I'm feeling queasy today, but it's not morning sickness. Saddam Hussein died this morning, hanged in Iraq for his crimes against humanity. And as evil as he was (and please don't think I've forgotten how evil he was), I cannot help but be horrified by the calcuated way in which his death was planned, announced and carried out. I felt the same way in the summer of 1997, when I sat on the bed in my father's hospital room and listened as the news of Timothy McVeigh's death sentence broke.
In rational terms, I think I understand why we have a death penalty. Certainly, if someone ever hurt my child or my husband, I think I'd probably want to see them dead. And yet, I have this horrible gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I hear of an execution. It just seems inhuman for any state to decide when and how a person will die, and then carry out that decision in cold blood.
Of course, that's exactly what Hussein did, countless thousands of times. And I'm sure that most of those that he killed (or caused to be killed) were innocents, guilty of nothing more than belonging to the wrong religious sect. Certainly, if anyone deserved to die for his crimes, it was this man. And yet. I'm queasy.