In what has been seen by many as a cathartic move for the troubled nation of Iraq, Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death for ordering the killing of 148 Shi’ites in 1982. After much deliberation, the judge decided the most cost-effective means of execution was simply to drop the former dictator from a low-flying plane, onto the streets of Baghdad. “Saddam will be dressed in a US army uniform, armed with a blunt machete and jettisoned in an escape pod,” explained Judge Arif Shaheen. “Insurgents will take care of the rest.”
“And if they don’t,” he added, “there’s a strong chance Saddam will fall victim to friendly fire from the Americans.”
There have been mixed reactions to the verdict, with President Bush declaring that “Saddam Hussein’s trial is a milestone in the Iraqi people’s efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of an unruly mob”. Meanwhile, film buffs are calling it “a total rip-off of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York”.
Human rights activists have condemned the judge’s sentence as cruel and unusual punishment. “Surely the court could’ve found a more humane way of executing Saddam than exposing him to the chaos in Baghdad,” said Amnesty International’s Mary Falk. “Haven’t they heard of ritual disembowelment or the ebola virus?”
Iraqi officials were quick to respond to allegations they are no better than the man they intend to execute: “It could’ve been worse – we could’ve dressed him in a burka and sent him to a Cronulla beach.”
Saddam himself is not happy with the court’s decision: “This is an inhuman way to die. Even Uday and Qusay had the honour of being shot to death by an unnecessarily overzealous display of American firepower. A man of my stature should have the option of wrestling a tiger or choking on an 45-carat blue diamond.”