Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Reaction

The majority of Iraqis were transfixed by the sight of Saddam Hussein appearing in court yesterday. Wherever there was a television, you would see a crowd of Iraqis watching--soaking in the moment. The Deputy Foreign Minister, who I chatted with briefly, said that he feld "jubilant about Saddam facing justice." However, I witnessed another reaction in the press room as I waited to get the feed from the hearing. A journalist was complaining quite loudly about how the trial of Saddam was going to distract people from how terribly things were going in Iraq. This was all planned, you see. There were other expected things said: the administration is a bunch of extremists, jihadis, and nazis. And to think, some people think that the press in Iraq is biased.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Robert, I would love for you to name names and associated companies of those who clearly announce their bias. Maybe a little publicity would cause a revolt among their advertisers. Lord knows their editors don’t care.

Mr. Alt-

Can you elaborate on "transfixed"? What do the Iraqi people you hav met want to see happen to Saddam Hussein?

Is it anger? Is it disgust?

Is their interest more of a passing one, like OJ Simpson, or is it a true passion?

Thank you,


As for what transfixed meant in this case, first much of Baghdad simply stopped. If there was a television, there was a crowd--often standing eerily quiet, although sometimes vigorously debating. (I can’t provide much comment on the debates, because they were in Arabic. I can only tell you what they would tell me in English when I asked.) There seemed to be a certain level of amazement at seeing the dictator in court. This was real. Those who I talked to most often spoke with favor on the fact that Saddam would finally be brought to justice--and they spoke of it with a sense of righteous indignation. The most vocal people I spoke with were those who had been tortured by Saddam--a group that is surprisingly large. In this group was Deputy Foreign Minister Bayati, who I referenced in the main post above. As for what they want to happen to Saddam, Bayati was clear: nothing short of the death penalty will do. In part, I think that this based on their view of proportionality. Putting to one side objections about the death penalty, it is easy to see why Iraqis would seek the most severe punishment possible. But I think there is more to it than proportionality. In part, I think there is support for the death penalty to assure that Saddam can never come back.

Please inform those - especialy in the media, who bloody well should know already - who say the Saddam trial will be used to distract from problems that it is not slated to begin until January 2005 at the earliest.

"And to think, some people think that the press in Iraq is biased."

Biased? Biased? The press biased? I always saw it as snowwhite pure (snicker, snicker)

Excuse me I must stop now. I feel an uncontrolable fit of laughter about to overtake me.

Biased? (snicker)

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