Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thank God for Justice At Last

The New York Times today reports (free registration required) about preparations for the first executions since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

"We know that public opinion is eagerly waiting for this," said Ghadanfar Hamood al-Jasim, the chief general prosecutor of Iraq, of the Kut case, which his office oversaw. "They are in pain and they are waiting for justice to take its course."

That was certainly true of the families of three police officers who were among those killed by the three men, who in May confessed to 63 crimes, an unknown number of them killings.

. . . .

One of the defendants, a taxi driver, Bayan Ahmed Said, described how he had cut out the eyes of one of the victims and then put them in his pocket in order to take them to a sheik who he said had ordered the murders.

The other two defendants were a builder and a butcher.

The men also were convicted of raping women, beheading them afterward and throwing the bodies into a river.

The usual suspects -- outside Iraq of course -- complain about various procedures not being followed, and the possibility of mistakes; being human they will happen. The people in Iraq know better:

Still, the current system is widely considered a vast improvement from the time of Mr. Hussein. Though thousands of families were destroyed in his system, few equate it with today's proposed executions, human rights advocates said.

Aiad Jamal al-Din, a Shiite intellectual who supports the death penalty, said Iraqis even wanted public executions. He gave a succinct explanation for the popular support for the death penalty: "This is a war field. In every war, innocent people fall down."

In the early days of the insurgency, with the first suicide car-bombings, one constantly heard the refrain from the shocked bystanders, "No Iraqi could have done this, no Muslim could have done this" and even "If the Americans would just go away all of this would stop." The Iraqi people seemed unable to accept the facts staring them in the face: that it wasn't just Saddam's government that was the author of their misery, but thousands upon thousands of ordinary Iraqis, Sunni Arabs, who were Saddam's willing executioners, and, now that he had fallen, were willing to kill however many it took to get back in power. For the ordinary Iraqi, especially the Shi'ites, being Muslim was a reason to love your fellow Muslims, but the terrorists had gone deep into the esoteric "knowledge" beyond good and evil, the secret placed by Satan at the heart of every religion, that the favored of God must sin and sin again to prove the power of grace. And so blind vegetarians lived in a kingdom of seeing cannibals. And the Americans, living in their dreamland of peaceful, consensual movement of all Iraqis toward a mature democracy without the ugly business of retribution, never wanted to open their eyes, banning the death penalty and insisting that the insurgency was just a few "dead-end Ba'athists." Since then, it's been (in Daniel Pipes's phrase) "education by murder." And the Shi'ite vegetarians now have eyes in their heads and can see past the "Islam! Islam!" banner the Sunni cannibals carry.

Mankind's been here before. Before the flood, God put his mark on Cain, the first murderer, keeping him free from man's hands, at the pain of a seven fold vengeance. And so Cain seed, Lamech, could kill at will, confident that God would avenge his death seventy-seven fold (Genesis 4). He did it so that the goodness of God might move them to repentance (Romans 2:4). But it didn't. The cannibal children of Cain ate the vegetarian children of Seth until wickedness overflowed the world. And God swept the whole place clean and gave a new rule: Now men -- good men, just men -- will eat animals, now the fear and dread of Noah's seed, the seed of Seth, will fall upon every creature. And now for the lifeblood of any man, God will demand blood from whoever sheds it, man or animal:

Whoever sheds the blood of man,
By man shall his blood be shed,
For in the image of God
Has God made man.

Now the rabbits are biting back, the hunters getting hunted. May God bless them to use this new power firmly and wisely.

UPDATE: David Warren's new column on the Iraqi constitution is right on the money.