Bad ideas.

Posted by admin
Oct 19 2006

With Election Day closing in fast, I think it presents a good opportunity for everyone to exercise their political muscles. So, with an eye on today’s news, let’s take a look at a few really bad ideas that have made headlines:

Execute Saddam Hussein: It sure sounds nifty if you are the revenge-seeking type, but there are two problems with this idea. First, of course, is that the death penalty does not provide the closure people seek. That’s my typical anti-death penalty argument here in the states, but think of it this way: How could his death make up for or provide a sense of justice for the thousands killed and the millions oppressed by his rule? He might have been at the top of Iraq’s Ba’athist food chain, but Hussein had a large number of people do his bidding. If a person were to believe that executions provided justice, then a lot more people who did his bidding should find themselves in front of a noose. This begs the question, where does justice end and mass killings begin?

Second, and more importantly here, executing Hussein is probably the fastest way to make things even worse in Iraq than they are at the present time. Keep him locked up. Have him spout his whacked-out thoughts. Retain him as a shining example of a crazy old coot who fell from dictatorial power. Do anything, but don’t make him a martyr for pro-Saddam supporters to rally around.

Have South Korea put pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program: Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice thinks it’s a good idea, but I think it ranks as one of the worst ideas out there today. Someone should tell her that these two nations are, technically, still in a state of war. If something went wrong with this strategy to compel Pyongyang to end its nuclear program it could set back the tenuous relations between the two nations at best or result in a full-blown war that could end in the deaths of hundreds of thousands at worst.

I should note that South Korea’s people and government are not particularly thrilled with Rice’s suggestion and will continue with their policy toward reconciliation between the divided peninsula.

Give the president the power to arrest you, try you, and execute you for no particular reason: Naturally, the Bush administration will say that they are arresting, trying, and executing people from foreign lands who mean to do harm to the United States; they will also say that the public doesn’t need to know about it. Yeah, okay, whatever, but what would happen if a president “decided” that we needed to arrest, try and execute people from the “homeland” (what an awful term – sounds like the fascist ideas of the 1920s and 1930s have come back to life) who mean to do harm to the United States and that the public doesn’t need to know about it?

It’s not as far a leap as most people might think. Once we begin to rationalize the treatment of any person in a manner that violates the most basic principles of human rights for some people, we open the door to rationalizing it for other groups of people. Maybe this president or a future president might “decide” that it is not enough to arrest foreigners from nations that are predominantly Muslim and seek to expand his or her powers to Muslims in America? Maybe Muslims in America aren’t enough and that president expands it to people who disagree with his or her policy on this inhumane treatment of people by arguing that dissent gives aid and comfort to the terrorists? It sounds far-fetched at first blush, but it is possible to see such developments upon greater reflection. Human rights are meant for all, for the best and the worst among us. To deny the basic human rights to anyone weakens it for everyone.

Trackback URL for this entry