Saddam the Merciless Executed: AP Misusing Words to Report It
Just deserts were dished out to one Saddam Hussein last night. Few deserved it more than he.
There is no reason for me to recount his many crimes against humanity here, but it is a good thing he has paid for his evil -- and paid with his life.
That is all that needs to be said about that...
But, in reading the AP's story by Abdul-Zahra, something else comes to the fore that is vexing to anyone looking for truth in the media. Of course, truth is always in short supply from our friends at al-AP, but with Abdul-Zahra's report we see a constant misuse of the English language.
There is no need to reproduce the entire report here, but I'd like to focus on the misuse of certain words that seems to offer exculpatory sentiment for the murderer Saddam and shows how the AP seems not to know what words mean.
The report starts out with this sentence:
Clutching a Quran and refusing a hood, Saddam Hussein went to the gallows before sunrise Saturday, executed by vengeful countrymen after a quarter-century of remorseless brutality that killed countless thousands and led Iraq into disastrous wars against the United States and Iran.Vengeful? Is Abdul-Zahra trying to lead us to feel that this execution isn't justice, but is mere vengeance?
It was a grim end for the 69-year-old leader who had vexed three U.S. presidents. Despite his ouster, Washington, its allies and the new Iraqi leaders remain mired in a fight to quell a stubborn insurgency by Saddam loyalists and a vicious sectarian conflict."Grim" end? Is that the sort of sorrowful terms we use to describe the execution of such a murderous dictator: grim? And, naturally, we cannot talk about the execution of Saddam for his crimes without making it seem all a wasted effort because his actions still "vex" U.S. presidents! Even in execution, this AP writer is trying to hand a triumph to Saddam.
Next our intrepid AP reporter got a sly dig against the death penalty by placing Saddam's use of political murder and torture next to a legitimate death penalty.
Iraq's death penalty was suspended by the U.S. military after it toppled Saddam in 2003, but the new Iraqi government reinstated it two years later, saying executions would deter criminals.Obviously, to writer Abdul-Zahra, there is not much difference between a measured and legitimate usage of the death penalty and Saddam's obscene murders.
Saddam's own regime used executions and extrajudicial killings as a tool of political repression, both to eliminate real or suspected political opponents and to maintain a reign of terror.
Lastly, Abdul-Zahra showed complete ignorance of what the word "honor" means:
While he wielded a heavy hand to maintain control, Saddam also sought to win public support with a personality cult that pervaded Iraqi society. Thousands of portraits, posters, statues and murals were erected in his honor all over Iraq.A grateful people honor a well-known person for his life's work by naming schools after him or displaying his portrait. But a dictator places them about the country by HIS OWN ORDER. Those "thousands of portraits, posters, statues and murals" were decidedly NOT erected in his honor all over Iraq. They were forced there by his thugs to aggrandize a tyrant by his own order.
"In his honor" is not the right verbiage to use in that case at all, Mr. Abdul-Zahra. Do you even know the difference?
Do the AP's editors?