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Post Mortem

Most reporters covering the execution of Saddam Hussein pay lip service to the fact that he was a “brutal dictator,” but John Burns of the New York Times spent time in Iraq over the years, and did serious reporting from there. He observed first-hand the terror that Saddam imposed throughout his reign, and that experience shines through in his excellent article in today’s Times: Feared and Pitiless; Fearful and Pitiable. It begins:

NOBODY who experienced Iraq under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein could imagine, at the height of the terror he imposed on his countrymen, ever pitying him. Pitiless himself, he sent hundreds of thousands of his countrymen to miserable deaths, in the wars he started against Iran and Kuwait, in the torture chambers of his secret police, or on the gallows that became an industry at Abu Ghraib and other charnel houses across Iraq. Iraqis who were caught in his spider

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