As I recall from a couple different history books, none other than Dwight Eisenhower was opposed to the Nuremburg War Crimes trials. Better, he thought, just to shoot a bunch of German officers (majors and above, as I remember) to drill the lesson home.
Some people, some political movements, some aspects of certain religions, are just too brutal to be accorded even a taste of civilization. Let them reap what they sow, and all that.
My own feelings are mixed — but less so, when I read stories like this:
Prosecutors are struggling to build a case against Saddam Hussein because they lack both witnesses and evidence to prove the ousted Iraqi dictator is guilty of atrocities, according to a British official quoted by The Times on Monday.
Although the US-led coalition has caught 40 of the 55 people on its list of “most-wanted” Iraqis linked to Saddam’s former regime, none of them will testify for the prosecution, the unnamed official said.
“It’s the fear factor,” he explained. “Saddam may be in custody but the other detainees know from past experience that if they turned ‘Queen’s evidence’, revenge would be taken against members of their families”.
Now don’t go and read too much into this. But before I explain why, let me rant a little.
You mean to tell me that Saddam Hussein, the man who started two wars of aggression, who assassinated his way to the top, who gassed the Kurds, who drained the Marsh Arabs out of their ancient homes, who defied the will of the entire civilized world, who let his people starve while buying off UN ministers and building palaces, whose own self was so cowardly that he let himself be captured armed-but-alive. . .
. . .this guy could go goddamn free because his dictatorship was so brutally efficient that even today there is no one brave enough to testify against him?
And that’s the problem with trying to apply the rules of civilization to those who are barbarian.
But don’t worry. If we can’t make a case against him at the Hague or even in a friendly American court, it’s not like he’ll be set free. Bringing us back to the original point about Eisenhower, all we have to do is turn Saddam back over to the Iraqi people. A short while later, Saddam’s last thought will be, “Benito got off easy.”
Civilized? Hardly. But a fitting end for a leader who taught his people the real meaning of brutality.