Politically, can we get anything right over there? Why the botched execution matters by AJ in DC - 1/03/2007 03:48:00 PM By now it's clear to everyone not living in a cave that the Saddam execution was a botched, amateurish debacle. I wrote last week that I'm neither opposed to the death penalty nor its application to Saddam, but the way it was carried out was highly representative of the ham-handed and dangerous failures of both the Bush administration and the nascent Iraqi government. The fact that something so important was screwed up so badly, and on such a massive scale, is chilling. I initially suspected that the execution would have little effect on the overall situation in Iraq, certainly not improving things but also not doing much to inflame people who hardly need, at this point, more motivation to hate each other. But I committed a blunder that is, for me, exceptionally rare: I assumed that somehow this, a historic and potentially inflammatory event, would be handled with even a minimal amount of decorum and professionalism by the Bush administration and the Iraqi government. Instead, the Bush administration turned over Saddam to the Iraqi government prematurely . . . to a band of thugs-as-executioners . . . who wore not uniforms but leather jackets and ski masks . . . who shouted Shia chants, including invocations of Moqtada al-Sadr . . . all of which was illicitly videotaped and then emailed around Iraq and throughout the world . . . on, no less, one of the holiest days of the Sunni religious calendar. Virtually everything that could have been screwed up, was. And now, against virtually all odds, Saddam managed to look good by dying and the Iraqi and U.S. governments are scrambling to do damage control in the face of massive Sunni demonstrations, international condemnation, and the general disgust of pretty much everyone who knows anything about Iraq.