Day By Day

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Monster Condemned -- Saddam Faces His Fate

From the NYT:

BAGHDAD, Nov. 5 — An Iraqi special tribunal today convicted Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity for the brutal repression of a Shiite town in the 1980s and sentenced him to death by hanging.

As the verdict was read, Mr. Hussein shouted, "Long live the people! Long live the Arab nation! Down with the spies!" He then chanted "God is great" several times. The chief judge, Raouf Abdul Rahman, tried to calm Mr. Hussein down. "There's no point," he said.

The five-judge panel, which heard more than nine months of testimony in the case, also issued death sentences for two of Mr. Hussein's seven co-defendants, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Mr. Hussein's half-brother, who was head of Iraq’s domestic intelligence agency; and Awad al-Bandar, president of Mr. Hussein's revolutionary court.

For many Iraqis, the verdicts represented a moment of triumph and catharsis after decades of suffering under Mr. Hussein's tyrannical rule.

In spite of an intense security clampdown that barred vehicles and pedestrians from the street, public celebration broke out around Iraq. People danced and cheered on the street, sounded car horns and fired guns into the air, a standard gesture of celebration here.

At the same time, fighting broke out between gunmen and the Iraqi Army in the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhood of Adhamiya in northeastern Baghdad, according to an Interior Ministry official. Angry demonstrations against the verdict erupted in Tikrit, Mr. Hussein's birthplace and a bastion of support for the Sunni Arab-led insurgency. Iraqi and American security forces have been bracing for a violent reaction among Mr. Hussein's armed supporters, who constitute a significant corps within the insurgency. Iraq's security forces were put on high alert beginning Saturday night and an American fighter plane circled high above the city throughout the day Sunday.

Read the whole thing here.

What is interesting is what Saddam was convicted of. The NYT focuses on the potential for violence ensuing from the verdict, not on the violence that brought it about. The WaPo account is better. It tells us why Saddam must die.

Hussein was convicted of ordering the killings of 148 men and boys from the town of Dujail, about 35 miles north of Baghdad, following a failed assassination attempt against him there in 1982. Hussein's presidential convoy was passing through the town when it was shot at. In response, he and other top Iraqi officials at the time order the round-up of hundreds of people, and the town's buildings were razed and its orchards destroyed.

Ten of the people executed were boys ranging in ages from 11 to 17 at the time of the incident. The government held them in jail until they were 18, then hanged them.

Read it here.

Of course, he won't die anytime soon. There will be appeals and other trials for other crimes. Everyone wants a piece of this action and the process will drag on for years.

Much, much more at Gateway Pundit, including lots of stuff that is being ignored in MSM accounts. Read it here and here.

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