When we use the death penalty, we do to the criminal exactly what he did to his victims. And on many well-documented occasions, we've done it to people who were later proved to be innocent of the charges against them. So how, exactly, are we better than they are?
Good then try to explain how Saddam is not guilty. If there is ever a case that tosses out the claim of the facing the death penalty might be innocent this is the case. I'll be the first to say I'm not a huge fan of the death penalty being applied liberally and a lot because it does catch innocent people. I'm not going to advocate it being used in cases where you are relying on the testimony of one or two people who may have seen the crime or some physical evidence. But when someone commits genocide, walks into a school or other public place and shoots it up, or does some other murderous crime where there is an overwhelming pile of witnesses and evidence against them I have no problem with them walking to the gallows.
So I say again prove how Saddam might be an innocent man and doesn't deserve to hang if that is the burden of your argument against the death penalty in this case? Because ultimately what we are talking about in this thread is Saddam.
Yes, ultimately that is what we are talking about, Kerry--but it's not what we were talking about here. Out of context quoting makes that harder to discern, so I've restored your remark above ("what it comes down to...").
I'm not gonna argue that Saddam was innocent -- Clearly, he was guilty as sin. He was a murderer and a torturer and a rapist many hundreds--if not thousands--of times over. He was also a war criminal. If anyone ever deserved the death penalty, it was him. But no one ever does.
Better to keep him in solitary in Abu Ghraib for the rest of his life. And, for those concerned with vengeance: Saddam's suffering is over now. His punishment has been meted out. Take him out of the oven -- He's done.
Don'tcha think his crimes deserved a few more years (or decades) of monotonous tedium confined to a 5 by 5 cell, eating garbage and getting abused by the guards? (And remember what a rich, rich man this was -- His previous standard of living was so opulent, it was Khashoggi-esque.)
I'm just saying: that seems like the greater punishment to me.
It's the difference between pulling the bandaid off all at once -- or one hair at a time. It's obvious to me which is more grueling.
This answer also has the virtue of not dragging us down to his level.
The bottom line is this: if we cannot devise a policy that makes absolutely certain no innocent person is ever executed, then no person should ever be executed -- just to make sure. This is the school of thought on which our entire justice system was founded: better to let 100 guilty men go free than see 1 innocent man hanged.
That's a high standard to live up to, certainly -- and, IMO, that's as it should be.
Then what were we suppose to do?
Keep paying for the next 20 years for the upkeep of a man who had murdered a few people with his own hands and ordered the death of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of other people?
Pottery Barn rules, G. That man's fate wasn't our problem until we made it our problem. He was contained. He wasn't a threat to anyone, let alone to us. But we decided to go in there anyway. So "what are we supposed to do?" isn't particularly persuasive -- We didn't have to do anything, and we certainly shouldn't've gone in there pretending to have all the answers when we didn't have any.
And please don't trot out the old money canard -- That's been definitively debunked, at least as regards the American justice system. It actually costs MORE for us to put someone to death than it does to keep them locked up for the rest of their lives:
Well, that's the kind of thing that dictators tend to say. This is not the Old West. Justice is not justice if one must *defy* the law to achieve it--and anyone who does so becomes a criminal himself. The law is not perfect--far from it--but it's all we've got. It's what separates us from people like Saddam.
It's been proved, time and again, that the death penalty does not work as a deterrent. The people we're talking about live their day to day lives in fear of being killed by their enemies -- They've made their peace with it.
This is just one of my pet peeves. It's not inhuman. It is, in fact, within human nature to do these things. We are, after all, animals. It is--thankfully--also within human nature to refrain from responding to depravity with more depravity. We can, and should, respond in the most civilized way possible -- because we're supposed to be better than them. That means life in prison.
If you think so, then you haven't listened to what the prisoners themselves say. Uniformly, they say that the tedium of prison life -- the day to day monotony of a routine that never changes -- is far, far harder to endure than execution (which, of course, doesn't need to be endured for more than a few minutes).
I've never understood people who think that prison is a cake-walk. You realize they can't leave until they die, right? Death is their only exit. Why hasten it?