Sunday, January 07, 2007
Gordon Brown now having condemned the manner of Saddam's hanging and the Iraqis being upset by all the international condemnation, it is clear the whole affair has gone the Middle Eastern way - ie badly. To clarify one point about my previous and hurried post on this matter: I was merely quoting Chris's thoughts. For me, it is obvious Saddam had to die for purely pragmatic reasons. Alive in prison, he would have become just another bargaining chip - his release, for example, becoming a useful Sunni-placatory mechanism. The manner of his death, however, has plainly been a catastrophe for all the reasons given by others. Its replaying as a YouTube video will confirm the views of embittered Islamists that we are, indeed, a decadent culture. But one point in particular bothers me. The taunting of Saddam seconds before his death will have convinced him that his savage, tribal view of the world was correct. He would have died, in his own mind, justified. A silent, dignified execution may not have inspired remorse, but it may have given him at least a glimpse of the possibility that he was deluded. Perhaps this is mad, perhaps writing a book on immortality has addled my brain and perhaps it is true that Saddam's final thoughts are irrelevant. But, for some reason, I can't bring myself to think so.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 12:32 pm