CBS broke in to show former Clinton official Richard Holbrooke reassuring Katie Couric that this meant nothing for President Bush's Iraq policy.
Some outlets protested the "rush" to execution, most notably the anti-American editorial pages of The New York Times. Rushed? Putting a bullet in his head when we found him in the spider hole at the end of 2003 would be a "rushed" job. Instead, he sat in jail eating Doritos for three years, making a mockery out of his trials for mass murder, when everyone but Ramsey Clark knew he was guilty as sin.
Whether the pace of justice for Saddam had been swift, or whether it was glacial, we knew the United States would be trashed by its homegrown media no matter which way events turned.
CNN even had the audacity to worry about the brutality of hanging Saddam. Reporter Randi Kaye wondered, "Will Saddam suffer in death?" The villain was now the victim. But the real turning point for the negative nabobs was the cell-phone video of Saddam hanging, and toadies of Shi'ite militant leader Moqtada al-Sadr chanting his name in the aftermath. To be sure, the spectacle was disgusting, but should it overshadow so completely the justice that was done?
In Newsweek, Christopher Dickey insisted, "The tyrant's end looked more like the result of a sectarian show trial." Show trial? What next -- Saddam was framed? NBC's Engel declared it was yet another "major public relations blow" for America.
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews dragged out the old line that Bush was clueless about how disastrous this video was, just like he was clueless about footage of Hurricane Katrina. The New York Times even argued the video showed that Saddam took his punishment with "unflinching dignity and courage." What a guy, that Saddam.
Reporters act amazed that Bush hasn't waved a white flag and surrendered to their wishes. He shouldn't. He should respond with a political broadside of his own, reminding them that when America's enemies are brought to justice, Americans should, and will, rejoice.
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