If you haven’t done so already, check out the video of Saddam Hussein’s hanging at the New York Times homepage (you see the preparation, not the actual hanging).
Two things may strike you: First, the quiet dignity and courage of the condemned man (Saddam was a vicious sadist and a war criminal, but he pulled things off well at the end); and, second, how much the executioners look more like a collection of thugs than the lawful representatives of an independent nation.
David Kurtz over at Talking Points Memo got it about right:
Looking at the photo the NYT is leading with on its homepage, I am struck by the motley bunch of executioners. Hooded to protect their identities, they look like a gang of toughs from a B movie–or, on further reflection, like the hooded terrorists who in the earlier days of our occupation were murdering hostages like Nick Berg, on camera, for maximum shock value.
My prediction is that at least among Sunni Arabs, the ultimate impact of this video will be to cast Saddam in a heroic light — the brave leader facing death with courage and dignity, while his executioners hide their faces in fear.
The martyrdom of the Butcher of Baghdad has begun, with a little help from our “friends.”