just about everything that could have possibly gone wrong with that execution did, except that saddam actually did die and he did not suddenly come back as a zombie and kill everyone in the room. seriously, how bad do things have to get when saddam hussein of all people becomes a martyr? this new york times piece should be read in its entirety; it's hard to pick just one chunk to exerpt, but i think i'll go with this:
Just a month ago Mr. Hussein was widely dismissed as a criminal who deserved the death penalty, even if his trial was seen as flawed. Much of the Middle East reacted with a collective shrug when he was found guilty of crimes against humanity in November.
But shortly after his execution last Saturday, a video emerged that showed Shiite guards taunting Mr. Hussein, who responded calmly but firmly to them. From then on, many across the region began looking at him as a martyr.
"The Arab world has been devoid of pride for a long time," said Ahmad Mazin al-Shugairi, who hosts a television show at the Middle East Broadcasting Center that promotes a moderate version of Islam in Saudi Arabia. "The way Saddam acted in court and just before he was executed, with dignity and no fear, struck a chord with Arabs who are desperate for their own leaders to have pride too."
Ayman Safadi, editor in chief of the independent Jordanian daily Al Ghad, said, "The last image for many was of Saddam taken out of a hole. That has all changed now."¶