Russell`s Paradox and the Execution of Saddam Hussein

YouTube,Saddam Hussien Execution

WARNING - the video above does not shut off at the neck-tying so you will see Saddam dropping.

The judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to die within 30 days certain could have made it more interesting if he added this fillip: "And it will be on a day that you do not expect it." As to why this could be fun, a little background first.

In 1966 I was sitting in a class at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem studying the Foundations of Mathematics taught entirely in Hebrew (which language I had just started learning the year before). It was the most fascinating course I had ever studied and the most revealing about the very structure and nature of existence itself: that mathematical objects exist independently of human observation and that rather than being the creators of these objects we humans merely discover them.

It was during this time that I came across Russell's Paradox and other seeming contradictions. Here is the Unexpected Hanging Paradox:

A man condemned to be hanged was sentenced to die within 30 days. The prisoner was told by the judge that he would be hanged at noon on one of the next 30 days and on a day that he would not be expecting it. The judge promised that this execution would be followed exactly to these two conditions.

The prisoner, returning to his cell, began to laugh. The guard asked him why he was so happy.

"Don't you see?" he grinned. "I cannot be executed."
"I don't get it," said the guard.

"Let me explain: If I'm still alive in the afternoon of the 29th day that means that they absolutely must execute me on the 30th. But then I would be expecting it and according to the Judge's ruling I cannot be executed. So if they can't execute me on the 30th, that leaves the 29th day as the last day they can hang me without violating the judge's decree. But if I know the 30th is ruled out then if I am alive on the 28th I would be expecting to be hanged on the 29th so that rules out that day. But if the 29th is ruled out and I'm still alive on the 27th then..."

"Yes, yes, I see," interrupted the guard, "the only day they can do it is tomorrow since it's already past noon. But since tomorrow is the only day left that they can hang you, you'll be expecting it tomorrow and -- they cannot execute you at all!"

"True," said the prisoner, convinced by unimpeachable logic that he cannot be hanged without contradicting the conditions in his sentence.

Then on the 17th of the month the prisoner was taken out and hanged. He wasn't expecting it.

saddam's royal toiletOn a mathematical note, last Friday Saddam Hussein's two half-brothers visited him in his jail cell and he gave them his will and personal belongings. I suppose if only direct relatives can visit then two half-brothers make a whole brother. Indeed, Saddam asked when those a-wholes were coming. In his will, Saddam left all of Iraq to his remaining relatives and asked them not to fight over it. In addition, his collection of early Mesopotamian whips and thumbscrews were left to the current government in Iraq. Photos of naked and bound little boys and girls were left to Moqtada Al-Sadr who immediately disposed of his collection of photos of early-Arabian Camels and Goats.

In a show of repentence he asked his followers not to hate the Americans and left his Royal Toilet to the Republican Party in America instructing them not to take any shit from the weasel democrats.


The Nose on Your Face, Top 9 Signs That Saddam Hussein Is About To Be Executed

9. the New York Times has just released their retrospective of the former Iraqi president entitled, "Saddam Hussein: Visionary Leader, or Truly Visionary Leader?"

Hot Air - Saddam to hang today? Report: Saddam to be executed by 10 p.m. ET, Excerpt: Maliki wants it done by Sunday, but like Ed says, we wouldn’t transfer him to the Iraqis unless the execution was imminent. The risk of someone on their side tipping the jihadis to his whereabouts or even trying to bust him out themselves is too great. Baghdad is eight hours ahead of us; don’t be surprised if there’s big breaking news this afternoon a little after 4 p.m. eastern time.

Assorted Babble - Butcher of Baghdad in Custody of Iraqis, Excerpt: Saddam Hussein has been handed-over to Iraqi Authories by U.S. troops. The former president of Iraq, the evil dictator, known also as the "Butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein will dangle within hours from a rope. The death sentence has been signed by PM Al-Maliki and this imminent execution should take place within hours. This mass murderers' day has come and Saddam has said he will be smiling, perhaps because he will join his two evil sons very soon.

Eternity Road in Nuremburg 2006? refutes the notion of "Victor's Justice:" His trial was not conducted according to American norms, nor to satisfy American tastes. Still, we had left it to the Iraqis to do what they deemed best with their deposed tyrant, and we wisely refrained from modifying that stance a posteriori. They who cry "victor's justice" over this affair are without a leg to stand on. Saddam's trial was the closest approach to a sound judicial proceeding the afflicted nation itself could contrive. America merely watched from the sidelines and did its best to keep order in the streets.

Excellent roundup: flopping aces, Excerpt: And no, I am not saying Saddam was responsible for 9/11. While the connections between his regime and Al-Qaeda did exist I do not believe he helped in the planning and execution of 9/11. But he did go to war with us, he did lose, he did sign a cease fire, he did refuse to obey that cease fire for 12 years all the while thumbing his nose to the world. And then he did hang because of George W. Bush.

Updated: Saddam Executed at 10:05 PM Friday Dec 29 2006.

Others blogging:

Gates of Vienna: How Can I Keep From Singing?, Excerpt: Even though it waited until almost the last moment of 2006, the departure from this world of a truly evil - relentlessly evil - human being is a moment to be lived in relief and wonder. It is as though there is a black hole where once he stood.

Outside the beltway - Excerpt:

The NYT Editorial Board is disturbed by the "flawed, politicized and divisive” nature of the judicial process that brought us to this stage and observes, "Toppling Saddam Hussein did not automatically create a new and better Iraq. Executing him won’t either.”

That’s certainly true. Then again, the same could have been said about the Nuremberg trials. Punishing the formerly powerful for their atrocities doesn’t transform the world. It does, however, provide a certain closure and sense of justice. Yes, Saddam’s trial was a farce. He did everything he could to make it that way with his antics. Regardless, neither the NYT editors nor anyone in Iraq has any reasonable doubt about his guilt.


mensa barbie welcomes you - Excerpt: Aside from the need for closure for Iraq; this will be the second most important sign of Iraqi Governmental control. The first, of course, was the formation of a Free Iraqi Government. And now, we hope that the Iraqis' need to exercise the powers of their government will not be halted by a portion of the US government who "petition for Iraq's exercise to take more control” before they quickly "petition to halt their ability"...

saddam good for catching bird shithot air has a great roundup - excerpt: Al Jazeera English says the hanging took place at a Justice Ministry in northern Baghdad. Meawnhile, the reprisals have begun — a car bomb went off this morning in a crowd of people in the Shiite holy city of Kufa. Witnesses report "dozens” of casualties. And Fox is just now reporting at 2:35 that the Fallujah courthouse has burned down.

gateway pundit, The Death of a Butcher- Saddam Hussein's Final Hours

Official Iraqi documents recovered after the fall of Saddam regime suggest a staggering 5 million executions were made during Baath era alone. Over 10 million were also imprisoned. They were all Shias save a small percentage of Kurds. It is also very interesting to note that after the 1991 Shia uprising over 300,000 were killed or captured never to be seen again, but there were no injured.

captain's quarters, The Execution Is A Go For Tonight ... Perhaps

Will this help or hurt in Iraq? I think this will be a net positive by a wide margin. In the first place, history has shown that leaving a deposed tyrant alive makes their return likely -- Napoleon would be one example. It at least keeps hope alive among their partisans, and the Jacobites might be an example of that. That cuts two ways; it's not just Saddam's dead-enders who foresaw his return, but also those who would oppose him and those on the fence. His death removes all doubt and clears the deck for the future.


"First they broke his right arm with a pipe. Then they punctured his right eardrum with a skewer. And then they tried to break his right leg with a bat. But when the X-rays that Uday Hussein demanded as proof of their efficiency showed in fact they had not broken Tariq Abdul Whab’s leg, his captors took him back to prison where someone smashed his right leg with such ferocity that his toe hit his kneecap. Mr. Whab received all this treatment simply because Uday thought the sports television reporter was being disloyal to him by talking to soccer players he didn’t like.”

Michelle Malkin notes Jesse Jackson is also shedding tears for Saddam.

the counterterrorism blog has the photo compilation of the 148 Iraqis from Dujail that were murdered by Saddam.

pirate's cove has the first hand report:

Ali Al Massedy was 3 feet away from Saddam Hussein when he died. The 38 year old, normally Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's official videographer, was the man responsible for filming the late dictator's execution at dawn on Saturday. "I saw fear, he was afraid," Ali told NEWSWEEK minutes after returning from the execution. Wearing a rumpled green suit and holding a Sony HDTV video camera in his right hand, Ali recalled the dictator's last moments. "He was saying things about injustice, about resistance, about how these guys are terrorists," he says. On the way to the gallows, according to Ali, "Saddam said, ‘Iraq without me is nothing.’"

Ali says he followed Saddam up the gallows steps, escorted by two guards. He stood over the hole and filmed from close quarters as Saddam dropped through—from "me to you," he said, crouching down to show how he shot the scene. The distance, he said, was "about one meter," he said. "He died absolutely, he died instantly." Ali said Saddam's body twitched, "shaking, very shaking," but "no blood," he said, and "no spit." (Ali said he was not authorized to disclose the location, and did not give other details of the room.)


Iraq the Model - Outside Iraq people will divide over his hanging, just like they divided over his life and rule but here in Iraq most of us feel that today justice has been served. Those who mourn him are a few and are still living in the past that has no future in Iraq.

The Right Nation has links to everyone else blogging.

saddam hanging
Flickr-User: hendrixgurli

This was on a restaurant message board. Restaurant was Mutt Lynchs in Newport Beach.

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