Saddam Hussein was hanged this morning (03:00 GMT – 06:00 Baghdad time) for crimes against humanity, following the 1982 killings of 148 Shias in the town of Dujail.
Yes, the killings will continue. Yes, the allies screwed up the occupation of Iraq. Many are warning of increasing violence in Iraq, although it’s hard to see how things could get much worse there.
Video footage of his final moments on the gallows has just been released. He looked calm, and the BBC are making much of this. The opponents of the death penalty are up in arms about his execution. The media are pushing the fact that he may be seen as a martyr. Iraqis have been celebrating in the streets.
Saddam’s defence lawyers have said there has been a great injustice. There can be no doubt that he was guilty. No technicalities were going to save him and he deserved his sentence, which was carried out in a far more humane way than the justice he meted out.
Nevertheless, swathes of people will become apologists just because of the manner of his death. That’s fine – argue against the death sentence, but please don’t try to defend the indefensible.