BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein, the shotgun-waving dictator who ruled Iraq with a remorseless brutality for a quarter-century and was driven from power by a U.S.-led war that left his country in shambles, was taken to the gallows and executed Saturday, Iraqi state-run television reported.
It was a grim end for the 69-year-old leader who had vexed three U.S. presidents. Despite his ouster, Washington, its allies and the new Iraqi leaders remain mired in a fight to quell a stubborn insurgency by Saddam loyalists and a vicious sectarian conflict.
Also hanged were Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court. State-run Iraqiya television news announcer said “criminal Saddam was hanged to death and the execution started with criminal Saddam then Barzan then Awad al-Bandar.”
This could actually save lives. Capital punishment gives a finality to certain behavior and prevents others from imagining that they can return to the halcyon days. Hanging means there can be no rescue attempt or taking of hostages to secure his release. But I’m sure the same people who are urging us to admit to defeat and retreat from Iraq will by heartbroken.