Barbarians In Our House

About the hanging of Saddam Hussein, David Horowitz writes:

Revenge is justice. Saddam should have been drawn and quartered. The best thing about his execution was the presence of Shi’ia muslims taunting him with the memory of one of his Shi’ia victims. The shameless left and shameless liberals who would have kept this monster in power and are now shedding tears over the fact that he was killed should have the decency to let the Iraqis have their moment of revenge, pitiful as it is compared to the crimes this monster committed.

Let’s see…


1. Malicious injury, harm or wrong done in return for injury, harm or wrong received; retaliation; vengeance.
Thesaurus: vengeance, reprisal, retaliation, retribution, requital, satisfaction.
2. Something that is done as a means of returning like injury, harm, etc.3. The desire to do such injury, harm, etc.4. A return match or game, seen as an opportunity for the person, team, etc that was defeated the first time to even the score. Also used as an adjective.
Example: a revenge match.


1. The quality of being just; just treatment; fairness.
Thesaurus: fairness, impartiality, equity, honesty, integrity, rightfulness, truth, appropriateness.
2. The quality of being reasonable.3. The law, or administration of or conformity to the law.
Example: a miscarriage of justice
Thesaurus: adjudication, arbitration, legal process, due process, litigation, prosecution, judgement, trial, regulation; validity, legitimacy, lawfulness, authority, constitutionality, legality.
4. The title of a judge.
Form: Justice
5. A justice of the peace.(N Amer, especially US)6. A judge.
Idiom: bring someone to justice
To arrest and try them.
Idiom: do justice to someone or something
To treat them fairly or properly.
Thesaurus: honour, pay tribute to, respect, esteem.
To show their full merit, etc.
colloqTo appreciate (a meal, etc) fully.
Idiom: do justice to oneself (do oneself justice)
To fulfil one’s potential.
Idiom: in justice to someone or something
To be fair to them.

Nope. Revenge isn’t justice.

Where does one start in responding to Horowitz’s barbaric attitude? With the idea that, as a culture, we’ve made a decision that justice is a thing of law? That we collectively shudder at the idea of lynching—no matter how justified—for it is revenge trumping justice? With the fact that Horowitz is conflating Shiites with all Iraqis—including the Sunnis whose celebration of the holiday of Id el-Adha begins one day earlier, on exactly the day that Saddam was hanged—turning this into a sectarian insult?

Are we, rather than trying to bring the Iraqis “up” to our level (the putative right-wing goal) really just bringing ourselves “down”?

And who, exactly, kept Saddam in power? Donald Rumsfeld, for one. Even George the First felt it better to have Saddam in power than to take him out.

Liberals were never supporters or enablers of Saddam. The right cannot say the same. Horowitz knows this, but dishonorably twists opposition to the invasion of Iraq into support for him. Support, let me repeat, that was never there.

The shameful way that this execution was carried out should appall everyone. It doesn’t matter what Saddam did or what one thinks about it. What matters is how we think about ourselves.

Compare this whole sequence, from capture to death, with that surrounding the equally horrible Nazi criminals who were put to death through the Nuremburg trials. There, no one, not even opponents of the death penalty, could argue that the dignity of the accusers had been compromised.

The only thing I can think to say to Horowitz is to ask him the question attorney for the US Army Joseph Welch asked Joe McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Though we know the answer as surely about Horowitz as we do about his role model.