There was an inevitability about the death sentence on Saddam Hussein. And I am sure that if I was one of the countless people whose families had been killed as a result of his appalling rule, I would feel that, in some limited way, justice had been done. But from the outside, it doesn’t feel that way. More that the moral authority which is needed if such a verdict is to give closure and bring the hope of new beginning is not there.
One of the things which distinguishes a way of life and decision-making which is rooted in spiritual values is that one does not do all the things which one either has the power to do or feels entitled to do. Isn’t that how God acts – or chooses not to act? For example, forgiveness comes up over the horizon at the point where a person who has suffered injury chooses not to express the anger or seek the revenge to which they are entitled. Even on an ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ basis, the death of Saddam Hussein is a dreadfully inadequate recompense for his crimes against humanity. The death sentence may satisfy those who are simply vengeful – but I am not sure that it satisfies more than that.