Tears for Saddam
The New York Times continues its questioning
of the execution of Saddam Hussein. Yesterday it was how pitiable Saddam was
in his last days, today the argument is why the hurry?The American role extended beyond providing the helicopter that carried Mr. Hussein home. Iraqi and American officials who have discussed the intrigue and confusion that preceded the decision late on Friday to rush Mr. Hussein to the gallows have said that it was the Americans who questioned the political wisdom — and justice — of expediting the execution, in ways that required Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to override constitutional and religious precepts that might have assured Mr. Hussein a more dignified passage to his end.
Yes, the New York Times thinks the Iraqis should have given him a more dignified death. Never mind that Saddam himself seldom did the same for his own condemned. Elsewhere the Times says
that Saddam's end was "degrading".“Yes, he was a dictator, but he was killed by a death squad,” said a Sunni Arab woman in western Baghdad who was too afraid to give her name. “What’s the difference between him and them?”
There was, of course, a difference. Mr. Hussein was a brutal dictator, while the Shiite organizers of the execution are members of the popularly elected Iraqi government that the United States helped put in place as an attempt to implant a democracy.
Although the Times is obviously being a little facetious there, the difference is important. Saddam didn't follow any kind of due process; although the Maliki regime may have meted out rough justice, it was justice nonetheless.