Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Still More on Despots: Why Saddam's Execution Matters

The immaculate Victor Davis Hanson, with a classicist's eye for the patterns of history, dissects utterly current discussion on the fates of the world's murdering dictators. Saddam, he notes, is the only one of late to have been tried, allowed to cross-examine witnesses, convicted and executed, however imperfectly.

And so we quote from Hanson's bitter conclusion--emphasis, hardly needed, inserted by us:

But there is an even more disturbing paradox--the very moral contradictions of contemporary international justice itself. In today's leisured world it is apparently better to be inactively perfect than actively good.

When the world conveniently doesn't save the millions of innocents who are collectively butchered by a Bokassa, Amin, Pol Pot, Karadzic, Mladic, Milosevic, the Hutu thugs, or those now in Darfur, the paralyzed international community often feels downright bad. But never quite bad enough to have risked blood and treasure to hunt them down, to enter into the messy arena of a publicized trial, and to endure sanctimonious criticism to ensure them a fair enough, but never quite flawless, justice. To paraphrase Aristotle, most find it instead far easier to be ethical in their sleep.

To reconcile this embarrassing divide between theoretical justice and messy action, the new global moral majority on the sidelines feels better by harping at the rare others who attempt what they, the ashamed, don't dare.

So last month, the infant and imperfect Iraqi democracy that tried--not the horrendous old Saddam Hussein who murdered--found itself on trial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've heard it said, "Those who can't do, teach." But I say unto you, "Verily, Verily, those who can't do, complain about those who can and do."