I guess I couldn’t have asked for a better topic to kick off this blog with.
In the waning hours of December 29th 2006, I paced my small Queens apartment exchanging text messages with friends regarding the impending death of one of history’s greatest monsters. The messages were humorous in nature, mostly discussions about the sodomy, which surely awaited Hussein in hell. I was pacing anxiously in front of my television that had for several hours been fixed to Fox News, stopping occasionally to hit the refresh button on the Drudge Report in hopes that the news of a successful execution would be forthcoming. Sure enough, at a little past 10 pm EST, word came down that the Butcher of Baghdad had been eliminated.
With that news, my search began. I’m sure it was the same search being made by millions around the world…we wanted to see it. We wanted to watch him drop. We wanted to see the fear in his face. We wanted to see his last breath. The tease provided by the cable news channels (who stopped the footage just before Saddams fateful fall) only made me crave the real thing more. Convinced that I wouldn’t be successful in my search, at least not that today, I finally called it a night at around 2pm and went to bed thoroughly dissatisfied.
The morning greeted me with good news, a video had been smuggled out of the execution chamber. Although the quality was poor (apparently Iraqi’s shoot their video’s the same way they shoot their AK-47’s) my appetite and the appetites of millions around the world had been satisfied by this amature snuff film.
The question is, should we feel bad about wanting to see this? Should we find joy in anyone’s death, including someone as monstrous as Saddam? As someone who opposes the death penalty I would normally tend toward feeling bad…but this was different. This was satisfying. This felt like justice. This was downright entertaining and I don’t feel one bit of remorse or shame for saying that.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my stance on the death penalty is in need of a revision. Perhaps exceptions should be made for tyrants and war criminals. Thank you Saddam, you’ve made me a wiser man.