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Daily Column
U.S. Papers Saturday: Saddam Hanged
Iranians Sent Back to Iran; US military budget to grow
By SETH SMITH 12/30/2006 01:35 AM ET
The execution of Saddam Hussein leads coverage in both the NYT and WP. The NYT has good coverage of the internal Iraqi government debate in the lead-up to the execution, with some officials saying it was illegal to stage an execution on a holiday (Eid Al Adha begins on Saturday for Sunnis), while the presiding judge announced that Iraq officially celebrated the start of the holiday on Sunday, the day Shias begin celebrating. The WP story is more focused on the reactions of Iraq's population, though Sunnis and Kurds are seriously under-represented in its account.

In its obituary, the NYT provides a colorful recounting of Hussein's grim life. As of IraqSlogger's press time, the WP had two obituaries posted, both of which take a straight-news approach.

The NYT and WP both run troubling postscripts to last week's capture of two Iranian government officials. The two men, both of whom were high-ranking officials in Iran's security firmament, were accused of U.S. military commanders of planning attacks in Iraq, including on U.S. forces. The NYT, with a more detailed account that plays up the conflict between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, has Iraqi officials saying evidence against the men was circumstantial and that they had traveled to Iraq as private citizens. According to the WP, however, the Iraqi government released the men as a diplomatic nicety, honoring Tehran's claims that the men had diplomatic immunity. The U.S., according to the WP account, had argued that the men were using aliases, and had thus undermined their diplomatic immunity. At any rate, the two men returned to Iran on Friday.


Reporting from Crawford, Jeff Zeleny compares the White House's ecstatic mood in the aftermath of Hussein's capture to the muted response to his execution. Speculation about a family feud between the Bushes and Hussein is included, as are details of White House thinking as it prepares to officially respond to Hussein's death.

Marc Santora has the story of what will be done with Hussein's body now that he is dead.Among the options being discussed are sending the corpse to family members living in Jordan, burying him at an undisclosed location that will never be made public, or sending him to Tikrit, his hometown, to be buried.

Bill Carter reports on the fevered discussions among television news executives about what aspects of the execution will be shown to viewers.

David S. Cloud details the most recent Defense Department request for funding, dated December 7. The request for nearly $100 million brings the total for 2007 to around $170 million. $9.7 million would be for training security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than the total spent between 2001 and 2006.

Guest columnist Najmaldin Karim, an Iraqi Kurd with U.S. citizenship, expresses satisfaction that Saddam Hussein has been put to death alongside regret that the dictator was not brought to trial for the many other massacres perpetuated under his rule.


Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy has a guest column publicizing the plight of Iraq's refugee population of 1.6 million internally and 1.8 million in neighboring countries. Pointing out that Iraqi refugees now make up ten percent of Jordan's population, Kennedy calls for a greater commitment to resettlement in the West and more funding for humanitarian aid.


No weekend edition.




No weekend edition.


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