I’m a Democrat and a Buddhist. I condemn the decision to kill Saddam Hussein. I condemn the manner in which he was tried and found guilty. His case should have been tried in the World Court at The Hague to avoid any question of deliberate intervention by the Bush administration.
I condemn Saddam for whatever heinous acts that he (may have) committed, and I am saddened that he was not kept alive for due process and litigation over other alleged crimes. I propose that all of us seek truth and promote due process and other rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America and by the Charter of the United Nations.
I believe the moral authority of the United States has somewhat diminished as a result of going to Iraq without evidence that there was, in fact, specific evidence of weapons of mass destruction, and that Iraq was, in fact, responsible for the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
I believe the moral authority of the United States has somewhat diminished because it did not officially encourage and act in a manner to have Saddam tried in the World Court at The Hague.
While I am a Buddhist and a Democrat, I am not necessarily antimilitary or anti-Republican. As a Buddhist, however, I prefer peaceful actions over violence. As an American, I emphatically prefer due process and the rights preferred by the Constitution of the United States of America, its Bill of Rights, Eighth Amendment: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
If we dare to call ourselves citizens of the United States of America – Americans – we should respect our Bill of Rights and extend those protections to others affected by our government’s policies.
Moreover, our government should be held to hold the Constitution of the United States in the highest regard by commitment to both the word and spirit of our Constitution and by our obligations as a signatory of the Charter of the United Nations.
Hate and death penalties are not encouraged in our Constitution. What is encouraged, relevant to the death penalty, is implied in the Eighth Amendment.
Our policies in Iraq, post- Saddam’s depose as the President of Iraq, have led to confusion and violence. I hope that our continued presence in Iraq will bring about peace in Iraq. At the same time, I wonder if the Bush administration has learned from the French Revolution – going deeply into debt to other countries (in this case, the People’s Republic of China) to finance the American Revolution (in this case, actions that have resulted in a civil war in Iraq), eventually falling into bankruptcy.
While I am an internationalist, I question the direction of the Bush administration in its largely solo efforts to bring control over Iraq. Allowing Saddam to be executed, by the U.S. handing the deposed dictator to a largely Shiite government, was a gross injustice. I propose that more people take time today to Google “Charter of the United Nations” and at least read its concise preamble.
We live in a small world. How can we make it safer for all; how can we dissipate the rationale that brings terrorists together; how can we further compel unstable countries to embrace free trade and friendship; how can we act to encourage humanity toward greater humanity?
Please ask these questions, seek answers to them and please do not resort to sarcasm or shallow patriotism.
Barry N. Peterson is University alumnus. Please send comments to [email protected]