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Daily Column
US Papers Sunday: Hanging Details, Reax
Saddam's Final Words, the World's Reaction, U.S. Deaths
By EASON JORDAN 12/31/2006 00:00 AM ET
The New York Times and Washington Post provide exhaustive coverage related to Saddam Hussein's execution while reporting little else on Iraq, with the NY Times providing the most detail-rich reporting on the hanging itself.

The NY Times's Marc Santora provides an unrivaled narrative on Saddam's execution, including Saddam's supposed final words: "Down with the traitors, the Americans, the spies and the Persians. The Washington Post's story on the hanging, written by Sudarsan Raghavan, provides fascinating execution-related nuggets, but not as impressively as Santora's report.


From Baghdad, John Burns provides two reports. The first, Iraqi reaction to Saddam's execution. His second story: a Week in Review section perspective piece in which he writes of his time in Iraq during the Saddam era and his first-person observations of Saddam during the deposed Iraqi leader's trials. Burns says Saddam deserves no mercy but was a pitiful character in the end despite his bombast.

Also from Baghdad, Sabrina Tavernise reports on the predictable sectarian response to Saddam's execution, with many Shia celebrating, most Sunni not celebrating, and Kurds being upset that Saddam was executed before being fully held to account for his crimes against the Kurds.

From Paris, Marlise Simons reports on whether Saddam Hussein's trials will be the standard for trials of deposed leaders in the future. The short answer is no, mostly because many observers view the trials as unfair.

From Beirut, Hassam Fattah reports on the Arab world's reaction to Saddam execution - a hanging viewed by many as victor's justice. In the meantime, a war meant in part to help bring democracy to the Mideast has failed miserably in that goal. The Mideast is far more of a mess today than it was when the U.S. invaded Iraq nearly four years ago.

From London, Alan Cowell reports on the rest of the world's reaction to Saddam's execution. Many leaders repeated their long-held opposition to the death penalty. Cowell also reports on Tony Blair's awkward position because his Labor Party opposes the death penalty worldwide.

From Texas, Ralph Blumenthal reports on how the U.S. Army division that captured Saddam three years ago is not making much of a fuss about Saddam's execution. What's not noted in the piece is most of the Fourth Infantry Division soldiers in Iraq three years ago have since departed to other divisions or left the military altogether.


Kudos to the Washington Post for reporting a story that deserves better placement that page A18 - more U.S. service women have died in Iraq (68) than in any other war (16 killed in action in World War II). Donna St. George reports the story from Fort Lee, Virginia, site of the U.S. Army Women's Museum.

Peter Baker reports on the long, bitter history between Saddam Hussein and the Presidents Bush. Bush 41 wanted Saddam gone, and 16 years later Bush 43 made that happen.

Philip Kennicott reports on the American media's reporting of Saddam's execution, including how it played on YouTube -- a seemingly incomplete, stream-of-consciousness story.

Nelson Hernandez reports on Iraq-Americans celebrating Saddam's execution.

In the commentary section, Richard A. Clarke provides an op-ed saying the Bush administration's pre-occupation with Iraq is distracting from other crucial international crises and matters that deserve more attention.

Think tankers Gordon Adams and John Diamond argue in an op-ed against expanding the U.S. military, saying the better course would be to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq.

Columnist Jim Hoagland writes about the death of Saddam and other dictators, saying "Dictators die harder than most of us."


Dark on Sundays.


Dark on Sundays.


Dark on Sundays.


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