Saddam Hussein Executed in Baghdad (Video, Photos)

Saddam Hussein is dead.

Some Arab media, including state-run Iraqiya television, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya and the U.S.-financed Al-Hurra, reported about an hour before daylight Saturday (about 10 p.m. EST Friday) that Saddam had been executed. There was no confirmation from the Iraqi government.

A U.S. judge on Friday refused to stop Saddam’s execution, rejecting a last-minute court challenge. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction to interfere in another country’s judicial process. The ruling can be appealed, but it was issued within an hour of the time Iraqi officials said they expected the execution to be carried out.

Saddam and others were convicted of murder in the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims from an Iraqi town where assassins tried to kill Saddam in 1982. Also to be hanged were Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, the adviser said.

WaPo has the following graphic:

Saddam Executed Washington Post Blurb

They have a collection of videos and other features under the heading “The Life of a Dictator.”

NYT merely has this: “Breaking News 10:37 PM ET: Saddam Hussein Has Been Executed, According to a Senior American Official in Baghdad.”

Drudge broke out TWO sirens:

Saddam Executed Drudge Report Blurb

He also provides this chronology of network coverage: “CNN Broke at 10:06… NBC first broadcast net to report execution of Hussein at 10:14 pm, ET — CBS went up at 10:18 — ABC up at 10:25…”

South Park, of course, anticipated this some time back:

More gruesome videos, I’m sure, will follow.

UPDATE: The blogospheric reaction has been, as might be expected, substantial despite the inconvenient timing of this during a holiday lull. Lots of discussion of ethics and efficacy.

  • Leopold Stotch believes too many conservatives have lost sight of the difference between justice and vengeance.
  • Richard Fernandez observes that, “US forces kept custody before and after his execution to prevent his corpse from being desecrated in a society where justice is often regarded as inseparable from revenge.”
  • Warner Todd Huston argues the AP is “misusing words” to “lead us to feel that this execution isn’t justice, but is mere vengence.”
  • John Cole has mixed emotions: “While justice was served with the death of Saddam, it is hard to not feel like this is little more than revenge…”
  • Marty Peretz believes this a special case: “Even if Saddam is not exactly in the category of Eichmann, he–like Pol Pot and other leaders of deliberately killer regimes–has no claim on our conscience.”
  • Andrew Cochran: “The execution will have no impact on the current situation in Iraq, other than being cited as another excuse for more terrorism by Sunni insurgents. But Saddam was a mass murderer and a tyrant. To the best of my knowledge, he was the only ruler in the past 50 years who used chemical weapons on his own people and against another country.”
  • Robert Farley tells Saddam: “Enjoy sharing the hotseat with Augusto Pinochet. In fairness, you made the General look like a rank amateur.”
  • Bruce McQuain: “I’m sure Hell’s VIP room is occupied tonight.”
  • Steven Taylor, who thinks the trial was a wasted opportunity, has some wishes: “May his victims rest in peace. And may his demise not be used as excuse for further violence, although I fear that hope will not come to fruition.”
  • Steve Bainbridge has a thorough discussion of Roman Catholic teaching on capital punishment and why he believes executing Saddam is justified.
  • Kevin Hayden notes that Saddam was not Osama and that a lot of guys were trying to kill him, so it’s no big deal that he murdered a couple hundred thousand people a while back.
  • Creature: “Evil dictators rule throughout the world. They kill and oppress their people. This one is now dead, not because of the horrible acts he committed — the worst of which came with America’s approval — but because Bush, Cheney et al. had an agenda.”
  • Jim Henley believes “the US and its Iraqi allies chose to try Saddam on one of his relatively minor crimes because if they did so they could get him safely hung before they had to try him for the major ones, the gas attacks and massacres that happened during The Years of Playing Footsie with the United States.”
  • Ezra Klein is “not remotely convinced that turning Hussein into a martyr to satiate our need for vengeance is the wisest strategic decision in the long run.”
  • Shakespeare’s Sister quotes him.
  • Merv Benson says “Good riddance.”
  • Tammy Bruce, too.
  • Dr. Sanity pens an Eric Claptonesque satire, “Cheers in Heaven.”
  • Patrick plans to “ululate, pass out sweets, and fire a few rounds off into the sky.”
  • Jimmie: “I hope he heard the voices of every single person he killed.”
  • Jill: “Six days ago this country celebrated the birth of a prince of peace. Tonight we spit on his memory by indulging in a death-gasm.”
  • Aazmaaish has some photos of Saddam being shackled in preparation for the hanging. [Reader sandcrab points out that these are likely from the trial, since Saddam is in a different suit than he’s hanged in.]
  • Josh Marshall contends “this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.”
  • Serr8d believes dark days are ahead: “A realization by the majority of Humanity that Hussein (or Stalin, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or whoever) is truly a murderous dictator is never enough for another fragment of humanity who has lost a hero. Saddam Hussein will be avenged…by someone, in a never ending cycle of vengence and revengence.”
  • egalia notes that President Bush “slept through it, just like it was a hurricane or something.”
  • John Little has a good news links roundup.
  • Ed Morrissey, without apparent irony, liveblogged the execution.
  • Greyhawk: “Perhaps because I’ve been there, done that, and will again I just don’t share the enthusiasm expressed as so many exclamation points (!!!!) and cheers from so many bloggers who haven’t and never will.”

After all that, more South Park is needed (warning: vulgar language):

Screen captures of various MSM websites and their coverage of the Saddam execution:

Saddam Executed New York Times Website PhotoSaddam Executed CBS News Website PhotoSaddam Executed Chicago Tribune Website PhotoSaddam Executed CNN Website PhotoSaddam Executed Washington Examiner Website Photo

Saddam Executed Fox News Website PhotoSaddam Executed Washington Post  Website PhotoSaddam Executed ABC News Website PhotoSaddam Executed Los Angeles Times Website PhotoSaddam Executed USA Today Website Photo

Saddam Executed MSNBC  Website Photo

Click the thumbnails for larger images.

Photos of Saddam being prepared for execution and with a rope around his neck found at various places (I had these below the fold but all the MSM outlets are plastering them on their front pages, so it seems silly):

Saddam Hussein Execution Photo Shackle 2Saddam Hussein Execution Photo Shackle 1Saddam Hussein Execution Photo Rope Montage

***UPDATE*** Gone Hollywood has the execution video, minus sound.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. sandcrab says:

    The photos posted on Aazmaaish appear to have been taken during the trial, not the execution – totally different clothing.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Sandcrab: Good point.

  3. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Good riddance!!! May he rot in hell.

  4. Anderson says:

    Mission accomplished! Can we go home now?

  5. floyd says:

    Does anybody know why they had to use a 24 year old crime for this trial, when so many thousands have died at Saddam’s hand more recently? I think this questions the depths of his depravity.

  6. Barry says:

    floyd, because ‘gassing his own people’ might have brought about the slight PR problem that the US had no particular problem with him doing it. Aside from bad PR.

  7. Anderson says:

    Juan Cole at Salon (quoted by Steve Benen without having to go through the site-pass mess) suggests why the timing was rushed.

    The tribunal…had a unique sense of timing when choosing the day for Saddam’s hanging. It was a slap in the face to Sunni Arabs. This weekend marks Eid al-Adha, the Holy Day of Sacrifice, on which Muslims commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for God. Shiites celebrate it Sunday. Sunnis celebrate it Saturday — and Iraqi law forbids executing the condemned on a major holiday. Hanging Saddam on Saturday was perceived by Sunni Arabs as the act of a Shiite government that had accepted the Shiite ritual calendar.

    The timing also allowed Saddam, in his farewell address to Iraq, to pose as a “sacrifice” for his nation, an explicit reference to Eid al-Adha. The tribunal had given the old secular nationalist the chance to use religious language to play on the sympathies of the whole Iraqi public.


  8. anjin-san says:

    Any the people of Iraq continue to die… so we have accomplished, what?

  9. Boyd says:

    I seem to recall much discussion a month or so ago about the Iraqi law that prohibits executing criminals who are 70 or older. Since Hussein’s 70th birthday would have come in April 2007, if he wasn’t executed by then, he never could have been executed under current Iraqi law.

    Granted, they still had almost 4 months to execute him, but it wasn’t like they could have followed the US example and waited years before they finally got around to it.

    So I’m wondering, why haven’t I heard any of the talking heads mention this point? Or did I just miss it?