Our friends in the European Union are urging the Iraqis not to give Saddam the death penalty. Pretty predictable, I’m sure most would agree. But as one who is (almost always) opposed to the death penalty, I think this view on the part of the EU is not only narcissistic (in the routine sense) it is quite crazy and self-destructive.
If there is one class of person who deserves, and indeed needs to have, the death penalty, it is the mass murdering tyrant like Saddam. If given life sentences, these autocrats almost always have many adherents who devote their lives to springing the dictator so he can return to power and kill again. These die-hard adherents (we’ve seen plenty already in Iraq) will do this either directly via insurrection or prison break or indirectly via hostage-taking that could go on and on and result in many deaths. It would be as if Hitler had been captured at the end WWII, incarcerated for life, only to be freed by power-hungry ex-Nazis to reopen Auschwitz.
Will the EU answer an argument like this? No, they will ignore it because their position is indefensible and based entirely on magical thinking – magical thinking that at its root is a highly-disturbed cocktail of self-loathing and jealousy/hatred toward the US. Though they deny it, in their heart of hearts, they want the Iraqis to fail in their quest for democracy. They want Saddam back. Nothing could be more obvious.