THE CURSE OF HAMMURABI

THE CURSE OF HAMMURABI 

Hammuraabi 

The Hanging of Saddam Hussein

and

Anglo-American Influence on the Rule of Law in Iraq

by John Benneth

The following 3800 year old inscription, called The Code of Hammurabi was found on a stone monument Portrait of Saddam Hussein originally from Iraq. I’ve edited it for comprehension and brevity. In addition to a preface, epilogue and the following warning, or curse, it lists over 200 laws, which it is claims covers every conceivable conflict between the Iraqi people of its day, and for generations to follow.  The Code of Hammurabi is one of the oldest  (if not the oldest) and most complete records of law known in the world today. 

Hammurabi, the protecting king of Iraq am I. 

The great gods have called me in order to declare justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my precious words, written upon my memorial stone, before the image of me, as king of righteousness.

Let the oppressed, read the inscription. The inscription will explain his case to him; he will find out what is just:

When he reads the record, let him pray with full heart to Marduk, my lord, and Zarpanit, my lady; and then shall the protecting deities and the gods, who frequent E-Sagil, graciously grant the desires daily presented before Marduk, my lord, and Zarpanit, my lady.    In future time, through all coming generations, let the king, who may be in the land, observe the words of righteousness which I have written on my monument; let him not alter the law of the land which I have given, the edicts which I have enacted; my monument let him not mar the rule, statute, and law of the land Hammurabi bustwhich I have given.“If this ruler does not esteem my words, withdraw from him the glory of royalty, break his scepter, curse his destiny. May Bel, the lord who fixes destiny, order a rebellion which his hand can not control; may he let the wind of the overthrow of his habitation blow, may he ordain the years of his rule in groaning, years of scarcity, years of famine, darkness without light, death with seeing eyes be fated to him; may Bel order with his potent mouth the destruction of his city, the dispersion of his subjects, the cutting off of his rule, the removal of his name and memory from the land.

May Ishtar, the goddess of fighting and war change his grace into evil and shatter his weapons on the place of fighting and war, create disorder and sedition for him, strike down his warriors, deliver him into the hands of his enemies, and imprison him in the land of his enemies. http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/CODE.HTM

Hammurabi, Sixth King of Mesopotamia (Iraq), 1810 B.C. -1750 B.C. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammurabi

WAS THE ANGLO-AMERICAN WAR IN IRAQ A TRAP?

Law 1: If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.  The Code of Hammurabi 

The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ran jokes about Saddam’s death sentence.  A Daily Show “reporter” did a fake “LIVE FROM BAGHDAD” segment under the headline “Autocratic Asphyxiation.” The reporter said the death sentence was part of a plea bargain because “hanging in Iraq still constitutes death by natural causes”. Jon Stewart

Laughing, Stewart asked, “So when can we expect this hanging?” 

“In the spring, Jon, and if you’ve never seen a spring hanging, with the noose silhouetted against the honeysuckle . . .”

Nigel Farndale of the telegraph.co.uk. reacted to the Daily Show “humor” by writing:

“I dare say Americans have stronger stomachs for this sort of thing. They are comfortable with the concept of capital punishment, as they demonstrate every year with the execution of more than 100 of their citizens. But I couldn’t watch any more. I felt sick. The gags made me gag. Judicial murder degrades and dehumanises all concerned: judge, jury and executioner. Making jokes about someone who is to be executed, even if that someone is a genocidal tyrant, does the same.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/11/12/do1205.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/11/12/ixopinion.html

TURNED OFF 

According to Wikipedia, the short drop is a form of execution used in most Middle Eastern countries that causes death by aphyxiation.  You do  it  by putting the condemned man on the back of a horse or a cart with the noose around his neck. The horse is then spanked away, the doomed is yanked from his perch and dangled by the neck until dead.  Another way is to execute the short drop is to use a step ladder which is pulled away, leaving the victim hanging. A man hanged by a step ladder is said to have been “turned off.” 

MARK TWAIN’s HANGING

The long drop is the preferred method in America calculated to kill the victim with a drop that is just long enough to break his neck without completely decapitating him.

Mark Twain“My own suspense was almost unbearable — my blood was leaping through my veins, and my thoughts were crowding and trampling upon each other. Twenty moments to live — fifteen to live — ten to live — five — three — heaven and earth, how the time galloped! — and yet that man stood there unmoved though he knew that the sheriff was reaching deliberately for the drop while the black cap descended over his quiet face! — then down through the hole in the scaffold the strap-bound figure shot like a dart! — a dreadful shiver started at the shoulders, violently convulsed the whole body all the way down, and died away with a tense drawing of the toes downward, like a doubled fist — and all was over! I saw it all. I took exact note of every detail, even to Melanie’s considerately helping to fix the leather strap that bound his legs together and his quiet removal of his slippers — and I never wish to see it again. I can see that stiff, straight corpse hanging there yet, with its black pillow-cased head turned rigidly to one side, and the purple streaks creeping through the hands and driving the fleshy hue of life before them. Ugh!” Mark Twain report to the Chicago Republican on the hanging of John Millian, the convicted murderer of Julia Bullette. http://dmla.clan.lib.nv.us/docs/nsla/archives/mtwain.htm

A SLOW AND AGONIZING DEATH  

The face becomes engorged, turns blue through lack of oxygen and shows the classic signs of strangulation, little red dots on the face and in the eyes from burst blood vessels. The tongue sticks out, evidence of a  slow and agonising death by strangulation.  More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging

American Justice, Iraqi Style

Just what is meant by the word law, and how is it applied comparitively in these two societies? Can American law provide for Iraqi justice? The word “law” comes from the Anglo  Old Norse plural of lay, meaning those things laid down and settled. Follow along and this gets interesting. There is a nexus in this word lay in the English use of it. In the context of laity lay means “someone not of the clergy or professions,” traced back to the Greek “laos;” laos means the people, referred to as the “laity”; a layman is a common man, and in the oldest traditions  of the law, the law man was the lay man.

Law #2:    If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.  The Code of Hammurabi

It is my underlying thesis here that the American legal system is one of America’s inherent strength. Not only does she have a large legal class trained in the finer points of law, but more importantly, her trump card is that she employs her laity, the common man as the bulwark of the law.  Her professional class of lawyers is overseen by councils of grand and petit juries, constituted by her ordinary non professional citizens, drawn randomly from her communities. Her common class provides a check and balance for her professional class. 

This is not entirely unusual on the planet, but the American grand and petit Juries appear to be unique in the world today.

Law #3: If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death. The Code of Hammurabi

It may be just coincidence that the one country that makes most use of her laity as jurists in deliberating in actions in law has been regarded as the wealthiest, its high crime rate notwithstanding.

The lay jury system essentially throws into the system a roll of the dice.  There’s no control by the legal class of who sits on the indictment jury, and control of who sits on the petit juries is restrained.

The tradition of the laity being the law, as is exemplified in democracy and Western juries is at times in conflict with the carnival atmosphere of show trials attendant to professional lawyers and judges. Do commercial pressures on the law affect our judgment of it?

Consider how powerful the secret grand Jury is in American society. A Federal grand Jury can indict anyone or anything, from  the President of the United States down to . . . it has been said jokingly . . .  a ham sandwich.  The grand Jury arguably has more power than any other collective body in American government, and yet it remains a collection of anonymous laymen, selected at random, who are paid nothing but a minimum of their expenses, dragooned by duty to temporarily sit as secret, and hopefully impartial judges, assembled to decide whether or not to formerly accuse, or indict, those suspected of crimes.

Traditionally, if the grand Jury indicts, it issues what is called a “true bill” and remands the accused for trial by a petit jury.

Sortition is a lottery, where the choices are made by chance. In this way the jury differs from a government of democratic election, as a government of Anglo Saxon sortition. Greco-American democracy and the Anglo-American jury system theoretically synchronize to work side by side in American society.

“Juries invest each citizen with a sort of magisterial office; they make all . . . feel that they have duties toward society and that they take a share in its government.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

 The Anglo-American war to make Iraq democratic raises the question of what kind of legal system American lawmakers are settling for in Iraq. If it is incumbent on American foreign policy to impose a political system on a country, then the question of what kind of legal system that country is supposed to have automatically goes with it. Is American style democracy compatible with the Iraqi legal system? If not, will America face the task of changing the Iraqi legal system? Is civil war breaking out in Iraq because the Iraqi legal system cannot temper the will of the masses evoked by democracy?

If there is an incompatibility between the political and legal systems of Iraq, could it be because the ideologues of American law and politics have not identified it as a problem yet?

O.J. GOLFS, SADDAM HANGS

When Americans fing themselves in a position of having to deploy their political system in a foreign country that they have invaded, they also find themselves in the position of having to deploy a compatible legal system to go with it.  It naturally follows then that Americans must believe that their legal and political systems are profoundly good and wise. It must also be understood, that a political system cannot operate without a compatible legal system.

The trial of O.J. Simpson shook American confidence in the jury’s ability to render competent verdicts.  In India the jury system, have given up the use of juries over cases where the popular opinion was that the accused should have been found guilty. 

Law #4:  If he satisfy the elders to impose a fine of grain or money, he shall receive the fine that the action produces.  The Code of Hammurabi

Once the Prime Directive of noninterference has been violated, it is even more irresponsible to simply walk away from it without leaving an operational system that keeps crime and mayhem at a minimum.  Can Americans claim that their politico-legal system keeps crime and mayhem at a minimum? Or would America be exporting her own chaos in imparting her political and legal systems to Iraq?

Twice, Iraq may not have a trained legal class to sustain an adversarial legal system. However, the beauty of the American legal system is its willingness to draw its judges from the common population to create, in effect, a common law judicature that is not necessarily dependent on a trained legal class. The grand jury does not employ the adversarial process.

Rather, it employs the inquistitorial where proceedings are secret and the accused is questioned directrly by the jury which also acts as the final judge, for indictment.  The grand Jury can operate with no professional judge or attorney, and theoretically, if it could not only indict, why couldn’t it also try, abjure, find innocent or convict?  Where there is no petit jury to remand to, where there is no adversarial process, the grand Jury form of proceedings could also act as the final arbiter.

Can a common law judicature be created in Iraq? This is a profound question.  

LAW #5:    If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge’s bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.  The Code of Hammurabi

We want them to have peace and prosperity, just as we wish it for ourselves. American democracy, with its will of the majority and all its election pageantry, tempered by the law as uttered out of the mouths of faceless American juries, are contrasted here in this article with the capture of a foreign leader, Saddam Hussein, by American forces. Hussein is put on trial in his own country under American martial rule.

What form of law is used to judge Hussein? And will it stick? How will it be judged historically by the Iraqi and American people, and the rest of the world? What kind of justice is being wrought here? What stage does it set for future justice in America, with her death sentences, prisons and crimes?  Can American justice work in foreign lands? Does it work in her own?

Contrast American justice with other systems of law-finding in other countries, such as Japan, India and in Arabic and European countries, where sometimes professional judges alone decide the outcome of cases.

I DARE SAY . . .  

Was Saddam Hussein indicted for murder or any other crime by a jury of his peers?I don’t think so.  The references I’ve found so far to an “Iraqi jury” appear to be mainly mere assumptions on the part of uninformed American pundits and bloggers (what is the difference?)  In truth, apparently, Iraqi juries don’t exist.

From a Google News Search, 11/11/06: “Your search – ‘Iraqi juries’ OR ‘Iraq juries’  – did not match any documents.” 

Jurist, at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu , a Web based legal research service run by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law reports:   “The Iraqi judiciary is not independent, and there is no check on the President’s power to override any court decision. In 1999 the UN Special Rapporteur on

Iraq and international human rights groups observed that the repressive nature of the political and legal systems precludes the rule of law.  . . .  Trials in the regular courts are public, and defendants are entitled to counsel, at government expense in the case of indigents. Defense lawyers have the right to review the charges and evidence brought against their clients. . . .  There is no jury system; panels of three judges try cases.”  http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/world/iraq.htm 

The emphasis is mine.  I haven’t seen anything otherwise to indicate that the trial of Saddam Hussein was tried in any way different than the way described by Jurist. 

  • THERE IS NO JURY SYSTEM IN IRAQ
  • THE IRAQI JUDICIARY IS NOT INDEPENDENT. 
  • THERE IS NO CHECK ON THE PRESIDENT’S POWER TO OVERRIDE ANY COURT DECISION

The judiciary in the Iraqi constitution contains no reference to a jury in its judiciary section. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposed_Iraqi_constitution  

Iraq apparently has no ”jury” other than what has been stated; panels of three judges try cases. From the land of Hammurabi, that is their traditional law.  

NOT FOR THE SUPERSTITIOUS 

Iraq may well be the birthplace of the oldest written laws on the planet, known as The Code of Hammurabi,   282 statutes full of death sentences, immolations and impalings, governing the disposition of slaves, wives, children, incest, adultery and presumably just about any kind of dispute, including judicial error. 

 Law #21: If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.  

One can read in Hammurabi, that the Iraqi people have traditionally, depended upon a demagogue for leadership since the beginning of recorded time. Here is Hammurabi, speaking of himself and what he hasdone for his people, who he speaks of in terms of ownership:

 I have not withdrawn myself from the men, whom Bel gave to me, the rule over whom Marduk gave to me, I was not negligent, but I made them a peaceful abiding-place. I expounded all great difficulties, I made the light shine upon them. With the mighty weapons which Zamama and Ishtar entrusted to me, with the keen vision with which Ea endowed me, with the wisdom that Marduk gave me, I have uprooted the enemy above and below (in north and south), subdued the earth, brought prosperity to the land, guaranteed security to the inhabitants in their homes; a disturber was not permitted.

Perhaps we should get back to talking about The Code of John Benneth 

IS THE U.S. COMMITTED TO EXPORTING RULE OF LAW?

Are we missing an important part of what we traditionally consider due process? It could be said then that without a  Iraq HangingHammarabi or a complete due process of law, Iraq really doesn’t have a justice system at all. And maybe this is the key to the violence in Iraq. Maybe it is a key to violence everywhere in the world. Jihadists and Crusaders alike should be emitting a loud “gulp.” As bad as he may be to you, consider that America may have essentially robbed Iraq of her Hammurabi. If America is going to do that, it has to replace it with another Hammurabi or something . . . if not a man, a process. Not just legislation, as in a code, but also a way of deliberating and executing that code. It would be stupid to assume tht the Iraqi people are legislative illiterates. To demonstrate the comphrensive and serious nature of this most ancient written law, read how  the Iraqi Code of Hammurabi sets severe penalties on a judge for judicial incompetence.

HC #5:   If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge’s bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement. http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/CODE.HTM

Can George Bush afford 12 times what his poor judgment has cost the Iraqi people. Maybe he can get a little help from Rumsfeld, Halliburton and the Republkican Party to pay that off. Maybe they can get a thousand year loan from China.

If Americans have the power to rain destruction on the Iraqi people, do they not ALSO have the transcendent power to rain down upon them their hypothetical system of justice? For the sake of those unjustly accused, is not the “rule of men” comparable to giving fish and bread to the hungry as the “rule of law” is comparable to teaching them how to fish and run bakeries? Could it be that

Is America NOT demanding from the Iraqi people a system of justice BECAUSE she has not demanded a true system of justice for herself? If America is in a position, as an occupying force imposing martial law rule on Iraq, then cannot the President of the United States mandate a common law jury system? If Americans are going to impose elections on Iraqis, why can’t they also impose a jury system?

SO MOTE IT BE

Are Americans in Iraq law givers or simply temporal conquerors?  Is not America supposed to be EXPORTING  “democracy” to the former Arab republic of Iraq? Where did all this despotism, brutality, dehumanization and a dysfunctional judicial system come from?

Texas 

If democracy is for export, and the test for true democracy is a rule of law, then what constitutes democracy and rule of law? Is it possible that the tyranny of the masses is incompatible with the rule of law? If there is anything truly within American power to impart to the Iraqi people, then should it not be something of real value, like what Lysander Spooner called “the palladium,” the nucleus of a just legal system? If it is not trial by jury that makes for rule of law, then what is it? Is it law by appointed mercenary? What is the best traditional American argument that has been made for a judicial process that uses juries taken from the people at large? 

“The ‘trial by jury,’ is a ‘trial by the country.’ It is a trial by the people, as distinguished from a trial the government.” – Lysander Spooner http://www.lysanderspooner.org/bib_new.htm

Spooner’s distinction between jury and government should make one stop and think for a moment. Does the

United States, or any country for that matter, really, in truth, conduct trials by the people? Or are all our modern legal systems, even those that make use of lay juries, essentially trials by the government? This is a seminal issue for a necessary and universal axionomy; it is the foundation for a national value system. Without real juries, can there be true justice? Without justice, can there be real peace? What are the differences between a “trial by the people” and a “trial by the government,” and why is it important that we recognize those differences?

Lysander Spooner

Perhaps as seminal as the Code of Hammurabi, more important and more advanced are Lysander Spooner’s essays on the law.

Spooner was a 19th century common law Boston lawyer. He loved dissembling code, constitution and legislature in the grinder of legal process. To Spooner, one thing and one thing only stands above it all, and that is, was and ever shall be

TRIAL BY JURY 

http://www.lysanderspooner.org/bib_new.htm

Spooner: It was anciently called “trial per pais” that is, “trial by the country.” And now, in every criminal trial, the jury are told that the accused “has, for trial, put himself upon the country; which country you (the jury) are.” The object of this trial “by the country,” or by the people, in preference to a trial by the government, is to guard against every species of oppression by the government. In order to affect this end, it is indispensable that the people, or “the country,” judge of and determine their own liberties against the government; instead of the government’s judging of and determining its own powers over the people. How is it possible that juries can do anything to protect the liberties of the people against the government if they are not allowed to determine what those liberties are?“The trial by jury,” then, is a “trial by the country” —that is by the people as distinguished from a trial by the government.Any government, that is its own judge of, and determines authoritatively for the people, what are its own powers over the people, is a tyranny, an absolute government of course. It has all the powers that it chooses to exercise. There is no other — or at least no more accurate — definition of despotism than this. It is supposed that, if twelve men be taken, by lot, from the mass of the people, without the possibility of any previous knowledge, choice, or selection of them, on the part of the government, the jury will be a fair epitome of “the country” at large, and not merely of the party or faction that sustain the measures of the government; that substantially all classes, of opinions, prevailing among the people, will be represented in the jury; and especially that the opponents of the government, (if the government have any opponents,) will be represented there, as well as its friends; that the classes, who are oppressed by the laws of the government, (if any are thus oppressed,) will have their representatives in the jury, as well as those classes, who take sides with the oppressor — that is, with the government.

Hitting close to home? I don’t know what you may think, but to me, this guy Spooner is brilliant, the American Coke, the Shakespeare of law.

It is fairly presumable that such a tribunal will agree to no conviction except such as substantially the whole country would agree to, if they were present, taking part in the trial. A trial by such a tribunal is, therefore, in effect, “a trial by the country.” In its results it probably comes as near to a trial by the whole country, as any trial that it is practicable to have, without too great inconvenience and expense. And, as unanimity is required for a conviction, it follows that no one can be convicted, except for the violation of such laws as substantially the whole country wish to have maintained. The government can enforce none of its laws, (by punishing offenders, through the verdicts of juries,) except such as substantially the whole people wish to have enforced. The government, therefore, consistently with the trial by jury, can exercise no powers over the people, (or, what is the same thing, over the accused person, who represents the rights of the people,) except such as substantially the whole people of the country consent that it may exercise. In such a trial, therefore, “the country,” or the people, judge of and determine their own liberties against the government, instead of the [*8] government’s judging of and determining its own powers over the people. http://www.lysanderspooner.org/bib_new.htm

SADDAM’S DEFENSE IS MY OWN  . . .  AND YOURS

Spooner makes a fascinating and unusual statement here that I think we should not let pass without highlighting it, and that is “the accused person, who represents the rights of the people.” This is a profound statement. The man writes like an avatar! 

Now, how might we assume the professional class of attorneys to respond?

The argument for the professional judge could be that he is more learned in the law and is less apt to be swayed by emotional arguments. It has been said that if you are innocent, choose a trial by judge, for he is more likely to see it, but if you are guilty, take your chances with a jury. But what is more important, deciding guilt and innocence for one man, or the integrity of a process which prevents tyranny? Who really is more prejudiced? Is it the common man executing his duty, or the mercenary there for his dollar? Who has a greater investment in the outcome? Is it the man who is there for one day, or is it a man who is there for public notoriety, while ducking censure for a career?

If the mercenary judge makes an unpopular decision, then look at what is imperiled: His livelihood. But what comparatively has the lay judge to lose in the sacrifice of justice? 

These arguments I’m raising in the question of Hussein, who in turns sharpens the point. In Spooner’s wisdom, Saddam represents for all of us the rights of the people. How would Saddam Hussein look in the judgment of his peers? If Americans cannot affect their justice in a foreign land that they presumably can control through force of arms, what then are U.S. bombs doing there?

When was there greater murder and chaos? Was it under Hussein’s rule, or Bush’s rule?

Judith Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy and presides over a humiliating small claims court on TV, has surpassed Oprah as the highest paid woman on TV.

  • Why not put Saddam Hussein on trial in front of Judge Judy with George Bush as the plaintiff? How different, really, is the trial of Saddam Hussein from TV court?
  • If not then, if that is obviously ricidulous, what kind of trial, or process, has Hussein asked for?
  • Does not a jury system founded on the laity carry more weight and finality to it than anything that could be said by processional, appointed or elected judges?

The beauty of sortition is that the judges, it can be said, were not selected by men, but selected by God, or in Iraq, by Allah. Only the Atheist can complain that results compunded by Fate are not ideal.  Would we not be more inclined to accept the judgment of peers, and more inclined to suspect the judgment of paid professionals? Perhaps, after deliberation, an Iraqi jury might decide to drop the charges against Hussein, dust him off and return him to rule.

Slight chance you say?

The beauty, as I see it, of Spooner’s jury, is not necessarily in its deliberative prowess, but ultimately in its power to settle the matter. We can say that if  Saddam Hussein, for example, was, for our entertainment and his humiliation sake, put in front of Judge Judy, and after making fun of his shoes and his haircut she attempts to shame him for his massacre of Kurds, calling him a liar if he denied it, crazy if he tried to justify it, or a fool if he didn’t, and she gavels him down for the death penalty, and like on the Daily Show we all laugh and applaud, what do we really have for it?

Angry mobs would say that a Jewish woman, in all the glory of her prejudice and ignorance, gave this verdict, and it would humimliate them even mofre. But how would the reaction compare to a similar verdict rendered by Iraqis?  

How much better as human beings are we for our deliberations and processes?

When having a little fun, while taking your mind off your cares of the day, how is watching trial by a Judy-cat-sure any different than taking part in the Roman games, where children and their parents were torn apart by crazed animals in front of the breathless crowd?

I’ve heard the woman insist she could read minds . . . 

Those Roman games, by the way, stopped after the overthrow by Christianity. Maybe a similar application would silence Judy.

Now, of Hussein, you might say, “the jury ain’t gonna convict that guy,” but how do you know? And what’s more important, the conviction you want in one case or the process that rules them all?

What’s more important, your dignity or your fun?

Sure, Judge Judy or someone like her, is essentially what he has now, and could rip him apart to the joy and satisfaction of millions. But what has happened to an elegant process in your mind? Where has it gone? If we’ve had such a dull and painstaking process as trial by jury for so many years, why are we discarding it now? It wouldn’t be because it isn’t as fun as the other, would it? It wouldn’t be because it threatens to not give us the results we want in our prejudiced and uninformed minds, would it? Are you thinking “Gosh, if some people take a closer look, sit down and really listen to the facts, they might not be able to come up with the verdict every one knows it should be, the one I’ve already set in my mind. And I want to see that guy hang!”

But you’re judging everything on hearsay. What is going on here?

You watch the news, you read the paper, and you talk to your friends. But what do you really know?

When this horrid little war broke out, and the fleet was steaming over there to get Saddam and give him his come uppins, I heard it being wailed from the roof tops that he was insane. Where are those cries now for his defense? Yeah, in his defense. If he’s insane, shouldn’t he be rehabilitated?It brings up a good question. Do we use the law to rehabilitate or do we use some monkey trial to vindicate?

The jury process; even though it is ultimately run by amateurs, I can say it is honest. What would you or Hussein have to say to 12 people, chosen by God or Allah, if they found you or him guilty and sentenced you or him to hang? We have the ability to run due process of law on conquered peoples, so why don’t we do it for the Iraqis? Why don’t we do it for those incarcerated at Gitmo?  Is it because they’re not Americans?  Have you forgotten? It was because of a theoretical absence of law that we went in there, to fill the vacuum. But of what? Are American rights not human rights? What does birthplace or position theoretically have to do with it?

You know perfectly well (or should know) that birthplace and position should have nothing to do with it. The failure to administer due process of law is synchronous with its failure at home. I suggest to you, that in the name of social justice, through the use of protective orders, thousands are being stripped of their civil rights without the judgment of a jury, without due process of law, not just abroad, but here on the American mainland.

Bills of attainder are at work in this land. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_attainder   Thisis how the tyrannycreeps in until somebody sues. And just as war has filled the Iraqi vacuum of justice, I suggest to you, that so has civil disorder filled the American courtroom, because we have not met our responsibilities to resolve it first, as due process, in our minds.

This is not a game. This is serious business that requires your further deliberation. If we are committed to laying any matter to rest, despite errors that layman may commit, iot is imperative that any serious matter be laid to rest with a trial by jury, and this includes the charges that have been brought against Saddam Hussein. 

The results of ignoring the spirit exemplified in the curse of Hammurabi, failing to follow the best due process of law in a most serious matter, have been evident in streets awash in blood. 

Thank you.

 Your friend, your best friend, your only friend,

John Benneth 

 

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One comment on “THE CURSE OF HAMMURABI

  1. This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well,
    almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had
    to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

    Like

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