I hate the world a lot

by Ike Hettit, an honest liberal


I don't understand why we can't all just get along and hold hands and sing songs. If we treat everyone with respect and share everything, everything should be fine. What's the problem here?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Double Standards: The Price of Being “Great”

In theory, Saddam Hussein should be punished for the murder of 148 Shiite Muslims in the city of Dujail. But not in practice, because the practice is immoral.

First, Saddam should go free on technicalities. Consider what would happen to a criminal in America if he were caught and brought to trial by illegal means. Even if the criminal had raped every little girl in the country, the case would be thrown out of court. And even if it weren’t, all the evidence would be inadmissible. Given that the war to depose Saddam was strictly immoral and illegal, he should not have to face a trial, let alone be punished. Making him take responsibility for his oppression and mass murders is unfair from a legal standpoint.

Second, Saddam should go free on moral grounds. We seem to be forgetting something that should be glaringly obvious. Even a child should be able to recognize that the massacre was justified. After all, the Dujail villagers tried to assassinate Saddam to end his tyranny. Hello? Saddam was a dictator! We have to put ourselves in his shoes! What do we expect him to do when faced with a group who wants to end his reign? He had no choice but to massacre everyone he suspected to be associated with the plot, including a few others for effect. If he’d simply killed only those few who were actually involved, he would have looked weak in front of other dictators who might doubt his psychopathy.

Some conservatives might want to argue that, because Saddam tried to assassinate the Elder Bush, by my logic he deserved to be reprimanded like the Dujail villagers. I’d like to remind them that the situations are completely different. Younger Bush, like his father did, pretends he’s not a dictator. And if you’re “not a dictator”, you can’t use force.

If Bush were open about being a dictator, maybe he would have been justified in retaliating against Saddam by invading Iraq and building an elected representative government. But you can’t have it both ways. As long as you pretend to be the “elected” head of a free society, diplomacy is the only acceptable course of action. This is just another reason why the invasion of Iraq and Saddam’s trial were immoral — they were carried out by a democracy and not a despotic regime. The only thing that should ever be killed by a responsible, moral society is an unwanted unborn child.

These kinds of double standards are essential. They effectively ensure that America is judged by a separate set of rules from most of the world. They guarantee that when a jihadist saws off an innocent civilian’s head on the internet, we apathetically wonder how someone could do that, but when an American soldier flushes a Koran down the toilet, there is violent worldwide outrage.

America made its bed. Now it’s gotta lie in it (yes, pun intended). That’s the price of being “great”.

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