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Saddam to hang

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What do you think of the death penalty?

 

Eh, what they do to Sadam in Iraq is the business of the Iraqis.

 

As for the death penalty in the United States (where I live)... My objection to the death penalty isn't so much that I pity the convicted, as that I object to my government having that much power -- the power to execute someone.

 

Once somebody is stopped (as in imprisonment) from violating the rights of others, I see no necessity in taking it any further. Especially considering that there have been cases where people have been mistakenly accused and convicted. You can always free a prisoner, but you can't reverse an execution.

 

But my main objection is to my government having the power of execution, along with those additional powers that our current presidential administration assumes for itself more and more each year.

 

-- Nephele

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As for setting an example by hanging - that's really worked well in the past......hasn't it ?

I think once a person gets to the point where gassing and killing tens of thousands of people is acceptable, we're no longer dealing with someone who is capable of thinking "oh, better not do this, after all I might hang for it like that other guy". I think capital punishment is eye for an eye justice plain and simple. I make no judgement about the right or wrong of it, but I'm glad my government doesn't use it.

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As for setting an example by hanging - that's really worked well in the past......hasn't it ?

I think once a person gets to the point where gassing and killing tens of thousands of people is acceptable, we're no longer dealing with someone who is capable of thinking "oh, better not do this, after all I might hang for it like that other guy". I think capital punishment is eye for an eye justice plain and simple. I make no judgement about the right or wrong of it, but I'm glad my government doesn't use it.

 

Well said, Germanicus. The idea of the death penalty acting as a deterent has always been spurious, in my opinion; yet it is the argument that many in England who want the death penalty brought back have used. One of our most notorious child-killers here, Ian Brady (still alive in prison after 40 years), carried out his crimes over a period of five years before hanging was abolished in England. In fact it was abolished only months before his capture. So the threat of the rope certainly didn't deter him, and of course it would not have deterred a man with the power of Saddam. Saddam would not have ever considered being in the position he is now, and as for the individual - Brady did not believe he would ever be caught. Did Bundy?

 

I tend to agree that it is 'an eye for an eye' justice, and I would not wish to see it ever brought back to England. Having said that, I do concede that it is maybe easier to uphold this principle when our country has not been subjected to the atrocities of a tyrant like Saddam. I just want it to be an Iraqi decision.

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It's impossible to determine whether capital punishment has a deterrent effect from a few negative cases (like Bundy). After all, an advocate of the deterrent hypothesis could reply that 100s more DIDN'T engage in mass murder due to the existence of capital punishment. (Not that I buy that argument, but as a logical matter...)

 

Best I can tell, the deterrent effect is very small, suggesting either that capital punishment has no such effect or that the way it's administered (e.g., with a long appeals process) undercuts it.

 

In any case, I agree with Germanicus that the deterrent effect isn't the best argument for capital punishment in ordinary criminal cases. But I'd still like to see tyrants like Mussolini, Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Saddam Hussein, and their apparatchiks (like Eichmann and Beria) swiftly and lawfully executed as a social statement that the reign of the dictator is definitely finished and his partisans should just give up. In these cases, the trials and executions might go a long way toward awakening society from their slumber of obedience and servility.

 

I'd note that after the Catiline conspirators were executed, vast numbers of Catiline's supporters immediately deserted him, thereby saving thousands of Roman lives. To me, that's a classic case of executions doing the job they were intended to do.

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I was also going to chime in on a similar note but decided that it wasn't worth the time it would have taken to form the argument, so thanks to everyone who has done so, suffice to say I agree.

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