December 29, 2006

The creepy death watch...

... for Saddam Hussein.

UPDATE: I've been watching the cable news stations, mainly Larry King, and it is quite something. "You've heard the word imminent today, and I'm sure it's really imminent. I'm sure it's going to happen within minutes," says Larry. Every time he goes to commercial, he assures us that they will break in if they hear Saddam has died. I'm sure it's about to happen any minute. Anderson Cooper, taking over on CNN, says: "Everything we are hearing points to it, perhaps, in minutes."

ANOTHER UPDATE: CNN reports that the hanging took place 10 minutes ago. We see a split screen, with the reporter on the left. On the right, they put up an old clip of Saddam laughing heartily. A million viewers make the wisecrack, "He ain't laughing now." Meanwhile, Drudge is running two revolving sirens.

MORE: I get the impression that every commentator that goes on to fill the air time tonight makes a fairly lame effort to seem to be talking about the execution while really doing not much more than telling us whatever it is they think about the situation in Iraq in general.

NOW: The news channels try to figure out whether to show the pictures of the hanging. It's quite exquisite how they want to demonstrate their taste but loathe to see any other channel get the jump on them.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I must say that while on an earlier thread I wrote that Saddam's just sentence to execution doesn't bother me, this morbid death watch does kind of creep me out.

hdhouse said...

Oh for the joy of it, Faux news is wall to wall on the death watch. "Right up there with the fall of Baghdad" as Sean so adroitly put it.

Ghoolish at best. Sick probably. Simply an ugly example of people behaving badly.

Wouldn't the proper take on this be "who gives a shit"?

Anonymous said...

hdhouse:

At least Faux news IS reporting something out of Iraq.

Lately, I've noticed that they report very little on Iraq, almost as if they believe that not reporting on Iraq will make people forget about it (but boy, if you want to find out what is going on with the Natalie Holloway investigation, you can count of FOX to be right on top of that one.)

hdhouse said...

and just when commentary can't reach a new low on the Faux death watch .... who pops up...Bernard Kerick and ollie North.

Felon on Felon on Murdering Felon.

Jonathan said...

Nothing sick about it. Some small justice is done by making sure that a man who murdered hundreds of thousands does not die in bed.

Guy Murray said...

The media is beside itself. It's better than sweeps week--at least in terms of media coverage and exposure. Yet, this death watch is repeated in the U.S. every time "the state" puts someone to death. It is morbid and sickening!

downtownlad said...

Well that totally sucks for whoever had him as a dependent, since they can't claim him as a deduction for the 2007 tax year.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who find the whole 'death watch' spectacle sickening:

I agree. And it's making me wonder what kids must be thinking, watching people get excited about an execution.

That said, we now live in the information age with second by second, up to the instant reality, going on 24/7.

My own answer is to get rid of executions. They are an anachronism, and the idea that they are a deterrent is refuted by the fact that nations without the death penalty don't see a surge in murder, nor for that matter do the 12 U.S. states without it (AK, HA, IA, MA, ME, MI, MN, ND, RI, VT, WI and WV) which in general have lower murder rates than demographically similar states with the death penalty.

But if you are going to have executions then you are going to see this kind of stuff on TV every time a notorious person is executed (Timothy McVeigh being the most recent example I can think of.)

And I predict (with a high probability of being right), the Saddam execution video will be online at ogrish.com or similar sites, probably within a day.

That's part of the bargain if you have the death penalty in the twenty-first century.

Cedarford said...

3 months to whack him. Far better than my state where we waited 21 years to whack a serial killer of 11 young girls and women who admitted he did it and led investigators to an unfound body back in 1984.
If we Americans were allowed as the Iraqi people were to redo our Constitution, I am sure we could create some significant improvements to our legal, taxation, corporate, and Congressional systems.

Which is why the Ruling Elites will never let us have the chance the Iraqi people got, and have gotten good enough that they can finesse and block any Amendment. Our Amending process is broken too, except when activist judges turn their courts into mini-Amendment sessions and SCOTUS approves or disapproves the lower judges new Amendment.

Anonymous said...

hdhouse: I can't help smile and wonder: "Why on Earth are you watching Fox News?"

Assuming my best imitation of "psychiatric voice:"
Would you like to talk about it?
;-)

vnjagvet said...

I agree that the death watch on cable was badly done. On the other hand, I believe Saddam's death was justly deserved.

I believe the death penalty should be reserved for only the most heinous actors, and Saddam, like notorious mass murderers before him qualify for that singular dishonor.

tcd said...

Well said, Jonathan. Total agreement.

Balfegor said...

On the one hand, the man deserves to die. On the other hand, aren't we executing a man responsible for the deaths of millions for only one incident in a long reign? Those 143 deaths in 1982, in retaliation for an attempted assassination.

This doesn't really seem to me like getting Capone for tax fraud, where it doesn't matter much how the end is achieved, so long as we get there. Now that we made the decision, for better or for worse, to see this through with public trials, it seems more like th situation faced by the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where part of the undertaking is just getting the record straight on what happened, and acknowledging and uncovering all the horrible facets of a horrible time. Not to say it shouldn't still end up with Saddam Hussein hanging from a noose (unlike the Truth and Reconciliation Commission). Just that there's a lot more to try him for, more closure to be had, before we send him to die.

Anonymous said...

I'm with vnjagvet on this:

I believe the death penalty should be reserved for only the most heinous actors, and Saddam, like notorious mass murderers before him qualify for that singular dishonor.

(Nice to see you around, BTW)

P.S. to DTL: ROFL! Very good. Really.

Guy Murray said...

Even worse than the media death watch, are the reports on CNN of individuals in the death chamber actually dancing around the body, post execution. I don't know whether that is true or not; but, if so it's confirmation of what an absolute circus this U.S. backed execution has become.

michilines said...

cedarford: If we Americans were allowed as the Iraqi people were to redo our Constitution, I am sure we could create some significant improvements to our legal, taxation, corporate, and Congressional systems.

It's not only the elites who are against your way of thinking. If your way of thinking were to prevail, our country would be operating in a pre-20th century mode of thinking.

Eli, good points all. I see that the hostess is being *neutral* per usual.

Rip away, commenters!

Balfegor said...

If your way of thinking were to prevail, our country would be operating in a pre-20th century mode of thinking.


Given the mess 20th-century modes of thinking made of the 20th century, I am rather glad that our country tends, on the whole, towards the 18th and early 19th, with a little spice of the 17th for flavour.

Karl said...

"Even worse than the media death watch, are the reports on CNN of individuals in the death chamber actually dancing around the body, post execution."

I'm probably just feeding a troll, but seeing as he was hanged, the phrase "death chamber" is enough to call bullshit.

-kd

Sloanasaurus said...

if so it's confirmation of what an absolute circus this U.S. backed execution has become.

There is always a Hate-America-First guty in every bunch.

I was watching ABC news and I thought their coverage was good. They basically went into Saddams long range of torture and murder and death. There was little commentary on their opinion of the conflict in general...

Come on...the guy used to watch video of people being executed.

Guy Murray said...

"I'm probably just feeding a troll, but seeing as he was hanged, the phrase "death chamber" is enough to call bullshit."

Call it what you want Karl--but dancing around the body after a state sponsored execution gives the entire process a circus like atmosphere--clowns included.

I'm not a troll--are you?

the pooka said...

So, if anyone's reading this at 11:45 EST or so, open up CNN.com and foxnews.com on parallel browser windows.

Fair and balanced? Maybe.

Obscenely tacky? Unquestionably.

Guy Murray said...

"There is always a Hate-America-First guty in every bunch."


Please explain to me how expecting at least the pretense of legal decorum in a state sponsored execution is "Hate-Amnerica-First"

Anonymous said...

Cedarford:

If we Americans were allowed as the Iraqi people were to redo our Constitution, I am sure we could create some significant improvements to our legal, taxation, corporate, and Congressional systems.

You mean like use their constitution that early on says that 'Sharia will be a source of law?' Or the actualy sharia based laws they have passed that has (among other things) significantly reduced the rights of women within the legal system.

Taxation? The taxation system must be pretty good since we are spending billions of dollars to build their infrastructure for them when many of the same things we are building, there are many American communities which lack them or badly need repair.

Congressional? Yeah, you can see how well and efficiently Iraq is being run on the news each and every day. I'll keep what we have here, warts and all, thank you.

I will concede to you that I don't know enough about incorporating in Iraq to challenge you there.

But I guess if you really think that a constitution which right up front names sharia as a source of law is superior to the one written by Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers, then all I can say is that you and I are on different planets from each other.

Jeff said...

Oh, please. Anything more humane than feeding Saddam feet-first into a plastic shredder is far better than he deserved.

Executions have always been public affairs, especially for heads of state; tickets were sold and citizens would make a holiday of the event. What's changed is that we no longer display the corpse in public for years after the execution. Cable news death watches are small beer by comparision.


The greatest mass murderers in human history, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were allowed to die in their beds. Hitler killed himself. That Saddam met the fate that they avoided should be cause for public celebration, especially by the Kurds and Marsh Arabs.

To suppose that justice would have been better served by allowing him to sit in a cell and eat Cheetos until he died of old age is nothing less than elitist decadence calling itself virtue.

Cedarford said...

Eli Blake - The Constitution is simply an operating manual created by We The People to run a nation. There is nothing mystical about constitutions or revising them as most nations have done every 50-60 years or so. Right now we have a very old operating manual that is not being fixed or updated but by whim of unelected lawyers in robes.
The Founding Fathers were not the Holy Founding Fathers with great ideas like slavery, lifetime appointment of judges dictated to them by God himself so as to make it blasphemous to ever "tamper with".
Right now, we appear to need serious fixes to it. As an old operating manual in need of update, not as some piece of Holy Parchment We The People may never change again....only our High Priests of the Bench who act as God's and the Holy Founders oracles.
***********************


balfegor Just that there's a lot more to try him for, more closure to be had, before we send him to die.

Those in love with endless due process and endless trials and endless appeals extending out to decades forget justice delayed is justice denied. The Iraqis wanted Saddam whacked, not waiting out 20 years of "trial after trial". The determination that Slobbo be given every delay, every "right" leisurely debated over by lawyers from nations totally without stake in Slobbo's offenses - and go through workup for several trials just guaranteed that after 7 years, he died of natural causes, still at least 2 years from any sentencing. Even if he had been convicted in his 1st round of trials, the Hague had set up another decade of more trials and had planned for lawyer job security. (Then the bastard died and the piles of lawyers, investigators, and experts hired and brought in lost job security!)

What the fuck is "closure"?

Is that the fantasy that every victim gets their 2-3 years worth of court due process to "try" Saddam in a perpetual defendant role - or they "lose their right to closure" and he stays alive and happy as he just goes from one trial to another inside and outside Iraq with his retinue of hundreds of lawyers and guards until he finally dies in his old age?

NO. What Iraq (except most Sunnis) and just about everyone else wanted was a formal trial done by Iraqis and Saddam fed to the worms ASAP. The Iranians and Kuwaitis, Saddams 2nd and 3rd biggest victims from hundreds of war crimes, agreed. Let the Iraqis try him - as long as justice came swift and certain.

Anonymous said...

Selective Squeamish Syndrome Strikes!

Funny how that works.

Anonymous said...

Cedarford:

If you don't like that 'piece of parchment' then there is a way to amend it, which is done periodically. So I'm not ready to throw the Constitution in the trash just yet, thank you.

And if you really think that another Constitutional Convention is the answer then a word to the wise: be careful of what you ask for, you might get it.

I know this though: I wouldn't hold up Iraq as a shining example of success of anything.

hdhouse said...

Internet Ronin said...
hdhouse: I can't help smile and wonder: "Why on Earth are you watching Fox News?"

Assuming my best imitation of "psychiatric voice:"
Would you like to talk about it?
;-)"

I was looking for Southpark and saw someone who looked and talked and had the same logic as Cartman. Fauxed me!

Sloanasaurus said...

It's good that they left his body intact. After they try and convict him on all the other charges they can dig up his body and re-execute him (a la Cromwell).

Sloanasaurus said...

Please explain to me how expecting at least the pretense of legal decorum in a state sponsored execution is "Hate-Amnerica-First"

I just thought it was interesting that you took the opportunity in this thread about Saddam's execution to criticize America in your first two posts.

Something like that would have never even crossed my mind on this great day that we are finally rid of the great butcher.

We must have different world views.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't hold up Iraq as a shining example of success of anything.

Eli: It is. Really, And those in power around the world know it. The United States ran a remarkably efficient war that achieved previously unthinkable aims in a surprisingly short period of time with an amazingly tiny number of casualties.

We would all do well to remember that, once the government of Iraq was successfully deposed, the war ended and the occupation began. The civil war complicates the occupation.

The fact that absolutely nothing appears to have gone right since then does not diminish the initial accomplishment.

It is true that there is no glory in having run a magnificent little war and then failing to accomplish the goals set forth when the decision to wage war was made.

But the fact remains, that the war toppled an entrenched government in a medium sized country with a medium sized population and historically significant numbers of troops and self-defense assets. That they were comparatively weak is not really a serious argument. Compared to the power of the United States, excluding nuclear weaponry, how many nations are not "comparatively weak?"

Over the past couple of years, I've run across numerous mentions by serious observers of just how riveting (and perception-altering) the conduct of that war was to military officials and politicians all over the world.

As we know, toppling a regime is one thing, rebuilding a country another. There was a time when it was generally believed that it was sufficiently difficult to do either so neither was a likely possibility. If it isn't all that difficult to do the former after all, how secure would you feel if the United States announced it had withdrawn from the nation-building business forever?

If the nation-building component is both the primary moral component and at the same time the primary component limiting "itchy fingers," discarding it makes the United States far more dangerous and threatening than it ever has been before to non-nuclear states.

LoafingOaf said...

I missed the big death watch. But when I came home and saw that he had been hanged I felt happy.

I don't think that's wrong.

I'm happy they killed him. If anyone deserves exectution it's genocidal, mass-murdering dictators like Saddam. I think executing dictators swiftly does some good. What's on my mind right now is this blog post I once read by Michael Totten from when he visited a former torture chamber and prison in Iraq and saw messages scrawled on the cells' walls from little children.

What I find disgusting are the many messages I just read at the DailyKos where commenter after commenter made clear they would be far happier if it had been Bush who had been hanged. Those people are sick.

The death of Saddam is a relief. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Anonymous said...

At 9:24 I predicted:

And I predict (with a high probability of being right), the Saddam execution video will be online at ogrish.com or similar sites, probably within a day.

Well, FOX News has already showed it ('tastefully' not including the final drop). Not sure when because I had the TV off for the last few hours.

But ironically, my prediction was wrong-- because it was too conservative! It took less than six hours, and it was on TV.

Maybe our national obsession with this kind of stuff will put the actual merchants of gore out of business because people will be able to watch it on CNN and FOX.

hdhouse said...

ahhh how convenient for many of you to disconnect actions and time lines.

saddam was bad and evil and a scum of the earth. ok. true believer here.

however you managed to disconnect the crimes for which he was convicted from the timeline (he was our vaunted ally against Iran at the time) and the gassing of the Kurds (he was our ally at the time and we sold him the gas) and up until Kuwait he was a friend of Dick and GWB not to mention Ollie North and RR.

So don't get to cocky as it was the republican policies in the 1980s that fed this beast...Just in case you forgot that.

AJ Lynch said...

I think it's cool when Drudge uses the two red sirens to signal really big news. It's corny I know but has that warm nostalgic Americana tone too like July 4th parades, barber poles, leafy colleges, gentrified main streets filled with 2 or 3 Starbucks, old-time hardware stores, high school football games and bands, pizza by the slice, pick-up trucks, and of course the New York Times.

AJ Lynch said...

Drudge Report News Flash -- TWO FLASHING SIRENS!! Dateline: The Althouse Blog.

DTL and hdhouse admit they (monitor) occasionally or accidentally watch (the always sinister and agenda-driven) Fox News reports.

Balfegor said...

NO. What Iraq (except most Sunnis) and just about everyone else wanted was a formal trial done by Iraqis and Saddam fed to the worms ASAP. The Iranians and Kuwaitis, Saddams 2nd and 3rd biggest victims from hundreds of war crimes, agreed. Let the Iraqis try him - as long as justice came swift and certain.

Really? I would have thought they'd be iffy on this whole "trial" thing in the first place -- just have him executed summarily and have done with it. The trial was, as commentators noted during the process, a circus. But if we were going to go down that road (and I think we should not have done), we should have gone down that road to the bitter end.

Daniel DiRito said...

See a sarcastic visual of George Bush playing a round of “Hangman”…here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Anonymous said...

Internet Ronin:

I think you didn't read the context of the statement. Cedarford had expressed admiration for the Iraqi constitution and suggested that we rewrite our own constitution.

So when I disagreed with him it had to do with the current government/constitution/society of Iraq.

And no, I don't hold that up as a model.

I agree that the military operations by the U.S. army between 3/18/03 and 5/1/03 was a good example of a well-planned and well-executed offensive.

The problem of course is that the war didn't end on 5/1/03 just because George Bush put on a flight jacket and said it did, and there was no plan about 'what to do next' because the planners assumed that everyone would throw flowers at us and peacefully transition to a peace-loving capitalist democracy.

Anonymous said...

Eli: You're right, I missed the context, as I often skip Cedarford's comments. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

Paco Wové said...

...he was our ally at the time and we sold him the gas...

I realize this thread is probably dead, but on the off chance that hdhouse sees this -- do you have any links or cites for this statement? Because in this blanket form I think it's incorrect. The U.S. was not a major supplier of chemical weapons precursors to Iraq (I'm not sure it's clear even how much of a minor supply source U.S. firms were) and thus it seems unlikely that it's (once again) all our fault.

hdhouse said...

Paco Woave:

here is one of perhaps 50 sources:

http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/ussuppliedgerms.html