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The Forum > Article Comments > The price of freedom > Comments

The price of freedom : Comments

By Nahum Ayliffe, published 24/1/2007

The mythic narrative of choice for western democracies is that of the battle between good versus evil.

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I read this article recently about cannibalism and Saddam Hussein: It's worth a link, even if it means I'm the first comment on my own article!

Posted by Nahum, Wednesday, 24 January 2007 3:18:53 PM
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This article is poorly argued.

Of course there was an element of propaganda as well as justice in Saddam’s trial and execution. But the one doesn’t diminish the other. There is an element of propaganda in all acts of justice – a demonstration that wrongdoing will not go unpunished, and perhaps the hope of a deterrent (justice must be “seen to be done”). Added to that, in the case of a former tyrant brought to justice, the symbolic demonstration that no-one is above the law. The rule of law may still be more dream than reality in Iraq, but Saddam’s trial and punishment – however imperfect the process and tawdry the final execution – was the fairest and most transparent of a political figure in the region in years.

Peace didn’t break out once Saddam died, but it would be naïve to expect otherwise. This does not render the symbolism of his death facile, but more pointed and relevant. A peaceful and reconciled Iraq would have less need to execute its former dictator.

Would it be better for the International Criminal Court to handle the case? I doubt it. Apart from the arguable legitimacy of the court itself, it is best suited to judge criminals whose activities span national borders. While Saddam’s crimes certainly did that, the ones that in practical terms most cried out for justice were within the borders of Iraq. It is surely most appropriate that he be tried in Iraqi courts under Iraqi law by and before the Iraqi people.

Milosovic’s trial hardly gives one grounds to expect that Saddam would have received a fair trial at The Hague.

Nahum asks “What is the point of a legal system in a country where the police force is at best blatantly ineffective, and at worst, part of the problem?” So Iraq should give up on even attempting legal process until it gets a better police force?

And dualism and hatred of the other is hardly unique the western cultures, as the combatants in Iraq and fundamentalists of many different religious and ideological stripes demonstrate too clearly
Posted by Rhian, Wednesday, 24 January 2007 5:53:00 PM
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Again I reiterate that the doggy style imposition of 'democracy' in the sovereign nations targeted by the WOT is bound to fail.

The Iraqi's have been freed from the Al Takriti regime, but are they truly free? Are we in the western world truly free? Daily we see enacted so called laws to ensure our freedom, our 'way of life' our 'values'.

It is nought but a political marriage of convenience until the coalesced decide and agree upon the most profitable way out of the rapidly developing quagmire.

The body bags arriving home at Amberley, Richmond, Sale, Pearce, and others when they do, will silently remind us all of the cost of failure and appeasement.

Letter from Marcus Flavinius to Tertullus in Rome.

"We had been told on leaving our native soil, that we were going to defend the sacred rights conferred on us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and our civilisation.

We were able to verify that this was all true, and, because it was true, we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and our hopes.

We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by this frame of mind, I am told that in [Rome] factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of relinquishment and vilify our action.

I cannot believe that all this is true, and yet recent wars have shown how pernicious such a state of mind could be and to where it could lead.

Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the empire.

If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones on these desert sands in vain, then beware the anger of the legions."

History repeating ad nauseum.
Posted by Albie Manton in Darwin, Friday, 26 January 2007 1:19:48 PM
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Husseins trial was a show trial arranged for effect to try and bolster Bush’s political prospects at home. After all the lies about non existing weapons have been exposed, Bush desperately needs some sort of win to present to the voting public at home. As well, an artful pretence that this show trial could be held up as representing some sort of justice for the Iraqi people. The pliant media played its usual role covering up the long history that George Bush senior has had with Hussein including helping him into power. And the trips by Donald Rumsfeld in 1983 and again in 1984 in order to reign in Hussein's dictatorship and bring them closer under the sway of US influence - particuarly the Texas oil connections Bush comes out of. Bush’s lays claim to be establishing democracy in Iraq are contradicted in that his administration is shredding what remains of democratic rights in the United States. Usurping unprecedented powers to intercept telephone and email communications, authorize vast "data mining" on US citizens. Let us not forget the illegal torture taking place in Guantanamo Bay and holding prisoners for years without laying any charges. Bush has violated the most basic of legal rights such as the presumption of innocence, the right for early legal access, and the right to know what you are being charged with. These are the hallmarks of dictatorship not freedom!
Posted by johncee1945, Wednesday, 31 January 2007 11:12:59 PM
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