PJM is going to have a blogfest on trying Saddam tomorrow. We’re utterly and completely opposed to this sort of nonsense. Trials of defeated war opponents are only hypocritical exercises in victor’s justice, and embody the worst kind of wet, liberal impulses in the direction of internationalism and empty formalism. We ought to behave like rational adults.
When we capture an adversary like Saddam, we ought either to decide to be genteel and humane about the whole thing, and exile el supremo to some remote form of permanent imprisonment on a little St. Helena of his own. Or, we should avoid fooling around, and instruct the US commander on the scene to whistle up a drumhead court martial, followed directly by a firing party, as soon as the malefactor falls into US hands. In cases where we have good reason to eliminate a tyrant with extreme prejudice, we should hang him. C’est tout.
What we do these days is all empty ceremony and folderol designed to humbug ourselves into believing that we have become superior superhuman entities, that we are above mere vengeance. Of course, we still desire vengeance, and fully intend to have it, and enjoy it. But we insist on lying to ourselves and the world, and pretending that, so omnipotent is our materialist and bourgeois way of life, that, by us, even vengeance and killing can be rationalized and domesticated.