The UnAustralian

Monday, August 11, 2003
Hypocrisy And Death Penalties

Neil Clark has written an article for todays Oz, on hypocrisy and the death penalty, where essentially, he accuses Tony Blair and John Howard of hypocrisy for the stance on the death penalty and their support for the war on Iraq.

And this makes me do something which I would never thought that I would do. Defend John Howard. But here goes.

Neil Clark's argument can be summarised as anybody (well technically, most people) who support the assassination of Saddam Hussein, while opposing the death penalty is a hypocrite.

I oppose the death penalty. While I opposed the war in Iraq as well, it would have been better if the initial US strike on the Iraqi leadership (specifically Saddam and his sons) had have been successful.

I can reconcile these views, because I see both of them as being in support of the most realistic humanitarian outcome possible. While it would be better to capture Saddam and co, and place them on trial (at which time, I would oppose their execution), had they died at the start of the war, then the Ba'athist government would have probably crumbed quicker, and the lives of hundreds or maybe thousands of people would have been saved. It's not a perfect scenario, but if given the choice between (a) Saddam on trial and many extra Iraqi deaths, or (b) Saddam dead in a bunker, and a lower casualty count; I'll go for (b). Of course, it would be much better if me could have option (c) with Saddam on trial, and a lower casualty count - but how realistic is this option?

Clark appears to divide the world into 3 groups; those who support the death penalty, those who oppose all state killings, and hypocrites. I would suggest that it's far more complicated than that.
| 6:40 PM