Baghdad was filled with "confusion and rumor with questions swirling," found CBS' Randall Pinkston. That was intentional, ABC's Terry McCarthy (no link) explained, because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki "wants as few people as possible to know about the execution in advance." NBC's Richard Engel helped the judge who will supervise the execution "keep awake with strong coffee" while he awaited instructions to go ahead.
President George Bush "knows all about the plans," NBC's Kelly O'Donnell told us from the First Family's ranch in Texas, but he does not want to be obviously involved. The White House "wants this to be viewed as the work of the Iraqi government, as an example that Iraq is forming a new judicial system."
From the Pentagon, ABC's Jonathan Karl (no link) was skeptical that the hanging was such a big deal. "It is not that Saddam means much to the insurgents anymore. He does not," Karl shrugged. Saddam is "yesterday's man," ABC News consultant Anthony Cordesman told Karl. "The issues today have moved far beyond Saddam."
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