Friday, January 12, 2007

What was the Holy See Thinking?

Along with Robert T. Miller, I ask the question: Just what, oh what, was the Holy See thinking when they issued the statement on the execution of Saddam Hussein? I think Magdi Abdelhadi, BBC Middle East Analyst based in Cairo, gets it about right in his article Witness tells of Saddam's last moments, when he writes, before getting to what the eyewitness told him:

"A scarf was used when Saddam refused to wear a hood Saddam Hussein was executed at dawn on the first day of the Eid al-Adha, just as Sunni Muslims were preparing to make their sacrificial offering by killing a sheep to celebrate the end of the pilgrimage season.

"The crass symbolism did not escape them. Many were outraged. And there was further outrage when a new video of the execution was posted on the internet - this one taken with a mobile phone, and with a soundtrack.

"For Arab public opinion, which had long believed that the trial was unfair, filming the execution was triumphalist and in bad taste.

"The shouting of Shia religious slogans and hurling of abuse at Saddam Hussein as he was stepping up to the gallows was, for many, evidence that this was closer to a lynching than the orderly execution that the government had described."

With Miller, I ask (Yes, I am being very sarcastic), where's the evidence to back up Fr. Lombardi's empirical claim that executing Saddam risked being a cause of escalating violence in Iraq? Where, asked the blind man? The question is not, Was Saddam Hussein a brutal, ruthless, pitiless tyrant? He clearly was that and more. The question is more about what kind of Iraq will emerge from the smoldering ruins.

I am happy that this 200th post of my blog is on a matter of faith of morals as urgent for the United States as it is for Iraq.

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