Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Obligatory "Death of Saddam Hussein" post

Coverage of Saddam Hussein's execution has reached a media glut. Today's Daily Telegraph front-page hawking the executioner's statement "HE WAS AFRAID, I SAW HIS FEAR" suggests that the media is going to wring every last drop of interest over the event of his death and anything remotedly connected to it that they can.

Really, things in Iraq have moved so far beyond the situation where Saddam is still relevant to current events on the ground that it's not funny. People are talking about the execution all over the place, but was Saddam anything more than a symbol of...something or other, depending on the viewer's perspective....by the time it came to execute him?

Commentary on the left-wing side of the blogosphere, apart from the expected principled opposition to the death penalty, has also included a hefty dose of speculation about the timing. To serve Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki's interests? To serve the Bush Administration's interests in Iraq? In Iran?

I doubt it's anything so Machiavellian. Most likely it was simply a desire tfor vengeance upon Saddam Hussein on the Iraqis' part, and a desire to salvage any kind of dignity over the disgraceful handling of the Iraq invasion on the Bush Administration's part.

But one small point for speculation: Bush unexpectedly delayed his announcement for his new plan of attack for Iraq until an unspecified later date, sometime in January. Is it possible that Bush was betting on a death penalty for Saddam Hussein being handed out in the December-January period? By delaying his announcement of a new strategy until, well, now or anytime after now, the last thing that the public will remember hearing in media reports for Iraq will not be the damning indictment of the Iraq Study Group, but the "Mission Accomplished"-esque event of Saddam's successful execution for his crimes. He is likely to have more support for increasing troop presence in Iraq now.

I wonder how many times Bush will mention Saddam Hussein's trial and execution in his announcement of the new Iraq strategy? I'm going to take a guess at...ooh, let's say eight. Fifteen if he takes questions from reporters.

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