Saddam to be Hanged by Sunday – Maybe Today ***UPDATE: Tonight***

Saddam Hussein will reportedly be hanged within three days until he is dead, dead, dead.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death for his role in 148 killings in 1982, will have his sentence carried out by Sunday, NBC News reported Thursday. According to a U.S. military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, Saddam will be hanged before the start of the Eid religious holiday, which begins at sundown Saturday. The hanging could take place as early as Friday, NBC’s Richard Engel reported.

Reuters reports that the execution will be videotaped. Steve Benen muses as to how much the American networks will show but figures “one has to assume the video will appear online fairly quickly.” Kim Priestap agrees.

The NYT Editorial Board is disturbed by the “flawed, politicized and divisive” nature of the judicial process that brought us to this stage and observes, “Toppling Saddam Hussein did not automatically create a new and better Iraq. Executing him won’t either.”

That’s certainly true. Then again, the same could have been said about the Nuremberg trials. Punishing the formerly powerful for their atrocities doesn’t transform the world. It does, however, provide a certain closure and sense of justice. Yes, Saddam’s trial was a farce. He did everything he could to make it that way with his antics. Regardless, neither the NYT editors nor anyone in Iraq has any reasonable doubt about his guilt.

Ed Morrissey agrees, noting, “the purpose of trials is not to nurture hope — it’s to determine the truth regarding guilt or innocence of the accused.”

Jules Crittenden reflects on his time as a reporter in Iraq and all those he saw die, including young Iraqi soldiers brainwashed to sacrifice all for a man who meekly surrendered in his spider hole.

UPDATE: AllahPundit points to a conflicting (but hours older) Reuters report that the execution might not take place until as late as February. He’s buying it because there are those who want to keep Saddam alive for their own purposes: “The Kurds want to wait until his trial for genocide against them is over. The U.S. wants to wait in hopes of getting the Baathist insurgents to negotiate.”

It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if this drags out. Dale Franks is hopeful, though, observing that, “Iraq doesn’t have an equivalent of the Ninth Circuit when it comes to carrying out death sentences.” True.

***UPDATE*** AP says it will happen within hours.

The official witnesses to Saddam Hussein’s impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime’s atrocities.

With U.S. forces on high alert for a surge in violence, the Iraqi government readied all the necessary documents, including a “red card” — an execution order introduced during Saddam’s dictatorship. As the hour of his death approached, Saddam received two of his half brothers in his cell on Thursday and was said to have given them his personal belongings and a copy of his will.

Najeeb al-Nueimi, a member of Saddam’s legal team in Doha, Qatar, said he too requested a final meeting with the deposed Iraqi leader. “His daughter in Amman was crying, she said ‘Take me with you,'” al-Nueimi said late Friday. But he said their request was rejected.

An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. Also to be hanged at that time were Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, the adviser said. The time was agreed upon during a meeting Friday between U.S. and Iraqi officials, said the adviser, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

“Saddam will be handed over shortly before the execution,” the official said. The physical transfer of Saddam from U.S. to Iraqi authorities was believed to be one of the last steps before he was to be hanged. Saddam has been in U.S. custody since he was captured in December 2003.

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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. That’s what I was thinking. If there were any problems at all in Saddam’s trial, they were brought about fully and completely by Saddam himself. Yes, there were issues, but if he wanted a perfect trial, then he could have sat down and shut up.

    While I’m against the death penalty in general, I have no problem whatsoever with this one (call me a hypocrite.) In fact, I’d execute him just for the stupidity he displayed during his trial.

  2. Anon says:

    Executing Saddam won’t make everything right, but I do think it brings some small sense of justice to the world. Every once in a while, the bad guy does get he deserves. Too bad they usually don’t (Pol Pot, etc.).

  3. Anderson says:

    I’d better phone in a rush order on those “How’s It Hanging, Saddam?” T-shirts — their window of saleability is closer than I’d thought.

  4. McGehee says:

    If Saddam is hanged before the New Year, my only disgruntlement will be that the New Year wasn’t 1992.

  5. Jeff says:
  6. I got a 21 year old Glenfiddich for Christmas. I think I’ll open it as soon as the word come down.

  7. vnjagvet says:

    It is done according to Fox and CNN.

  8. Dave Cyphert says:

    Time to meet your maker!!!
    Judgement day was long overdue for the killer disctator that murdered my best friend, Rick Weaver and 36 other sailors on the USS Stark in 1987 while on deployment in the Persian Gulf. One of his Iraqi jets slammed two Exocet missiles into his berthing compartment while they asleep, this done during the 8 year war with neighboring Iran…how’s it hanging now Saddam!

  9. Richard M says:

    Now he is dead, time to take the troops home. I support them, but not this war. Unlike the President I actually respect those in armed forces.. not just playing lip serivce to them and using them for cannon fodder in a war we could have waited on and get Osama Bin Laden first. But I guess I am just nuts
    . yes we should see the video everywhere…

  10. Sharrah says:

    where can find a site that has the video?

  11. me says:

    see the whole saddam hanging from beginning to end…..WARNING!!! graphic content inside.

  12. bash says:

    tony blair are you happy now but watch out bush will hang you if you dont do as your told

  13. Heikki V. says:

    I just saw the video showing Hussein’s hanging. The dictator retained his composure as was expected.

    Everybody here and there is telling of Hussein’s cruelty, not so often of his political stupidity; some missiles onto Israel, war against Iran, the Kuwait affair etc.

    The political cul-de-sac is at least as tough as it was in Balkan under the regime of Michailovich. Then the knot was opened by force – while the US troops will soon leave the country, yours guess about Iraq’s future is as good as mine.

    So under this kind of situation, the current situation is perhaps best available.

  14. Ben says:

    Can you put saddams blumming hangin on the internet cause i wanna watch it

  15. jimmy jones says:

    You talk about war against Iran and Kuwait, yet who was it that provided saddam and his troops the missiles in order to bomb these countries? The answer? AMERICA. This so called ‘war against terror’ is a cover up, and you are all too ignorant to even realise. Saddam was tried for killing 148 people, yet Bush and Blair have already killed 100,000 and growing in Iraq, where is the justice in that? Also, Why was saddam tried according to Shariah law? Because Bush knows that Saddam will eventually start talking about the truth, and if he was tried under international treaty breaches in an international court, there will be no capital punishment. I think Saddam deserved to be tried, however no-one deserves to be sentenced with the death penalty.

  16. Spoon says:

    Are you out of your mind? He had 148 people killed because someone tried to kill him. He got what he deserved. I know we are at war and a lot of people have died for that. It sucks but it was needed. I think that was have moved to far from the goal to what everyone wants. We are there to do a job lets get it done and stop complaining. Don’t lose sight of that other ass that needs to be hung also.

  17. jimmy jones says:

    u say all these deaths were ‘needed’. are u prepared to die? and if u say yes, dunt botha sayin dat ur gona die for ur country, coz every1 knows thas all bullshit.

  18. Heikki V. says:

    Iraq is composed of three main minorities, as you know: Kurds, shiahs, sunnis. Two of them were certainly quite satisfied with this capital punishment.

    Although the US-attittude towards the international court is problematic (right or wrong; this is the European view), main reasons for Husseins punishment lies within borders of Iraq, that is, due to their domestic affairs.

    And what comes to the figures 148 versus 100000, you ought to count not only civil victims but also all victims of wars to get the figures comparabable; and that makes about 1 000 000 persons killed in Husseins manouvres instead of 148.

    But I admit: my figures are only a bit better and more consistent than yours. (Perhaps we should devide the figures by the number of years and further: we should wonder which of these parties were responsible of the victims in their bilateral fights!)

    Best Reagrds, Heikki V.