Death Of A Dictatorby Doug Mataconis
Say what you will about the current situation in Iraq and America’s place in it, but there can be no question that the death of Saddam Hussein is good news for anyone who believes in human freedom:
BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 — Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, who rose from humble beginnings to build the Arab world’s most ruthless dictatorship but whose fall unleashed a turbulent era for his nation and the world, was executed early Saturday morning in Baghdad, according to Iraqi state television.
Hussein, 69, who demanded a cultlike devotion from his people and built monuments to proclaim his own greatness, was hung around 6 a.m. local time (10 p.m. Friday EST) in the American-controlled Green Zone in central Baghdad. Hussein was executed before a small group of observers, including some who had been tortured by his regime.
“Criminal Saddam was hanged to death,” state-run Iraqiya television said in an announcement. The station played patriotic music and showed images of national monuments and other landmarks.
The execution took place three days after Iraq’s highest court upheld Hussein’s death sentence, a decision that meant the execution should take place within 30 days. Last month Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity for the killings of 148 Shiite men and boys from the northern town of Dujail after an attempt on his life in 1982.
So, a toast tonight, to the death of a horrible man and to the hope that, just maybe, the mess that is Iraq will straighten itself out.