Eric Umansky: The most telling part of the execution

It’s telling that the world news networks are so focused on their bloodlust that they’re overlooking some important journalistic angles on Saddam’s execution. At least the bloggers are asking the questions, so the opportunity for a network to pick up the story is still open.

With all the cell phone videos out there, it’s pretty sickening. Clearly, they, and by they I mean us, wanted to get these images out to as many people as possible. I don’t understand how they could have an “official videographer” and then let in a bunch of guys with cell phones capable of getting the whole thing for the entire world to see “unofficially.” This was probably the most secure place in Baghdad EVER. The conceit of having an “official videographer” accompanied by a bunch of unofficial propagandists is terrifying.

I found the “unprofessionalism”* on display between the filming of the execution, and the publicising of the footage is pretty stunning. The fact that the guards were allowed a discourse with him on the gallows is further proof that this was badly managed. The whole affair feels too much like the al-Qaeda beheading videos for my comfort. Between the society dominated by religion and the culture of violence, the Middle East gives the impression of being stuck in a time-warp. I never believed in their ability to institute democracy before the US invasion; I’m doubly certain of its impossibility four years later.

* In quotes because I loathe the idea of professional executioners in this modern age.

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