January 1: End of the line

A generation of Iraqi Kurds and Shi'ites were ready to see their relatives' deaths avenged upon Saddam - a heartless agent of terror.

letters to the editor 88 (photo credit: )
letters to the editor 88
(photo credit: )
End of the line... Sir, - While effete European sensitivities recoil from capital punishment, Iraqis, with their more direct and compelling stake in the case, correctly carried out the death sentence on Saddam Hussein. And, in fact, how many persons in living memory more rightly deserved death? A generation of Iraqi Kurds and Shi'ites were ready to see their relatives' deaths avenged upon this heartless agent of terror who, impelled solely by an outsized ego, filled long trenches with the manacled remains of his victims, fed opponents feet-first through industrial shredders and subjected female captives to rape and other humiliations to fulfill his own definition of tyranny. Arguing that his execution might foment more domestic discord assumes that democracy's opponents aren't already doing their worst and discounts the obvious benefits of removing the figurehead of a murderous insurgency, thereby finalizing Iraq's separation from the past. Furthermore, whatever utility the execution may provide to the political Left and its undying enmity for America and her allies, holding a tried and condemned Saddam Hussein to their breasts in the name of humanity could never mask the insult to justice inflicted by such an act. Would-be despots everywhere were owed this fresh reminder of the punishment monstrous crimes still attract ("Saddam's reign of terror ends on the gallows," December 31). RON GOODDEN Atlanta Sir, - It reminded me of Haman at Purim! NEIL GOLAN Philadelphia ...via fuzzy morality Sir, - The television pictures of Saddam being led to the gallows were no different from those fuzzy images of hooded men with their hostages, except that one was state terrorism, aided and abetted by a superpower which lectures the world on freedom and democracy. KEITH NOLAN Co Leitrim, Ireland Beyond unthinkable... Sir, - David Kimche's "Thinking the unthinkable" (December 29) had an important message: that our military and political leaders "should be non-conformist in their intelligence appraisals." However, he went over the edge when he proposed doing business with a guy who is serving five (not three) consecutive life sentences. If an election were held between Marwan Barghouti and Khaled Mashaal, he said, Barghouti would win 57% to 36%. What kind of hypothesis is that? I dare say Yigal Amir, were he to run in an election, would garner a ridiculous percentage of the vote. The fact is, Barghouti and Amir are both convicted murderers who must pay their debt to Israeli society. To view either as a political partner not only gives me the willies but goes far, far beyond the unthinkable. As to the "disproportionate response" of which Israel is regularly accused: What about trading hundreds, even 1,000, prisoners for one Israeli soldier? For the family of Gilad Shalit I am sure no price is too high for the return of their precious boy - but isn't it strange that no voice has been raised in the international community about the "disproportionality" of such exchanges? LARRY SHAPIRO Ness Ziona ...to release Barghouti Sir, - Speculation regarding a possible release of Marwan Barghouti, a convicted brutal murderer of Jews, is shocking ("Haniyeh says Shalit is about to be freed - PA premier calls Barghouti's wife to tell her an exchange is imminent," December 29). No excuse or conditions could warrant the release of this individual. It would put the last nail in the coffin of belief in sane government or the rule of law in this country. There is no statute of limitations on crimes against the Jewish people. Barghouti must properly remain in an Israeli prison for the remainder of his days, with no prospect ahead but hell. JEANETTE DERSHOWITZ Herzliya Pituah Identify your enemy Sir, - I advise MK Ofir Paz-Pines to fight the enemies of the state and not his own brothers. Soon enough he will again be protected by soldiers who wear tefillin ("Let them put on tefillin," David Eliezrie, December 20). IRMA E. GOLDMAN Arad Proof in steel Sir, - I was profoundly moved by Ari Fridman's letter to Iran's leader ("Deny this, Mr. Ahmadinejad," December 26), which I read on a short trip to Israel. My visit to Majdanek a few years ago with my cousin, a Holocaust survivor, left me with an image that will haunt me for the rest of my life. The door frame of a gas chamber had originally been built with sharp steel corners. The corners had been smoothed and rounded - solely by the pressure of naked bodies. STANLEY MEDICKS London We won't be bullied... Sir, - I write as a person who has little time for TV, but it was with disgust and dismay that I read "Citing costs, HOT drops BBC Prime" (December 29) - the last British-style channel left on offer by the cable company. The media companies are clearly not keeping to their mandate - to supply the public with suitable cultural links and understanding. HOT's insulting statement that it plans to add programs from China and Georgia is hardly likely to placate an audience which includes people from Canada, Australia and South Africa. Press reports tell us that aliya from the UK is up, from these other countries too, so why should we make do with only US-oriented English-language programming? Every family about to be deprived by the HOT cable company must, without delay, make the strongest possible protest, backed up with a clear statement to HOT from its English-speaking subscribers that they will cancel their subscriptions forthwith unless this decision is rescinded. Anglo groups: Start petitions to stop the English-speaking population that wishes to hear British entertainment being bullied and squeezed out. Hopefully our protests will be acted upon. GLORIA MOUND Gan Yavne ...by HOT. We'll switch to YES Sir, - If we want HOT to reverse its decision to discontinue BBC Prime, a mail campaign might just help. Send a message like the one below to HOT, via its Web site www.hot.net.il, or by Fax (077) 707-8231, or phone *6900. "Despite the opinion voiced by one of your representatives, there is a large audience in Israel that watches BBC Prime as its main entertainment channel. There must be more than 250,000 former "Anglo-Saxons" living in Israel and tens of thousands of Israeli schoolchildren who find BBC Prime an excellent and interesting way to improve their English. "You say your decision was based on 'economic reasons.' What if all these English speakers decide to go over to YES? If you do not reverse your decision to discontinue BBC Prime, this is exactly what I/we will do. I consider you in breach of your contract with me. Yours sincerely, etc." MOSHE KELMAN Jerusalem Beloved Leonard Sir, - Further to "A celebratory season premiere" on 70 years of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (December 19): Where was the name of our beloved Leonard Bernstein - the man who came whenever Israel was in trouble and who, probably more than any conductor, put the Israel Philharmonic in the eye of the wider public? One got the impression that it was all Zubin Mehta, but wasn't it Bernstein who brought Mehta to the Philharmonic? MURRAY S. GREENFIELD Tel Aviv