Essay on Assassination of Saddam Hussein
[2/2003:† Thanks everyone for your e-mailed comments.† I do read them and appreciate them.
Remember, at the time this was written (9/2002) we were NOT at war with Iraq.† There was much debate on the Sunday political shows about whether we should send in a covert military team to assassinate Saddam Hussein.† I wrote in response to that situation.† Of course I fully support our country & president; If war is declared, I will support it.† And of course the planning of and killing of military personnel and their leaders during wartime is justified.† Please note this distinction:† I consider the killing of someone without trial and outside of wartime as murder.† The same act, in a declared war, is fully justified.
Also, an underlying premise to my argument is the Sovereignty of God.† This leads to an immediate crisis:† if God is sovereign, then how come He allows all these bad things to happen?† I have already accepted this situation by faith as well as intellectually (it has to do with His endowment of free will for each man).† There are many good books that deal with this subject.† I would direct you first to C.S. Lewisí Mere Christianity.† If the reader has not already accepted Godís Sovereignty and the practical outcomes of it, then not much of this essay will make sense. -cj]
We as a nation seem to be considering the assassination of Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq.† I know there is a lot of anger directed toward him, but I need to get some thoughts out about what we might be doing.
There are a number of premises I need to state to explain where Iím coming from.†
First, the conscious planning of the death of another specific person, when you have the means at your disposal to actually carry out the killing, sounds to me a lot like murder.† We are considering the murder of another human being.† Letís at least call it what it is.
As I understand it, God raises up all leaders of the nations of the world.† We are considering the murder of a God-installed national leader.
As I understand it, murder is forbidden by commandment.† This is an absolute.† We are considering the transformation of an absolute into a relative rule.† We are saying that if someone is bad enough, or dangerous enough, or thumbs his nose at us enough, we have the right to kill him.† I believe that by being the most powerful country, with the capability to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime we want, we are behaving most dangerously if we decide to relativize this absolute.
To me, Americans sitting around a table in Washington, planning the murder of a God-raised state leader is equivalent to a Palestinian sitting in his apartment strapping on a bomb so he can go kill innocent Jewish women and children.
Iím sure I just lost a lot of you right there.
But we are ALL sinners, and murder is murder.† There is no rule by God that says if someone is bad enough, that justifies killing him.† Who can stand before God and argue that he doesnít deserve to be thrown into Hellís pit?
David had the opportunity to kill Saul.† It would have solved a lot of problems, both personally and for the state of Israel.† It would seem to have been a prudent, justified action.† But he didnít take the opportunity because he was a man after Godís own heart.† David knew that God had raised up Saul, and he (David) had no business usurping Godís will.† He also knew that God was in control, and he put his faith in Godís Sovereignty.
What we are talking about doing is usurping Godís will with our own, in the mistaken belief that we know better.
You can talk about this being in our self-defense, but I donít hear people saying ďLetís bomb all his factoriesĒ, I hear people saying ďLetís take him outĒ.
If we really believe that Iraq is a danger to us, then letís declare war on Iraq and attack them.† That would be acting In the Light.† We would put Iraq on notice that they are at risk of being killed legitimately in a wartime action.† Iím afraid that we are trying to solve a problem by human ingenuity (killing just the Ďproblemí of Saddam) instead of acting in a Godly way (standing up against an evil regime).
Anytime we demote an absolute to a relative we fall prey in two ways:
If we murder Saddam, that effectively gives anyone else the right to kill George Bush.† They could legitimately claim that Bush was a menace to them, and by the rule established in Saddamís killing, they were just defending themselves.† The problem is that Ďevil menaceí is fairly relative in the world.† One countryís menace is another countryís hero.† We must be very, very careful in basing murder on such shaky grounds.
If we lacked the capability to carry out a death threat on Saddam, would we be making it?† I doubt it.† Thus it is only because we are powerful in the world that we make the claim that he should be killed.† I believe we are frustrated that Saddam hasnít cowed to our authority and so we are lashing out against him.† Now is the time to trust God and stick to the absolutes.† Letís admit that God is in control.† Letís cry out to God that we are frustrated.† Letís pray for strength and patience as we wait for Godís plan to unfold.† Letís resist the urge to take control away from God simply because we have the means to do it.† Letís reiterate our faith that Godís plan is best, even though we donít understand it.
Evil is absolutely wrong and must be faced.† Murder of one man in the dark is not equivalent to facing evil and exposing it to the Light.
Walk in the Light.† When you are convinced that you are walking in Godís will, do not stray to the left or the right.† If that means going alone in facing Saddam then so be it.† But letís face him, not stab him in the back.† The way of God is never contradictory.† You cannot act in Godís will by setting aside some other part of Godís will.
[2/2003 Ė Some specific answers:† Yes, I believe God has raised up Saddam as leader of the Iraqi people.† The same way he raised up the Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans.† These empires are serving His purposes.† We all serve God; some under plan A, others under plan B.† Remember, Jesus told Pilate that he was given his authority by God (John 19:11).† If we deny that Saddam is in power by Godís permission, then we deny Godís Sovereignty.† This may not make sense in the human world.† We must trust that it makes sense in Godís.
I do not assert that we are to sit around and let Saddam run amok.† The fact that God raised him up doesnít mean that he stays in power for ever.† God raises up and God tears back down (otherwise the Assyrians and Babylonians would still be ruling us).† If we are going to take a stand, however, we must do it openly and for the right reasons.† I believe we are now acting openly Ė the world understands the implication of carrier task forces steaming toward the Persian Gulf.† God can use or thwart our military weapons for His purposes.† There remains the question of whether we are fighting Saddam for the right reasons.† I agree that he is evil and should go, the way of his going is what I address above.† Now, if we claim that we are removing Saddam because he is evil, does that not obligate us to remove other evil leaders?† Be careful!]
Copyright 2002 by Chris Jamison††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† This page last updated 2/28/2003 at 12:42 PM