Michael Bywater’s cross about the Saddam execution video:
They released videos of the noose going around Saddam's neck. The BBC chose to publish stills from this obscene footage on their website (which is compulsorily funded by a tax on television-ownership, non-payment of which is punishable by imprisonment).
There’s a cellphone video of the whole execution here (as in all of it). It has to be said that it looked quick. The noose was placed under the left ear and Saddam is shown dangling with the head thrown back. This is, so to speak, according to protocol. The rope takes a quarter turn clockwise jerk as it pulls up and the head is thrown back, snapping the vertebrae, assuming the drop has been calculated correctly. In cases of strangulation, the head is thrown forward, crushing the windpipe.
Bywater makes comparison with another topical execution, a couple of thousand years ago. The whole effect, with its grubby basement and masked participants, reminded me of nothing so much as Zarqawi’s head chopping parties of grisly memory. Just another gang in action, then.
Interesting too that the guards were whooping up Moqtada al Sadr during the process. I thought his boys were supposed to be persona non grata these days. Maybe they still have their uses.
It seems to fit in with the way Western policy has evolved over the past year. Back last summer we were providing diplomatic cover to Israel in its attempts to collapse Lebanon into civil war. The policy on Palestine seems remarkably similar. Deny Hamas its electoral mandate, make the economy – such as it is – scream and arm Fatah. In the Horn of Africa we’re backing Ethiopia’s so far successful attempts to replace a nascent Islamic state with …well, a bunch of qat addled teenagers in technicals. And now, a bit of wild justice in a basement.
I’d watch the execution video if I were you if only for reasons of information. It’s where we are right now.