There are so many reasons why the hurried execution of Saddam Hussein is wrong that it’s hard to know where to begin. I am opposed to capital punishment – and this kind of flawed process confirms me in that opposition. It won’t bring closure – just add more fuel to the flames. It denies justice to the numberless families for the death of whose loved ones he was responsible. It gives him instant martyrdom – a fast track out of history into mythology. It undermines the very values which the invasion was supposed to establish. And beyond that, it removes any possibility of change of heart, remorse, of being part of the ultimate solution …. it freezes things at their very worst.
The Irish papers are full of the progression which Sinn Fein is making towards acceptance/support of the police in both parts of Ireland. It will be hard for many people who lived through the violent years to see it. But this is a remarkable piece of political leadership on the part of Gerry Adams. Brendan Behan once said that the first item on the agenda of any Irish political party is ‘The Split’. So to bring the Republican Movement – without a split – through decommissioning of weapons to recognition of the authority of the police is a really significant feat of leadership. But no one should be dewy-eyed about this. There is still very little warmth around and almost no trust in the political world of Northern Ireland. But it is ‘jaw, jaw’ and, in the background, the faint sound of swords being beaten ..