency clamoring to get out.
I am proud of my brothers and sisters in the US military that they were the proximate cause.
How noble.

At 10:02 PM, October 19, 2005, Blogger SC&A said...

There are absolutes, NYT, et al, notwithstanding.

I am reminded of the recent film that wanted to 'humanize' Hitler.

Evil is absolutely evil- and that is a lesson that Iraq the Model reminds his readers.

We need to give Saddam some kind of due process, if for no other reason than to prove to ourselves that the rule of law is an integral part of of we are. Still, we- and every victim of Saddam, all know the necessary outcome.

Sometimes, the seven cent solution- the cost of a bullet, is indeed justice.

Absolutes are anathema to the NYT. Absolutes limit what are the boundries of morality- an idea and principle the NYT cannot abide- because absolutes remove their unquestioned authority and what they believe is their sacred right to set those moral boundries.

At 10:15 PM, October 19, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

What a magnificant statement. Like a boulder cast into a lake, the ripples of this trial will go far and wide, a possible cultural tsunami is developing, slowly brewing and rumbling and shaking. What will other arab tyrants think, the imams in Iran, Assad in Syria? What hope will be inspired amongst common people who cannot even question authority figures in their home lands? Will they be able to envision reformation when saddam walks the gallows and swings into eternity, a monster brought to justice, tried by those he oppressed? How utterly pathetic of the NYT and others of the Liberal camp to act as they are acting on behalf of saddam hussein.

At 10:56 PM, October 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Iraqis are getting it, God bless them. Justice is always better than vengeance, and the sword of the law is better than the law of the sword.

At 8:14 AM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred:

The "recent film" that you say "wanted to humanize Hitler," was "Der Untergang," and the makers of it understand something you seem not to: Hitler was human. There is no need to "humanize." Human beings have done the evil he did, still commit it, and are likely to continue.
Precisely because Germans saw him as more than human, as a "psychic god," did they happily succumb to his appeal, touching in them the need to be led by a force greater than the weak and muddled human ones.
The film showed him being kind to his secretaries, attentive to his dog and loyal to his flunkies. But he was all that, and cold, vicious, genocidal at the same time.
Read "Ordinary Men" by Robert Browning, the account of German policemen who carried out executions of Jews on the Eastern front. Ordinary human beings are capable of "absolute evil."

Hitler could be kind to his secretaries, attentive to his dog, loyal to his flunkies, all while approving the extermination of millions.

At 10:06 AM, October 20, 2005, Blogger SC&A said...

Erasmus- I certainly concur that Hitler was 'human.'

That said, there are men that are so evil, so depraved, that any attempt draw parallels from their 'humaness' to our own, is a best, a questionable effort.

Hitler's closest familial descendants- some of whom live here, in the US, have chosen not to have children. They wish the family line to die out. These are not evil men- they are however, haunted and burdened- tragically- with an incredible evil. They are perhaps, an extraordinary answer to Hitler's legacy- they have decided that there is some evil that cannot be rehabilitated.

Theirs is an extraordinary display of nobility- these blameless men have taken it upon themselves to bury that evil, once and for all. As Hitler is rightfully despised, these men ought rightfully be admired.

Was Adolph Hitler 'human'? Yes, he was. That however, does not mean he was part of human community- and knowing that he loved his dog and was pleasant to his secretary does not- and should not- make his evil any part of the human condition.

At 10:19 AM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred:

We agree that Hitler's evil "should" not be a part of the human condition, but I think it was, is, and will be. All we can do, IMHO, is try and identify and stop it before the copses pile up again.
That is also why I understand the current German attitude --they've come from the Jewish "never again" after the Holocaust to their own "never again" to militarism and violence. It may be foolish, when faced with Islamofascism, and even self-destructive, but I see why the pendulum has gone from the old extreme to the new one. Maybe it will swing to an enlightened middle soon.

At 11:39 AM, October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another exceptional moment of speaking truth to power:

Robert Fisk: War is the "Total Failure of the Human Spirit"


At 9:12 AM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Fisk has never spoken truth to power, only nonsense to indifference.

At 10:30 AM, October 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nonsense to indifference?

If you follow media issues, you'll find the interview interesting; if you're right wing, you'll find the interview illuminating; if you've gone tribal, you'll callously dismiss the interview rather than check it out.


At 9:23 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Or... the Iraqis just want to beat Saddam in an even match of wits, on trial, on national camera.

Justice is giving someone what they deserve, no more, no less. Saddam doesn't deserve the rights of a normal Iraqi, that he witheld from everyone he didn't like. Saddam simply deserves to be defeated on a level playing field.

To give Saddam human rights is an injustice. TO give him a fair trial, where both sides have equal firepower, that is justice.

It would not be justice if Saddam's lawyer was better than the Iraqis. It would not be justice if Saddam had more rights than his victims. Saddam has the right to live or die based upon the decisions of those more powerful than him, exactly the choice he gave to his victims.

We in the west, fallen to the state of decadent order, no longer have a system where each side is even in a trial. It is increasingly becoming uneven. Unbalanced and unstable.

Perhaps a new justice system, in Iraq, may be more vibrant and balanced.

At 9:25 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Ordinary human beings are capable of "absolute evil."

It's a good thing that some of the humans in America are not ordinary, isn't it.


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