Saddam Hussein been sentenced to death. When I read the report in The Age, I remembered a quote from my favourite book, Lord of the Rings.
Gandalf and Frodo are having a conversation about Gollum:
Frodo says, “What a pity Bilbo did not stab the vile creature [Gollum], when he had a chance!
Gandalf replies, “Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need.”
Frodo retorts, “I do not feel any pity for Gollum. He deserves death.”
Gandalf replies “Deserves death! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.”
This exchange has stayed with me all my life. I don’t think I need to say any more than that.