A Petition on Behalf of Saddam Hussein
[On December 13, 2003, Iraq's former dictator was captured in Tikrit, hiding in a six foot hole. At that time we issued a petition, asking that his life be spared for the future educative value of having him available to any and all historians, Muslim scholars, and psychologists. Our petition below was denied, but we feel it should be useful as a guide for American military who are still in the dictator arrest business.]Islamic law is specific about "crimes against the people." The punishment for such is the severing of one or both hands, disembowelment, and/or death by starvation, mutilation or stoning.However after a suitable trial by Hussein's peers, we suggest that the government of the United States should step in to parcel out an appropriate punishment for the former dictator, utilizing the Hague Convention and the example of previous trials of such malefactors.One is reminded of the case of poet Ezra Pound. Pound lived in Italy and worked with the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, broadcasting anti-American tirades during the course of WWII. He was captured at the end of the war and faced the death penalty for treason. However, through the good offices of his friends in high places, he was eventually remanded to an insane asylum, St. Elizabeth's, just outside Washington D.C. He was incarcerated there for fourteen years.We would hope that those in Washington who helped in Hussein's astounding rise to power in Iraq would enter a plea for the ex-dictator to suffer a similar, non-fatal punishment.
Hussein is an invaluable source of information for historians, students of Iraqi culture and politics, political scientists looking into the nature of power and tyranny, and, most of all, students of psychology. The chance for professors, graduates, and MA and PhD candidates to have their own personal despot on hand would be a crown jewel in the diadem of contemporary American scholarship.
Imagine the chance to study the very man who possessed and maintained absolute power in a neo-industrialized nation of some 20,000,000 people for almost a quarter-century. We can only begin to imagine the research that would flow from professors and students meeting face-to-face with this living tyrant, creating in the process worthy research into the social, psychological, historical, economic, physical and biological factors that created such an individual.
Although there are many people of Iraq and the United States who will demand the death penalty, this would be an appropriate time for the Bush administration to demonstrate --- at perhaps the deepest level --- what they have chosen to call "Compassionate Conservatism."
There are other factors that come into play. Ezra Pound once told a fellow writer that it would have been an act of mercy for the military authorities to have put him to death shortly after he was captured. He said that anything was preferable to being placed in a madhouse and subsequently being on call to any and all PhD and MA candidates and a variety of professors of various disciplines who were given unlimited access to study him in statu quo ante bellum.
Pound stated that being subjected to the questions of those who wished to build a career atop his poetic body was enough to drive a grown man mad. He considered the punishment as being even worse than being put to the rack, much less execution.
Once Hussein's trial is complete, it would thus behoove the current administration and the dictators' former supporters to see to it that he is thus protected from execution and placed in suitable quarters (Guantánamo Bay would be ideal) with the caveat that any and all students of Middle Eastern history, Iraqi culture, political science, government power strategy, third world economics, and psychology would have access to the prisoner any and all hours of the day or night.
"Would you call your mother a loving, responding individual?" might be an appropriate question addressed to the former tyrant. "Did you ever feel antagonism towards your father?" could be another. "Describe your early toilet training?" "When did you first masturbate?" "What did you think about when you were masturbating?" "Do you have any fetishes?" "Describe your earliest love affairs?" "Would you describe yourself as being a 'loving father'?" etc. etc. etc.
American scholarship, indeed, the very future of the present administration might well benefit from the in-depth study of one who had been there, done that.--- Rev. A. W. Allworthy