According to al Hurrah television in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging a half hour ago.
Saddam is dead. I'm not sure how I feel right now. Emotional is the word, but what sort of emotions are they? Relief that the wicked witch is dead? No. Glad that he'll no longer be on this earth to torment the people he was supposed to have served? Yes.
Yes. Will this be the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?
"Imposing the death penalty, indefensible in any case, is especially wrong after such unfair proceedings," said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's international justice programme, after the appeal failed.
I do know what I think about that statement. There are few people who ever lived whose lives were so remarkable only for their worthlessness and their deserving of the penalty of death.
But these are sentiments I can agree with:
"Saddam is paying the price for murdering tens of thousands of Iraqis. This is an unprecedented feeling of happiness. ... Nothing matches it, no festival or marriage or birth." — Abu Sinan, a resident of Sadr City, Baghdad's impoverished Shiite slum.
"Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him..." — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
My stomach is in knots. I can hardly believe it's true, and now that it's history, I'm not sure that I wanted it this way--this soon. What of all the other trials for which he could have been found guilty--will they continue? Or will the catharsis due to recognition of and penance for American and Western complicity in his debaucheries never occur?
The Guardian reported that
Details of the execution were still emerging early this morning. The authorities had rejected the idea of hanging him before a live audience in a Baghdad football stadium, but senior officials insisted that public confirmation of the success of his execution was "very important". A source in the justice ministry said the proceedings would be recorded by a video-cameraman and a stills photographer. "It is probable that clips and images may be broadcast on national TV," the official said, adding: "Iraqis must see for themselves that the man who oppressed them for so long is dead ... But we will not turn the whole thing into a circus."
I worry and await what hell may be unleashed at the news--or what rejoicing. Whatever the case, I hope that the truth will ensue, a truth that saves Iraq.