The ultimate justice. That is what we are lead to believe is being handed to the ‘bad guys’, specifically Saddam Hussein. Hussein was brought to stand trial for just one of the many cases against him, and was given swift deliverance. Hussein was hanged on December 30th 2006, given what some termed “the ultimate justice.” President Bush himself used the term, calling for Hussein to be hanged. Bush did not make the comments at the conclusion of the trial; he spoke these words on December 17th, 2003, before the trial had ever begun, even before charges had been brought against him and his collaborators. This is the same Bush who oversaw a record 151 executions during his six year term as Texas Governor. This is ultimate justice? To condemn a man for taking life and to take his in return in just as evil and ugly a manner? It was not by American hands that Saddam met his fate, and that design was not accidental. There will be no visible blood on American hands this time.

I forced myself to watch the unedited footage of Saddam’s execution, a glorified snuff film, and I was revolted. I was disgusted with the manner in which the deed was dealt, with those in attendance covered in balaclavas, as much an act of cowardice as concealing identity from reprisals. Saddam was taunted and had his faith spit back at him. Those in attendance were all Shiite Arabs; Hussein was Sunni Muslim. This was done on purpose in order to mock Hussein’s very faith. Executioners under Saddam’s rule operated no doubt under the same circumstances, but why was it necessary to lower to that level of barbarity? By further perpetrating the evil deeds we are reviling, we are only continuing the violent nature of the beast, contributing to it rather than attempting to lay it to rest. The execution and its footage will only strengthen the conflicts that still rage in a “freed” Iraq. Sunni Arabs will need much convincing that the execution and the manner it was conducted was not an act of retaliation.

The ‘ultimate justice’ has been served, and a new dawn has risen in Iraq, so we are led to believe. Conflict still rages; car bombs and suicide bombs are still claiming lives, American forces are still in battle with insurgents and Hussein loyalists, and the Kurds, Sunni, and Shiite are still at odds.

Hussein will not stand trial for all of his abhorrent criminal deeds, most of which now he will not be held responsible and accountable for in a court of law. This is where justice is served, not on the gallows at the end of a rope. We have come so far, and yet have so much farther to go.

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