Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Moral Conundrum

Despite the vast differences of opinion among the bloggers here, I believe we are all united in opposition to the death penalty (please correct me if I am wrong). Though formerly an advocate of the death penalty, my feelings began to change shortly after college as it seemed to conflict with my anti-abortion viewpoint - though I still argue there is a vast difference between killing an unborn child and a convicted murderer. Also, my opposition to the death penalty is nowhere deeply as felt as my opposition to abortion.

Perhaps it is this lack of strongly felt anti-death penalty conviction that leads me to bring up this moral dilemma. There are reports that Abu Masab al-Zarqawi has been captured, though as yet this has not been confirmed. If so, wonderful, but if he has what do we do with him? Let's for arguments sake say that he is tried. It need not matter (theoretically, legally perhaps) if it is a US court or some international tribunal, but let's say he is tried and convicted. Then what? As one who opposes the death penalty I could not possibly think it okay for him to be executed? Right?

Well, that's my dilemma. There seems to be on some level a distinction to be made between those such as Zarqawi who kill on such a mass scale, and others who are currently on death row. Better put, he is a war criminal who is responsible for massive death tolls. In other words, he's no ordinary, run of the mill murderer.

And yet, should the death toll matter? Can the state put to death someone because he has killed a lot more than just a few? But then again, do his actions in perpetuating the war make him a more heinous monster, and would not his execution be a part of the war in some convulated way?

At this moment I lean to the not executing him - or any of his ilk - side. But this is rather difficult for me because he is so terribly evil and has spilt so much blood. Of course that is an emotional reaction, and as such we must try if we can to put away emotion in such cases.

Well, what do you guys think?


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