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Saddam sentenced to death.

The New York Times reports.

And from the BBC story:

As the judge began reading the death sentence SaddamHussein shouted out "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great) and "Long live Iraq!Long live the Iraqi people! Down with the traitors!"

The former leader looked shocked and furious as thesentence was passed, and continued to shout, denouncing the court, thejudge and the US-led occupation force in Iraq.

But the BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson saidthat after his tirade, which was clearly deliberate, Saddam Husseinseemed to have a small smile of triumph on his face as he was led awayfrom the courtroom.

"It was as if he was thinking 'I've come here and done what I intended to do,'" our correspondent said.

Update: Cardinal Martino says don't do it.

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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Aha! That crafty Saddam! He has cleverly been captured groveling in a hole, and now has been tried and sentenced to death. What a brilliant plan! Who would have thunk it?Please, this is a perfect opportunity to discuss the moral issues surrounding capital punishment. If anyone deserves it, someone like Saddam does. So those of us who oppose the death penalty have an opportunity, and I think an obligation, to justify our position. When a reporter tries to convince us that Saddam really planned it this way, or even hoped for this outcome to make a point, that really undermines any serious discussion of the issue.

How does this undermine anything? How can one reporter's observation affect how you discuss "the issue" (capital punishment? Saddam's crimes?)?

It doesn't undermine an argument so much as the the person making it. As to the arguments against capital punishment, it means nothing. The "observation," is, to be blunt, silly. This guy no more knows what Saddam is thinking than he does what the weather will be this same day next year. His point in making the statement is to make dig at the allied powers. Saddam has outwitted them again.It doesn't add anything to the discussion of the issue, and raises, in my mind at least, the question of whether the person who puts the reporting forward opposes the death penalty as such, or opposes Saddam's execution because the Americans are behind it. I am glad you have added the link to Cardinal Martino's statement. This is the kind of discussion we ought to have.

As Catholics we are not supposed to be standing around the walls of prisons with little effigies wearing hangman nooses shouting "Hangin's too good for him!" as some fundamentalist Christians feel compelled to do on some occasions.God's mercy, presumeably, extends to genocidal dictators like Saddam should he ever repent of his crimes. And killing him doesn't allow him to repent.But even while I support a commutation of his sentence, I have to say I care more about the principle here than the person. I guess watching that Frontline documentary that showed parents burying children who'd been gassed with chemical weapons didn't leave me much sympathy.I'm sure God feels differently. Which is why He's God and not me.

Saddam can't sway in the wind long enough for me. If he repents before taking his last gasp of air, so be it. If he doesn't, he'll likely have another chance afterwards. I think there are some persons whose crimes are so heinous/atrocious/etc. that it is only proper to send them back to God. Sorry, folks, but this guy gets no sympathy from me, not his current life anyway.

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