Assassination of a Dictator – Justifiable?

Throughout history, there have been many dictators who have ruled with an iron fist. Julius Ceasar of Rome, Joseph Stalin of Russia, Nicolea Ceausescu or Romania, and Adolf Hitler of Germany were – to name a few – famous dictators. Dictators rule countries with absolute power, taking away the rights and choices of citizens. Most would argue that the assassination of a dictator is a good, justifiable thing to do, and I find myself agreeing. Yet, despite dictators’ unrighteous actions, there are some who still argue against getting rid of oppressive leaders. If a dictator is killed, many deaths could be prevented.
The killing would be for the greater good. Who wouldn’t go back in time to kill Hitler? Thousands of lives would be spared. One death, in comparison, is trivial. These dictators do not just pose a threat internally – they are a threat to everyone. A dictator’s assassination could even prevent a war. Although most people assosciate assassinations with outside interference, this often isn’t the case. During World War Two, Hitler’s own generals plotted the Fuhrer’s downfall. These attempts were very close to being successful, but for a spy within the conspiracy.
Even Joseph Stalin, the “Man of Steel”, was not immune to traitors within his Polit Bureau. Julius Ceasar himself was killed by his assosciates and supposed best friend after declaring himself dictator for life. When these people seize power, they are determined to hold on to it through fair means or foul. Their assassination may be the only way to change a country from dictatorship to democracy, particularly if an internal police force under the leader’s rule has been upholding his or her will and preventing internal opposition.

A popular arguement against the assassination of a dictator is that there is an alternative to being them to justice. The leaders can be put on trial, and be held responsible for their crimes. The International Criminal Court provides a permanent means to go about this, and acts as a deterent against anyone taking complete control. Slobodan Milosevic was able to be put on trial for his deeds, and Saddam Hussein faced justice in Iraq. However, this alternative method would allow the dictator to be in power for longer, and they would still have some power.
Not all trials are fair, and the dictator may escape justice, and continue as they were. The attempt could also make them look untouchable, or even heroic. I think that, if the situation calls for it, dictators should be assassinated. Although some pro-life, and anti-death penalty protestors would disagree with this form of justice, there will always be disagreements about this contraversial topic. Although assassination is illegal, not much that dictators do is legal either. Killing a dictator is for the greater good. Any utilitarian would agree that, by taking out the root, the problem can be easily solved.
By removing the driving force, the whole system of the dictator would colapse, dying with them. Dictators oppress citizens, and take away basic rights, such as the right to be heard. In order to give people back their rights, the dictators must be removed. One person is a small price to pay for this, particularly if the dictator is bloody. Take Joseph Stalin, for example. He personally signed the deaths of nine thousand people, and killed many others indirectly. By taking away one life, so many thousands could be saved. Even the people close to dictators want them gone – who wouldn’t?
The populace of countries taken over by dictators need a signal to find the courage and daring to campaign for change. What better way to signal than to take out the bad guy? The thoughts against assassination, I feel, are simple remnants of the “rules of war”, from long ago. In a war, it is okay to kill perfectly innocent citizens. Yet, it is immoral to kill the leader? This, to me, makes no sense. From saltmines to glasnost, from stalags to democracy, from apartite to Nelson Mandella walking free, from fascism to capitalism, peace and progress can be achieved by the removal of dictatorships. -January 2011

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