[JURIST] President Bush Tuesday offered his strongest criticism yet [JURIST report] of the Iraqi government's handling of the execution of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], saying in a PBS Newshour interview [transcript; recorded audio] with Jim Lehrer that it resembled a revenge killing:
I was disappointed and felt like they [the Iraqi government] fumbled the - particularly the Saddam Hussein - execution. It reinforced doubts in people's minds that the Maliki government and the unity government of Iraq is a serious government, and - which makes it harder for me to make the case to the American people that this is a government that does want to unify the country and move forward. The Saddam execution, however, was an important moment in some ways because it closed a terrible chapter and gives the unity government a chance to move forward...Last week, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [JURIST news archive] expressed concern [JURIST report] at the mismanagement of the execution, stating that the hanging was completely wrong. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] has defended the Saddam execution as a domestic affair and stated earlier this month that the Iraqi government may have to review its relationships [JURIST report] with countries critical of the hanging. AP has more.
[I]t looked like it was kind of a revenge killing. And it sent a mixed signal to the American people and the people around the world. And it just goes to show that this is a government that has still got some maturation to do.