Maliki wants it done by Sunday, but like Ed says, we wouldn’t transfer him to the Iraqis unless the execution was imminent. The risk of someone on their side tipping the jihadis to his whereabouts or even trying to bust him out themselves is too great. Baghdad is eight hours ahead of us; don’t be surprised if there’s big breaking news this afternoon a little after 4 p.m. eastern time.
ABC and CBS say they won’t air the execution video if it’s released. CNN and Fox are mulling. Who cares? It’ll be all over the Internet, including right here, within hours.
In the meantime, proceed directly to INDC Journal, where Bill Ardolino is on the ground in Kuwait killing time while he prepares to cross over into Iraq. He’s just returned with photos from the national “Not to Forget Museum” — as Bill describes it, “a timely place to be, given Hussein’s rapidly approaching rope-dance for crimes against humanity; if some in the West blithely shrug their shoulders at the atrocities and wars of conquest endeavored by the Iraqi Baath regime, the government of Kuwait and many of its citizens do not.” All kinds of photos at the link, some of them moving (scenes of Iraqi brutality recreated with toy soldiers), others zesty with schadenfreude (a display case featuring Uday Hussein’s pimp robe). This one was my favorite. Crotch-high, you’ll note.
Update: “As early as Saturday morning in Iraq.”
Update: Bill Buckley’s going to enjoy it. Guiltily, but nonetheless:
What is going to happen is an outcry against capital punishment, and we are obliged to listen to what will be said and to weigh the arguments, even if we have wrestled with the dilemma before. But we are entitled, also, to satisfaction from what is about to happen…
It was rumored, in 1946, that the hangman in Nuremberg adjusted the nooses of some of the condemned to magnify the pain of suffocation. Such sadism was not called for then and is not called for now. But if fornication is wrong, there is no denying that it can bring pleasure. The death of Saddam Hussein at rope’s end brings a pleasure that is undeniable, and absolutely chaste in its provenance.
He’s wrong. There won’t be much complaining about the death penalty; Saddam’s too much of a monster to be cast as a victim. The complaints will be the same as they always are on those rare occasions when there’s good news from Iraq: it won’t change anything, it might make things worse, it doesn’t matter in the bigger picture, and we right-wingers are only interested in it because it’s a “distraction” from everything else that’s happening. The Eric Boehlert response, in other words.
Update: He’s been transferred. Fox just broke in to say that, according to an Iraqi judge, it’ll happen tomorrow at the latest to make sure it’s done before Eid.
Update: Fox is saying now that, according to one official, the U.S. still has him. Maybe it’s disinfo to throw the jihadis off.
Update: It’s 2:48 and Fox just broke in to say, according to an unnamed Iraqi MP, the execution’s “imminent” and that he’s been handed over to them. Meanwhile, ABC News is hearing that it’ll happen over the weekend and that Saddam will remain in U.S. custody until it does. It’s got to be disinformation. I hope so, anyway — otherwise it means the military had to renege on their plan to transfer him, which can’t be good no matter what the explanation.
Update: A “top Iraqi official” tells the AP that Saddam will be executed by 6 a.m. Baghdad time. That’s 10 p.m. here on the east coast.
Update: The AP says it’s happening between 9:30 and 10, but Fox says the official witnesses have already gathered and CNN quotes two Arabic TV stations as saying it could come within the next hour. It’s a little after 7 p.m. as I write this.
Update: 9:40 ET. Fox says the final preparations are under way.