Whispers in the Execution Chamber
John Burns of the NYT, who really is one of the best journalists to cover Iraq writes about the American-Iraqi struggle over the execution of Saddam Hussein. He describes how conflicting cultures, political objectives and styles confronted each other over the issue of when and how to hang Saddam Hussein. It was ironical that Hussein, in his last hour, would bid his Americans a sincere goodbye before steeling himself to face the men baying for his blood and who could hardly contain their desire to kill him. But the most important service of Burn's account is the illustration of the power dynamic between the Iraqi government and second-tier American commanders who felt ultimately compelled to follow the letter of the law. Compelled to recognize the new government of Iraq as a sovereign government whose wishes were final, even when it went against all their instincts.