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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 5, 2007 / 15 Teves, 5767

Clicking on death: We are all executioners now

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's no stopping the footage anymore, whether it's the sex life of a celebrity or the death of a tyrant.


The voyeurism that passeth all understanding may have climaxed Saturday with the execution of Saddam Hussein at the end of a hangman's rope. Within hours of his death, video of Saddam's last moments and the death-chamber celebration that followed was posted on the Web and viewed by untold thousands, if not millions.


Thursday, it was the number one item on Technorati, the Internet search engine that indexes more than 55 million blogs.


Just as pornography has become a click away for one's secret pleasures, death is now at our disposal.


To click or not to click, that is the question.


Who hasn't been tempted? It's right there for any to see: the platform, the masked executioners, the noose, the trap door. That much we've all seen on TV without going to the full clip, which was captured on a cell phone by one of the witnesses.


There's something vaguely familiar about those grainy images. Where have we seen it before? The footage has the amateurish feel of ``The Blair Witch Project,'' the horror film that was made scarier somehow by its pseudo-documentary style. But that's not it.


Where we've seen it before was in the horror movies Islamist terrorists staged when they butchered hostages such as Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, knowing that the world would watch.


The differences are obvious, of course. Berg and Pearl were innocents, and Saddam was a lawless monster indicted, tried and convicted under a civilized code of jurisprudence. If anyone deserved ultimate justice for crimes against humanity, Saddam did. In death, he joins that foul fraternity of other torturers and murderers for whom death was tardy.


Nevertheless, watching someone die — especially at the hands of the state — takes us several steps backward into a darker time when people gathered in the public square to watch a man swing at the end of a rope.


The history of human barbarity is long — and not at all long ago. For reasons that bear examination, human beings have not needed much encouragement to swarm to the gallows. Or, as now, to click.


We seem drawn to death by the same morbid fascination that makes us slow our cars to view an accident. What do we hope to see? Is the sight of a severed limb the best or worst case? Who hasn't felt vaguely disappointed when a traffic-clogging accident is only a fender bender?


Perhaps we're curious to witness death because we know it awaits us all. We're curious about hanging because we've never seen or heard it before — the sounds of a trap door dropping or a human neck snapping. Who knew the knot would be so big? It wasn't like that on ``Gunsmoke.''


With someone like Saddam, we feel justified in our prurience because he was a murderer and deserved to be punished. Justice and closure permit us immunity from the guilt we might otherwise feel from such a forbidden satisfaction, if not precisely pleasure.


But then what? We've stood by and watched a man die. Not in the heat of battle or the throes of passion, but passively, dispassionately. That is to say, with the cool detachment of an executioner.


We are all executioners now.


The case against capital punishment might be better reserved for a more sympathetic character than Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, when again will so many be so familiar with the raw anatomy of a government execution?


State-administered death is always a greater horror than any other by virtue of the methodical reasoning that precedes it. French philosopher Albert Camus wrote that ``capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated, can be compared.


``For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date on which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not to be encountered in private life.''


One can argue without fear of rebuttal that Saddam, in his way, was a calculating executioner, and that the Iraqi people were confined at his mercy for decades.

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