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December 29, 2006

Saddam Death Watch

Shakes here...

Supposedly Saddam is to be executed tonight. Witnesses are gathering in the Green Zone and footage of his crimes is being broadcast on television in preparation of the big event.

A top Iraqi official said Saddam will be executed before 10 p.m. EST Friday.

The Iraqi government readied all the necessary documents, including a "red card" — an execution order introduced during Saddam's dictatorship.

Mmm, always good to show how things have changed by using the same accoutrements of death while executing their architect.

The physical transfer of Saddam from U.S. to Iraqi authorities was believed to be one of the last steps before he was to be hanged.

"We have agreed with the Americans that the handover will take place only a few minutes before he is executed," a senior Iraqi government official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

…"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," [Najeeb al-Nueimi, a member of Saddam's legal team] said. If Saddam is humiliated publicly or his corpse ill-treated "that could cause an uprising and the Americans would be blamed," he said.

And the last thing we'd want is to be blamed for causing trouble in the Middle East.

The Odd Quote Award goes to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: "Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him, and there will be no review or delay in carrying out the sentence." Technically, one might argue that a respect for human rights requires only preventing him from perpetrating further human rights abuses, and that executing him is only the most drastic way of doing so.  I get what he's saying, obviously, but it's still, well, odd, in a making-fun-of-a-mullet-while-wearing-a-Members-Only-jacket kind of way.

Meanwhile, American television networks are planning "tasteful coverage" of the execution, which has made me realize that the only thing more worrying than everything George Orwell said coming true is when everything George Carlin said starts coming true.

December 29, 2006 | Permalink


'Tasteful coverage?'

Welcome to New Year's Hangin' Eve.

And I'll be surprised if it's even that tasteful - CNN actually did a report on 'what hanging feels like' earlier today.

Posted by: Stranger | Dec 29, 2006 6:26:40 PM

Can't.... resist .... quoting .... "Candide":

What a lovely day, what a jolly day!
What a day for a holiday!
They don't mix meat and dairy.
They don't eat humble pie.
So sing a miserere
And watch the bastards fry!

Are our methods legal or illegal?


Are we judges of the law or laymen?


Shall we burn this vile transgressor?

Yes sir!

Oh! What a lovely day, what a jolly day!
What a day for a holiday!
When foreigners like this come
To criticize and spy,
He sing a Pax vobiscum
And hang the bastards high!

What a day, what a day,
Oh. what a day, what a day,
Oh, what a day, what a perfect day for hanging!
What a lovely day, what a jolly day,
What a day for a holiday.
At last we can be cheery,
The bonfire's passed us by.
So sing a Dies irae
And watch the bastards fry!
Oh, what a day!

Posted by: fiat lux | Dec 29, 2006 6:46:38 PM

I'm always glad I no longer watch TV and TV news.

Now I have another reason to not watch.

Though, you know, airing Saddam's execution is a straight-line development from what TV's already eagerly run, and re-run, ad nauseum: People leaping from the Twin Towers, and the dead mercenaries being set on fire and hung up like sides of beef in Fallujah.

Snuff film has gone mainstream. Isn't that special.

Posted by: CaseyL | Dec 29, 2006 6:46:55 PM

one of the reasons for the great haste in executing Saddam is that the Iraqi constitution prohibits people over a certain age from being executed. Saddam reaches this age within a couple months...

Posted by: Andrew Cory | Dec 29, 2006 6:51:53 PM

I am disgusted. I am ashamed. I am appalled. I am saddened.

We, too, are barbarians.

Posted by: Michael J.W. Stickings | Dec 29, 2006 6:54:57 PM

yes, how macabre..just before new year's eve...
An Invitation to a Hanging.
a new and updated version of A Christmas Carol...
a Christmas Haunting, starring saddam and george w. bush, instead of george c.scott.
a remake of the old film, with george w. bush, a Perfect Ebenezer... wide-eyed in nightcap and holding a candlestick...horrified as the flame is extinguished..and the portraits of the venerable presidents in the great hall, morph into frightful figures of anger and consternation, gazing down at him.
the shutters clatter and in wisps the bearded and wild-eyed, (though mist-shrouded) phantom of saddam past, saddam present and saddam future...
we follow along,as he takes george bush in hand over the familiar washington landmarks,ghostly white by night... through the starry, winter skies to tikrit and baghdad....searching for roses and chocolates in the streets....but there are only gentle-faced, limping and bandaged tiny tims, and kind, forbearing families with grim faces, trying to make the best of their celebrations.
.....a christmas carol for this evening.

Posted by: jacqueline | Dec 29, 2006 7:00:27 PM

the ghost of saddam will be haunting us for a very long time.
ending a person's life doesnt remove their spirit and influence from the world. and he will certainly be walking next to george w. bush for the rest of his life...along with all of the tiny tims on bandaged feet.

Posted by: jacqueline | Dec 29, 2006 7:57:55 PM

See a sarcastic visual of George Bush playing a round of “Hangman”…here:


Posted by: Daniel DiRito | Dec 29, 2006 9:07:08 PM

1. Put the Saddam hanging on PayPer View....make alot of money for reconstruction.
2. Put him on a world tour in a cage...$1.00 a peek...alot more money for reconstruction.
or 3. Let him go hunting with Dick Cheney and the other neocons paying big money to go with...a win-win situation.

Posted by: the Dude | Dec 29, 2006 9:58:42 PM

"And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been depos'd, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd,
Some poison'd by their wives, some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd."

I will not grieve for Saddam.

And I won't explain why Richard II is my favourite Shakespeare, with Derek Jacobi my favourite interpretation. Except to say that I view that history cycle, against reason, as a unified work, from Richard to Richard.

Riverbend, is back, mourning not Saddam but her country. She wants to know "Why?" but is not answered.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 29, 2006 10:37:03 PM

I'm against capital punishment. Too often "they" are wrongly convicted, too often they are mentally unhinged, too often they deserve some amount of sympathy for things that happened to them that were outside their control. Almost always they are already the losers in life.

But this one, I am for. And I would be for any execution of a person who by being a leader of people, a rich and "advantaged" man in every sense, took steps to maim and slaughter those people by the hundreds, to say nothing of thousands or tens or hundreds of thousands. And who prepared his sons to continue this bloody legacy. This is different. This is OK.

Because if it serves as any kind of possible deterrent to some other brutalitarian despot to consider that he might die an early, grimy, vengeful death at the end of a rope or under a guillotine, or in a gas chamber --- even if that deterrence is a remote possibility --- then it must be done.

Posted by: Terry Ott | Dec 29, 2006 11:39:39 PM

if it serves as any kind of possible deterrent

The death penalty doesn't deter grim, gun-toting wankers in the US without the protection afforded by wealth, power, and a personal army. What on earth would make anyone think it would deter a despot? If that's your sole reason for supporting putting Hussein to death, it's a rather flimsy one, which is to say nothing of its casual disregard for how his execution most certainly will inflame hatred for the US and further undermine the near-nonexistent legitimacy of the Iraqi government among its Sunni population.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Dec 29, 2006 11:52:34 PM

It might deter one or more. I don't know that it would, but you don't know that it wouldn't affect at least one. Some despots could be calculating enough to consider the possible outcomes, and if one of those potential outcomes has a picture of Saddam's hanging attached to it...? I just said it might. "Grim, gun toting wankers in the US" don't operate in the same psychological world as dictators who commit genocide, so that's not a good benchmark.

My post fully stated deterrence wasn't my "sole reason"; see the entire second paragraph. Deterrence was a "throw in". Reject it then, as you have. The magnitude, nature, and duration of the crimes and the perpetrator's relationship to the victims --- that's what is relevant. And those things ALSO make a comparison to your "wankers" pointless. It might be the only capital punishment I ever endorse; there wouldn't be many.

Re: your concern about negative reaction and it inflaming hatred toward the US, assuming you are right about that, well? So? Sparing Saddam would make absolutely NO difference about their view of the world, would it? If we worry about what reaction is generated among Saddam sympathizers, too bad for us. Anyone who reveres or longs for Saddam Hussein has no legitimacy. I suspect Saddam's stock had already fallen hugely anyway, considering that (as I have read, anyway) lots of people in Middle Eastern cultures tend to back whomever is an apparent winner.

The majority of Iraqis, I daresay, would have gladly seen Saddam executed long, long ago so widespread was his reign of terror.

Posted by: Terry Ott | Dec 30, 2006 12:45:53 AM

The majority of Iraqis

You might have heard about a little civil war they're having over there at the moment. The majority of Iraqis don't agree on much of anything, and I daresay that the Sunnis and Shia have quite different opinions on this subject, as on many others.

Your black and white thinking of supporting Saddam vs. supporting his execution is patent foolishness. There are undoubtedly Iraqis, as there are Americans, who are not remotely "Saddam sympathizers" but also do not condone his execution, for myriad and complex reasons. (Or simple ones.) It isn't Saddam's fans about which we need worry, but people who would have accepted his being relegated for the rest of his days to a dank cell, yet are deeply angered by his execution--and those who carried it out.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Dec 30, 2006 1:17:39 AM

S's Sister:

I stand by my impression that the majority of Iraqis would support execution. Even though the majority of Iraqis clearly do NOT support the US actions generally, a majority of Iraqis (61%) still believe (9/06) that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships. NOT just that it was a good thing and justified, but that it was WORTH all the hardships; that's strong. This number has been reported as being as high as 77% in January of '06, but the more recent 61% is comparable to 62% saying that in a larger poll (Gallup/CNN/USA Today) done in 2005 with a sample size of 3,500. From a more recent poll: Among Shias, the majority saying getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships it is still 75 percent, while among the Kurds it is 81 percent. The number of Sunnis saying it was not worth it has drifted upward to 89 percent, with only 11 percent saying that it was worth it.

His "favorable/unfavorable" rating back in 2005 was 8 to 1 unfavorable, over 2 to 1 unfavorable in Sunni regions, and 3 to 1 in Baghdad. Virtually unanimous unfavorable in Kurd and Shiite regions (surprise!).

You may say these data do not answer the question about the level of agreement in Iraq re:his execution, and I grant that. But I have this strong hunch, when I consider the likely BASIS for his unpopularity. It wasn't his position on welfare reform or tax policy or abortion rights, I don't think. It was probably something about "crimes against humanity". My sympathy gets switched off at that point, and I think the same is true of most people.

You say, "Your black and white thinking of supporting Saddam vs. supporting his execution is patent foolishness." I don't see where you get that out of anything I said. I've been accused consistently by all kinds of people (work, friends, family) of being a "gray area" kind of guy. And so I am, admittedly. I wish I WERE able to be more b/w. Easier, I thing.

I oppose capital punishment, yet I can feel differently about THIS one. So that's gray area. My wife opposes it absolutely, including this one. I respect her position, (and yours, even after your belittling comments) but mine is different. It's nothing more than a different perspective between two basically gentle old farts.

I like the fact that he is gone, no matter how it happened. He, more than almost anyone else I can think of (save a few other brutalitarian genocide practitioners), deserved an early death, no matter how it happened.

Posted by: Terry Ott | Dec 30, 2006 3:51:12 AM

executing saddam in a clearly sectarian way, as shown with the snuff film like second video, is tactitical idiocy. The only thing this does is increase the hatred of the Sunni's and make any kind of political solution impossible. I belive that this gives Saddam a heroic exit that would not have happened if he simply rotted away in obscurity.

Posted by: saturday | Jan 1, 2007 2:24:21 AM

hahahahahah LOLZZZZZ!!!!! dats wat dat nigga getz he should have never done wat he did and killed dem pplz dats wat he getz if i waz da copz or who eva hanged hiz A#$ i would have shot him straight in da head

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