Saddam Hussein walked into court today, turned and smiled to reporters. It was a big toothy grin. It was clear from then, that we, not the court, were his target audience today. Throughout the day Saddam talked about the importance of world public opinion and the feelings of the Arab world. He seemed reluctant to talk about the events in Dujail, but he did want to talk, to re-invent himself, to make a transformation from captured dictator defeated by the Americans to a resistance leader, and Arab and Islamic hero. (It's no accident he has a Koran in his hand every time he wants into the courtroom.)
Covering the trial is historic and exciting, but it does feel a bit like we are watching animals in the zoo, seeing how they react when poked with sticks through the bars. There is a voyeuristic aspect that is disturbing and fascinating. One reporter joked, "I hope tomorrow they bring Saddam in like Hannibal Lecter, complete with face mask." Everyone laughed, because everyone I think secretly wished it would happen.
Editor's note: This is but one of the six, count 'em, six posts Richard filed today in NBC's latest contribution to the blogosphere: Blogging Baghdad: The Untold Story.