Not Like This


I can’t be the only one disturbed by the video of Qaddafi’s dead bloody body being thrown around and beaten for the camera. As one Lebanese-American journalist and activist I follow on twitter tweeted, @iRevolt: “It’s one thing to feel elated at the ousting, removal, etc. of a dictator; turning death into a corpse-whoring party is another.”

I thought of the sickening hanging of Saddam Hussein, where the rope tore through his throat. Although we didn’t witness it or see it, I imagine the shooting of Osama bin Laden wasn’t pretty either.

My mind tells me that these brutal monsters deserved all this and more, but my heart tells me that we lose something of ourselves in enjoying these things. My heart tells me that we should be better than that. For years I heard from the left how waterboarding made us less of who we should be, but isn’t killing worse? Isn’t taking a life the ultimate final torture?

At least with Saddam there was a trial, and he was found guilty and sentenced. But the barbaric way Qaddafi was killed, and then his corpse brutalized, made me sick to my stomach. Did those who shot him unarmed, and then kicked and spit on the dead body, not become a little of what Qaddafi was? A monster?

I know. I know. He was evil. As was Saddam and Osama. But still…….. I know in my heart this is not what God wants of us. Yes, we can arrest, try, and find someone guilty. That is humane. That is what separates us from chaos. It is what makes us a civil society. I’m one of those conservatives who doesn’t believe in the death penalty. I just think that there is something wrong with “the state” killing a person, when it is not in self defense. I see the other side, I really do. They say that these people have lost their right to live among us. But the whole idea of us deciding who gets to live and who gets to die, is disturbing to me whether it is an unborn child, the elderly, or a convicted murderer.

There is great suffering in living with one’s demons in a dark prison cell. I would imagine to the monsters of this world, death is a release, a relief. We believers know that their suffering will continue after death, but I just can’t bring myself to believe that we should push them there.

Many would argue that Saddam, Osama, and Qaddafi were just casualties in war. No different than if they had been on the battleground. But they weren’t on the battleground. They were, all three, hiding or running. No great warriors here. No bravery. They were, in the end, not leaders, but cowards. Yet for all the wrong they did, I still feel that we could doled out justice in a civil manner.

Not like this. Just not like this.

 

Related Articles

The Mythology Of Chomsky

Late last month, the fine folks at Holtzbrinck Publishers offered, via email, to send me a complimentary copy of Imperial

RWN’s New Design

I’ve been planning to redesign RWN for months and actually working on it for the last few weeks — well,

The Politics of Drilling

It may loom large in this election. As it now stands, Obama is staunchly in the “we won’t drill” camp.