Monday, November 28, 2005

can't sleep - contracts will eat me*

The worst thing about having debilitating tension headaches that sit at the bottom of my skull is that they prevent me from being able to hold my head up...or, in this case, lay my head down on my pillow comfortably. I've had one of these headaches every day since last Wednesday, and one of these headaches decided to hit me last night (read: this morning) around 2:30.** Needless to say, sleep wasn't happening.

So I decided to pull out my Contracts book and read that in the hopes that it would put me to sleep. Not so much.

At that point, I got wrapped up in the Saddam Hussein trial on CNN World - I figured it would be a good thing for me to watch since I'm interested in international law and all that...so maybe I should know how these courts work. What was happening was that the judge was waiting for the bailiff to scream out the defendants' names to call them into the courtroom, then do the same thing for the lawyers. (Interestingly, not all of the lawyers were there, so the judge had to appoint new counsel on the spot - if I were one of the lawyers, the only thing that could keep me away would be some sort of execution...because that bailiff dude has a scary voice.)

So they get Saddam up there to sign a document allowing for a former US Attorney General to be added to his defense team (yeah, wrap your head around that one), and he uses that moment to get up and tell the judge how to run his courtroom. Saddam describes the treatment that he was given between the prison and the courtroom, and how he wasn't allowed to carry a pen so that he can sign the document the court is asking him to sign...and then berates the entire system of people coming into his country and telling his people how to run their trials, etc. At this point, the coverage cuts away to the Iraqi scales of justice, as if it were those pretty bars across the screen when something's going on that the network doesn't want us to see. So I start wondering what exactly was going on in that courtroom - was Saddam complaining further about how the ideals of his people are not being upheld by the infidels (I'm not sure if the term 'infidels' was actually used - but if it wasn't, it should have been).

So around 4:00 this morning, I'm sitting in bed, transfixed by these happenings in Baghdad. What right does America have to come into Saddam's country and hold him prisoner anyway (since this isn't exactly an international coalition of forces keeping him in jail)? Why shouldn't an Iraqi judge be able to order foreign police forces who are holding an Iraqi defendant captive to not transport said defendant around in handcuffs (since they're not supposed to be doing that anyway)? Why should we go into his country and hold him to a western standard of justice whose standards are unheard of in Islamic society? And am I that sleep-deprived and doped up on Excedrin that I find myself actually agreeing with Saddam Hussein???

Four hours later, the headache is back, and I still agree with him - we have no business being in Iraq, holding him prisoner in his own backyard. Yes, he was a bad man who did unspeakable things. Yes, he deserves to be held accountable for his actions. Were/are our methods of bringing justice to the people of Iraq exactly honorable? Not so much.

This means (1) that I probably shouldn't address this topic anymore, because free speech in this country can only go so far before I get into trouble, (2) I need to figure out how to de-stress before I go to bed so that I don't end up in this predicament every day between now and exams, and (3) law school really has eaten my soul.

*quoted from Dan (not to be confused with Richmond Dan and Other Dan)
**the last time my headaches were this bad, I had a tension headache every day for seven weeks straight from Christmas 2003 through mid-February 2004. I'm really going to enjoy taking exams in two weeks with these headaches.

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