Thursday, November 09, 2006

letter to the editor of the Valley Morning Star

The genocidal tyrant is tried by a court of law, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. One segment of the population rejoices; another shows its displeasure by stepping up sectarian violence.

And then the tyrant speaks. Having nothing left to lose, one might expect to hear him scream for vengeance, to urge the faithful to rise up and wage bloody war in his name. But that is not what happens. Instead, the tyrant simply asks all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds to "forgive, reconcile and shake hands."

Will those words have any effect on the Iraqi situation -- which by many reports is spiraling out of control into civil war? It is too early to say, of course... but one can't help but wonder what positive, redemptive deeds Saddam Hussein could be capable of from his jail cell were he shown the mercy of a commuted sentence. (Now who was that guy who taught his followers to "turn the other cheek"? Probably just some crackpot bleeding-heart liberal....)

Of course the sentence will not be commuted, mercy will not be shown, Saddam will hang and people like the editorial writer of the VMS will sleep better at night, secure in the belief that justice has been served.

And then others of us might lie awake wondering if we are executing the last, best hope for war's end and a stable MIddle East.

The inspiration for this letter comes from the best role-model anyone could hope to have - my Dad.

36 Comments:

Blogger mleahy said...

Everyone is sorry for what they have done, once they have been caught. Let's remember whom it was that found him guilty, his own people in his own country not the US. We simply caught him and handed him over. How can someone be so against the death penalty for a murderous dictator and at the same time be so in favor of abortion which kills helpless unborn babies? Maybe just some crackpot bleeding-heart liberal ;-)

Regards- MLeahy

12:23 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

And how can someone who believes life is so sacred that he wants to save every embryo be in favor of taking the life of a living breathing human being?

There are just so many ways to look at this, aren't there?

12:41 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Ethics man here is somewhat in a conundrum. If I were responsible for the sentencing, I'd make the man bust rocks for a hundred years under humane but miserable conditions.

Some devils need to be kept alive or they become martyrs. When he eventually dies, I would honor his customs and bury him in the local tradition. Quietly, and without fanfare.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lot's of questions here. I am not sure it was entirely his "own people" who found him guilty. However, he is guilty. I am not against the death penalty (although I sometimes wonder about its larger value), nor am I against abortion. It is a person's own right to decide. I am not also for open-ended forgiveness.
So where do we stand. If S. Husseins plea will end irrational death in Iraq, it is on balance a good thing. It will not erase what he has done.
There was a good discussion on FSTV last evening about the differences beween philisophical positions and idealogical ones -- it suggested that idealogy makes us all closed to new ideas whereas in philisophical discussion we can hear each other's ideas and try to embrace them in our position.
let's try to do this on this blog without rancor.
other nancy m

2:25 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Very well stated Nancy. I think the question is whether to hang and kill Saddam Hussein versus making him live in ignominity forever.

Let me try another angle. Many people make big news out of the death count from American troops in Iraq, which is over several thousand now. However, there are over 17,000 men and women who were wounded, hurt bad, and will never be right, mentally or physically.

The dead are gone but nothing can bring them back. Hangings, electric chairs, or whatever barbaric means of execution, it solves nothing.

But to make a person live "a living hell" appeals to me, and would not have the stigma of actually killing yet another person.

I will not be so crude as to suppose that backers of execution think that there is a heaven, purgatory, and hell and fictions like that - and that the devil would deal with the "bad" dead in the afterlife.

Just think about those kids living a literal hell on Earth today, bones missing or fractured, and mind completly unwound or unhinged.

That just aint right. Death is too cheap a price for Sadamm to pay, sorry to say that.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget the Iraqi dead and damaged which, as I recall, became a reason for invading at some point when the weapons reasons didn't stand up. They deserve rememberance also.
other nancy m

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read a news story suggesting that over 160,000 Iraqis have died in Mr. Bush's little pre-emptive war. Suppose those dead - or the families they left behind - give a damn whether it was a brutal Iraqi regime or an unprovoked US invasion that killed them?

If Saddam hangs, then so should Bush.

8:11 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Now, now. Spoken like a true to form lib nutcase. Our entry into this war on terror started with an attack on US soil which killed thousands of innocent Americans. Let's take a stroll down memory lane for those who were more concerned with protests than actually learning American history. WWI, was entered into by Woodrow Wilson (D), and finished by him, no Republican president here. WWII, entered into by FDR & finished by Truman, both (D). One even so evil as to drop two atomic weapons on civilian targets. Viet Nam, though entered into by a Republican, Eisenhauer, most was handeled by the Democrats, JFK & Johnson. Who are the real war mongers here? How many lives were spent in those wars? I hear on lib blogs that the Iraqui's don't like us. I don't think that the Germans, Italians or Japanese cared for us either during the war, though allies now. Funny, the French, whose asses we saved only critisize us now? I think that all nay sayers should remember historical lessons before pointing fingers...back at themselves...


MLeahy

12:47 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

BTW, what so ever your name is? Put your name on your opinions! Saddam, between 1980-1988 is directly responsible for the deaths of 500,000 of his own people & 300,000 Iranian's in a war he started. What were you saying about Bush? I think that greater number cares!! Though bad things have happened, this war you know?!? At least admit that many positive things have also occured......Stop all the LIES!!!!!!


MLeahy

12:58 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:12 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Sandy, as a Catholic, I agree with Sam, it is better to let Saddam rot in prison. I am not for the death penalty, funny how everyone assumes (we all know what that means, don't we) that because I am conservative I, I want to kill everyone?

Fact, many libs support abortion into the sixth month. At this point the BABY is breathing in embryonic fluid rich in oxygen. Do you suggest that that an embryo is not living at inception? It would ceertainly be impossible to develop if that were the case. Would you not agree? I believe that there are not so many LOGICAL ways to look at this.

MLeahy

1:31 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Also, on 10.17.2006 Stephen Poaches in Philadelphia was convicted on two counts of murder for killing his pregnant girlfriend because she refused to have an abortion. It is murder to kill an unborn baby. A precident has been set. Do you agree with breaking the law?

MLeahy

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Ginny W also known as Lucinda's mom said...

I really get tired of people comparing the different wars we have fought. I was alive durng the WW2 and I can tell you it was nothing like this war! We fought the countries that attacked us. The attack in 2001 had nothing to do with this war except in the lies we were told by this administration.
mleahy,I believe that until a child is born it is only the vessel being formed to carry the soul it will have when it enters this world.Since many of us have different beliefs it should be an indivual decision to have or not have an abortion. It often seems like those that are againist abortion are the ones that are also againist providing funds for the proper care of homeless children.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Don "dadfeets" Wierenga said...

With all due respect, and love for my wife, we have wandered from the topic. Well, I guess the death penalty and abortion do have something in common and, yes, war is about killing each other. But more specifically: what about the notion that we all have redeeming worth and should be given an opportunity, until our last breath, to improve our lot here on earth? Not just to save our own souls, but to make our world a better place.

We are all flawed creatures of God, but inherently good. We are not asked to judge. Religion is not about being right. it's about being and doing good.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

only one comment to M.Leahy: the 9/11 attack was not orchestrated by any Iraqis -- even the neo cons admit that now. Iraq had rejected Osama as, to use your words, a nut case. So the reasons for that incursion were different.
There are terrorists there now.
War on terror -- I think it is a bad phrase because it implies battles and a victory. We can control some things; we can protect some things. But victory -- I don't know.
other nancy m

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ginny - Do you really believe that we entered WW2 against Germany because Hitler and the Germans attacked the US?

I suppose you would also advocate just discarding babies born prematurely. After all, if they can't breathe on their own, they must not be humans with souls.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous ginny W also known as Lucinda's mom said...

I realize I strayed from the subject but some of the comments that were made were the reason I replied. I certainly am aware that we were not attacked by Germany but that was a world war and we didn't start bombing them on our own. Our country was about the last to become involved and we had little choice. It was very different from this war.
I do believe that a child born whether premature or not has a soul.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, it is okay to kill 150,000 more to avenge the deaths of 300,000? And how many are we going to kill to avenge the deaths in Darfur, or Rwanda, or all the other places that killed or are killing their own people? And who set us up as judge and jury, anyway?

10:37 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Ginny, with all due respect, we were attacked in 2001 by islamic facists whom have not one country they call their own. There were and still are several countries that sponsor terrorists. What do you think we should have done? Nothing? Or let the U.N. (We all know how ineffective they are) handle things? You can't negotiate with terrorists or the countries that support their adjenda. They are not asking for land or money, they fight for religious ideologies. There is soo much more that Iran and other countries are saying about our destruction and Israel that the drive by media is not reporting to remain politically correct.

My father is from Scotland and lived there through WWII. He had one brother who was a colonel in charge of all medical forces in North Africa and another who was a Royal Marine Paratrooper who fought in France. You must remember we were the last to enter the war as we were the last to be attacked. It was the Japanese not the Germans who did this.


To all the nay sayers who say we will never get out of Iraq, we are still in Germany, Japan & Korea. Nothing new.

Bottom line, I do understand the parallels I draw between wars. I have a unique perspective of having learned history in the US and from my father who lived it overseas where he actually had to take shelter from bombing raids.

Regards, MLeahy

11:41 AM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Anonymous, I agree that something needs to be done in Darfur & Rwanda but they are not calling for our destruction or sponsoring terrorists. Our priority needs to be on protecting our homeland. In a time of war things always get worse before getting better. The world was a frightening place during WWII but was a great place to be in 1946.

Regards, MLeahy

12:36 PM  
Anonymous ginny W also known as Lucinda's mom said...

I guess I got my facts wrong but I didn't think any of the terrist were from Iraq. I really was for getting the guy that was respnsible for the attack but that didn't happen.I still don't know how Iraq was involved. Why are there more terrist now then before we invaded Irak?I don't believe the people in Iraq will listen to Saddam but are we lowering ourselves to the terrist level by killing him?

4:55 PM  
Blogger Don "dadfeets" Wierenga said...

(Lest we forget what started this discussion, I offer my own letter to the (Grand Rapids Press) editor, published today.)

More From The Grand Rapids Press | Subscribe To The Grand Rapids Press
Letters for November 14
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Let Saddam live

Along side the recent election was an event barely covered by the news media yet may have deep implications for peace in the Middle East and peace within our own lives. I'm referring to the conviction of Saddam Hussein.

Many will rejoice in the death penalty that was handed down. I say let him live. Not only because I don't believe we have the right to take the life of any person, but because I believe the potential for doing good lies within us all.

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Speaking to the court, he cited references to the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus who had asked for forgiveness for those who had opposed them. "I call on all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, to forgive, reconcile and shake hands," Saddam said.

His top lieutenant, still at large, former Iraqi vice president Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has ordered Baath party bosses still in Iraq to cease attacks.

An attempt to sway world opinion and escape the gallows? Possible.

A sincere request for forgiveness? Also possible.

Will we listen? Probably not.

Yet as a Christian, I will follow the lead of Jesus, my radical leader, who preached unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness. Why would we put to death a man who has the potential, within a flawed life (like ours) to end suffering and bring peace to a troubled region of the world. Far out? Yes. But this radical messenger may be our only hope.

DON WIERENGA/Saugatuck

6:00 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Hi Ginny, It has been proven that monies were funneled through Iraqi banks and wound up in the hands of Al Queida. In a nation ruled by a dictator, whom do you think has control of the banking system. We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars, but I'm sure that amount was too small for him to notice....right.... As far a terrorists, I guess I am looking in the wrong places, what exactly is the current number as compared to before this "evil conservative action"? BTW you still have not said how you would have handled things after 9.11, I really want to learn the "proper" way it should have been handled...

Regards, MLeahy

7:21 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Don, I do agree that the death penalty is wrong. I was blessed to have devout Catholics as parents, my father even spent three years in a seminary when he met my mom and decided to take a different path. They met in church. The future of what might have been, we will never know. I do know that the families of the hundreds of thousands he is responsible for killing will get some degree of closure from his death. I don't know about you, but I don't know how I would react to someone directly responsible for killing a family member for no good reason. Sorry if this topic has gone astray, but some topics are such easy pickings and hard to resist.

Regards- MLeahy

7:49 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

BTW Ginny, in regards to an earlier comment the U.S. spends more money on world wide humanitarian relief than all other nations combined. I think that you should start something non liberal and call out every other nation in the world to step things up. Also you are "assuming" that I don't care about homeless childern when I sponsor two in Guatamala through the church. Where are your adopted/sponsored children?

Regards- MLeahy

8:21 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Hey MLeahy quit picking on my mom already!!! What kind of monster are you, anyway?
She did NOT accuse you specifically of not supporting homeless children and she has done a lot of good in this world -- she does not have to brag about it to anyone.

Your people lost the election. Face up to the fact that the majority of Americans do not see the war in Iraq the way you do -- and keep your mean-spirited personal attacks off my blog.

Geez.

8:47 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Sandy, my apologies if I have offended you. I am not personally attacking your mom, only defending my statements. Too many assumptions have been made, I only ask that if you attack a statement, please back it up with facts. I, if nobody else, at least sign off with regards & my name. I realize that my primary party lost and unlike Democrats in the last two elections am not crying out for recounts or making accusations of foul play. The people have spoken. If my comments prove to be undefensible and offensive then I shall do the responsible thing and refrain from commenting on what would then be a confirmed, closed, biased blog. I will await your written decision before further commenting.

Regards- MLeahy

9:03 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

MLeahy - this is without a doubt a biased blog as it reflects the opinions of its author - me. Please think of it as my house, into which I am inviting you as my guest. As my guest, you are welcomed to join in the dialogue and differences of opinion are welcomed -- as long as they do not take the form of personal attacks on my other guests. When your comments start taking on a nasty tone and intentionally twisting the words of others (do you really think my mom doesn't know the difference between Germany and Japan?) then I have to draw the line -- especially when the object of your venom is my own mother.

There are plenty of other places online where that kind of behaviour is accepted and even encouraged. This site is not one of them.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous ginny W also known as Lucinda's mom said...

Hi mleahy,
I appreciate my daughter's concern for me but you have not offended me.I live in a very conservative area in Mi and most of my best friends are very conservative.I was not being personal when i remarked about supporting the homeless. It is something I have observed over the years about many of the people in our area. I think it is great that you are supporting children who need your support. I don't think that this is the place to list where my contributions go but I do make them.
I would just like to say that I don't think it matters which party is in office when we go to war.It is the person in control who has the power to make the decisions that is important. You asked me what I think we should have done? When I was a fifth grade teacher and students had disagreements they were expected to sit down and work it out. I found they usually came away friends.They found out more about the other person and were able to see that there was something to like about them. I do believe adults can do the same. We can't give the other countries the impression that we are superior to them and expect them to like us. When young people are willing to blow themselves up to kill others there is something really wrong.Instead of doing more killing doesn't it make sense to to find out why and if there might be a peaceful way to change things. We had Saddam contained and there was no reason to rush into that war. If it was because of the money you said was supporting the terrist then why didn't we attack Saudi Arabia? Most of the terrists that attacked us were from there and they certainly were supplying money? I think we are going to end up doing what we should have done in the first place and that is to start talking with Iraq's neighbors and work together for a solution.
The people in these countries are human and like us don't want to live with terrior.mleahy I think you are probably a very nice person and if we were ever really aquainted we would find a lot to appreciate about each other and I would never refer to you as a nutcase conservative or a crackpot. Isn't it great that we can both express our views and concerns. I don't want to dominate this blog so this is my last comment. I do enjoy reading other points of view.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ginny and Don,
I stand in bewilderment at many of your comments. I'd be interested in knowing if either of you believe that evil exists.

Saddam is evil. I don't believe that evil can be appeased and that it must be destroyed.

I don't intend it as a personal attack, but I find some of your comments to be astoundingly naive.

I also belive that the Iraqi government should carry out Saddam's sentence as quickly as possible. As long as that devil draws breath, he will have followers waiting for his return to power.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

I would suggest that it is naive to suppose that executing Saddam will zero out the evil things he did rather than create a martyr for insurgents to rally around.

And I have never felt more proud of being Don & Ginny's daughter than I am right now.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Lucinda. It would indeed be naive to think that hanging the devil could "zero out" torturing children while their parents are made to watch, putting human beings into plastic shredders, pouring acid on the bare skin of victims as they hang upside down, using chemical weapons to kill masses of innocent men, women and children, ........ However, one could call hanging Saddam justice for his crimes against humanity. Too bad he can't hang more than once.

It is more than naive to think that Saddam is the "last, best hope for war's end and a stable Middle East."

5:29 PM  
Blogger Don "dadfeets" Wierenga said...

Dear Anonymous,

We agree that evil is not good. Maybe we would even agree that evil, to some degree, is present within me and you as well as Saddam. I think it might be a bit naive to think ‘it must be destroyed?’ Just how would you go about doing that? Killing all evil people?

O.K., sorry for the sarcasm.

Yes, my thought of Saddam being used to promote healing in his country is naive and as Lucinda put it, ‘way out of the box.’ But what's wrong with naivety or searching outside the box? I live to dream, think differently and move my life toward solutions. I’m comfortable being a simple, naive person.

Evil surrounds us on a daily basis but to think that punishment or the fear of punishment, even eternal punishment will solve problems is also naive. Living the atrocities of Saddam . . . and . . . living a life of anger, bitterness, hatred and revenge in this life . . . is hell. The God of love that I believe in has a heaven big enough for all of us . . . me, you . . . and Saddam. Now, is that what you mean by ‘more than naive!’

Love,

Don

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don, do you not think that evil should ever be destroyed? Would the world not have been better off if Hitler had been assassinated in, say, 1939 or so? Ask the families of the 6,000,000 Jews that perished at Hitler's direction or the countless others that died as a direct result of Hitler's madness. What about Stalin and other Soviet dictators who enslaved hundreds of millions of people for decades?

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a dreamer too, Don. I'm a professional ballet dancer, and have been since the age of 16. My dream began at age 8 when I began my training. I think all artists are dreamers, or we wouldn't be doing what we do.

I have a bigger dream. One much bigger than myself. I dream that the millions of brave Iraqis who dared to dream the dream that America was sincere in her promise to liberate them from murderous tyrant, Saddam Hussein, and bring him to justice. Millions of Iraqi men and women risked their lives - some walking for miles to cast their votes for a free Iraq. We are now honor bound to see this through until they are able to stand up without us.

I have a dream that partisan politics in America won't quash the dream for those who proudly held up their purple fingers in defiance of those who enslaved them.

Nothing is wrong with "thinking outside the box," Don. But one might have to step outside the comfort of the liberal cocoon to do so.

As a Christian, you understand "blessed are the peacemakers ..." Soldiers can be peacemakers, as I believe American troops are. "Evil exists where good men stand by and do nothing." "For everything there is a season ... a time for war, a time for peace ..."

Yes, "evil" must be destroyed. No, evil cannot be appeased. Hitler could not be appeased. Saddam cannot be appeased. No, we cannot rid the world of all evil, but that doesn't stop us from trying to prevent the spread of a global "evil" that goes by the name of "terrorism."

So much to say, too little space in which to say it. And the probability of arrogance on my part that you and your daughter's other readers have any interest to hear it. My apologies.

Peace,
Carrie Lee

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compare Saddam to Hitler or Stalin?
Get a grip, folks.

5:09 PM  

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