Front page

Are you afraid of the dark?

(Click to invert colors, weenie.) (Requires JavaScript.)

All email will be assumed to be for publication unless otherwise requested.

What's in the banner?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Reading, Interrupted

This morning I picked up the front page of the newspaper to read these words:

Clutching a Quran, Saddam Hussein went to the gallows before sunrise Saturday, executed by vengeful countrymen

And there I stopped.


You know, if the US had turned Saddam immediately over to the Iraqis, who then turned him loose in a Shia or Kurdish area, and the inhabitants had attacked him with stones, bricks, kitchen knives, their bare hands -- that would have been vengeful.

But the Iraqis didn't do that. They gave him a trial. It's difficult to judge the fairness of the trial because there was no doubt as to his guilt. But they went through the motions, at least, and let him have a phalanx of the most deranged lawyers stolen money could buy, and let him occasionally point his finger and shout that the proceedings were illegal because he was still president, dammit.

And still, it's "vengeful". And the lesson here, children, is that it doesn't pay to do things by the book, because the right-thinking "civilized" people will still think of you as barbarians as long as there isn't forgiveness and a big group hug at the end.

Niles suggests that "vengeful" is not necessarily meant as a criticism. He's wrong, of course, but I mention it as a gesture to the Deluded-American community.

Now, you'll notice that there is no link to the article. That's because the Houston Chronicle's online article bears no resemblance to the one in the paper, despite being written by the same two authors. There is some overlap in information between the two, but only a handful of paragraphs.

Protein Wisdom designated-blogger Darleen comments on this story too, finding the Chronicle's dead-trees version at Forbes. The Forbes story is time-stamped 1:10am Eastern, whereas the online Chronicle story is time-stamped 10:50am. (Although, as we learned during the Qana photo-staging controversy, apparently time stamps on photos mean bupkis. Is it any different for stories?)

Charles Johnson also finds a vengeful photograph caption.

In other Saddam execution news, apparently some of his last words were, God is great. The nation will be victorious and Palestine is Arab. I have to wonder at this report, since I find it hard to believe that Saddam found his mind concentrated on the Palestinians at that moment. They sure appreciated the thought, though. Aside from his family and some Kos Kidz, the Palestinians are really the only ones sorry to see him go.

However, Hot Air brings us an execution round-up in which multiple witnesses report multiple last words, including a contemptuous "Muqtada" [al-Sadr].

Returning to our theme of interrupted reading: that Hot Air post also noted this [London] Times obituary, which I abandoned in the middle of the fourth paragraph:

[Saddam] clearly felt that the international community did not have the stomach for a fight. He may have been right in that. But a new American President, George W Bush, determined to find a scapegoat for the Muslim terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001, was in no mood to abide by the niceties of international law.

It goes on for fifty-seven more paragraphs. But after inaccuracies on that scale, what's the point of reading the rest of the piece?