The circus act


Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 11:22 p.m.

"Either it's terrible incompetence or it's an act of revenge - a vendetta."

(Adnan Pachachi, a Sunni politician, on the circus-like atmosphere surrounding the hanging of Saddam Hussein.)

The efficiency with which Hussein was hanged after being turned over to Shiites by his American jailers was matched only by the insults and taunts hurled at the former dictator by the execution party during his last moments of life; all of it thoughtfully recorded for public consumption by someone with a cell phone camera. No sympathy for Hussein, but the manner of his dispatch has predictably infuriated his supporters and will likely stimulate even more violence in an already blood-drenched country. "Governing a country should not be done by reflexes. It should be wisdom first. A panoramic view. Not behaving from one side like what we saw here," Alaa Makki, a Sunni political leader, told the New York Times. Whatever else it may accomplish, the execution of Saddam Hussein will not heal Iraq's sectarian wounds.

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