Opinion

EDITORIAL : The murder of Saddam

The intentional murder of any individual, whether in a civil situation or in the atmosphere of war, is unjustifiable in any case because of the inherent violation of the right to life of the murdered individual. Call it what you want-revenge, battle, assassination, or execution-the murder of one sentient being by direct and concerted action of another is not within the rights of the murderer, but sadly, it is within his power.
That power to kill, the power to violate the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that every human should enjoy, grows stronger with time and developing technology. Man’s power to kill has evolved from sabers and daggers to handheld pistols to ultimately smart bombs and high-powered sniper rifles, and his thirst for blood has grown seemingly more unquenchable through the millennia.
Murder can be dichotomized into divisions determined by society and the ruling class. There’s the “unjustifiable,” for example, when a jealous lover slaughters the cheating partner and confidante in an emotional rage; and the “justifiable,” for example, assassinations of political figures and executions of criminals (moral decisions handed down by those on high and carried out by subordinates with the belief that the deaths are within reason). In sad, harsh reality, neither division of murder is justifiable; the right to life, granted by whatever, cannot be ethically denied by another equal being.
Judges and juries decide the mortal fate of a convicted criminal and immorally violate the right to life of the victim/criminal. These judges and juries are murderers in the plainest sense, but the blame for capital punishment extends further into the hypocritical, ironic depths of society.
Similarly, assassination of “troublesome” political or military figures or murder in war are no less immoral-they are simply converted into more impersonal murder through the convenience of chain of command.
The point is that murder, the denial to right of life of another, is completely without justification, and tragically commonplace. At this moment, husbands are unjustifiably battering their spouses to death, a mugger is unjustifiably shooting his most recent victim, a judge is unjustifiably holding up the death sentence of a convicted criminal, a dictator is unjustifiably killing his own citizens, and a nation’s armed forces are unjustifiably violating the rights to life of an entire nation, most specifically its ruler.
Saddam Hussein’s death sentence was never approved by a deliberative trial, and an unbiased judge and jury of his peers. It was never even publicly clarified until it was obviously and irreversibly in effect, and now, the front page of every major periodical carries some information concerning the bloody, bombed-out hunt for the life of Saddam Hussein. “We know we hit him; we know he was wounded,” repeat the intelligence officials desperate to find some evidence that their mission of murder was completed.
War is inevitable, assassination is necessary, and both are justifiable, most will argue, especially those with vested interests in the murderous consequences. True, war is tragically unavoidable
history attests to that), and murder enjoys the ironic paradox of being unjustifiable and inevitable. Yet, it is a certainty that by the time this article is published, or soon after, the priority assassination mission of the US armed forces will have succeeded. The outcome is certain, the president has been heard to say, and only the wait is incalculable.

March 28, 2003

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.