Americans cheer Saddam death

Updated: 2006-12-30 13:33

CINCINNATI - Americans welcomed the execution of Saddam Hussein as justice served but the hanging did little to shift focus from the debate over America's future in Iraq.

"I guess it's one less person in the world we have to deal with, but it's kind of sad that this is still at the forefront with all the worse things that are going on," Cincinnati university student Erin Faulk, 20, said Friday night.

"I don't know if it will change anything. I don't think it will," she added.

Saddam was executed by hanging shortly before 10 p.m. EST Friday. The former Iraqi president was convicted in November of crimes against humanity for the killings of 148 Shi'ite villagers from Dujail after a failed assassination bid in 1982.

A poll this week showed 82 percent of Americans supported the execution, the highest support of six nations surveyed. The Harris Interactive online poll, conducted November 30 to December 9, found 69 percent support for the execution in Britain, 58 percent in France and 53 percent in Germany.

US television showed scenes of cheering and flag-waving Iraqi-Americans in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest US Arab-American community.

In the dusty town of Douglas, Arizona, on the border with Mexico, Saddam's death was welcomed.

"I wouldn't mind hanging Saddam myself, I think it's a good thing," said Lynn Kartchner, a Vietnam veteran and gun shop owner.

"I think there will be less long-term violence in Iraq now as there is no chance of him coming back to power - they have cut off the head of the snake and his followers have no leadership," Kartchner added.

President George W. Bush called the execution an important milestone on Iraq's path to democracy but said it would not end the violence there.

It was also unlikely to ease Americans' concern about US involvement in Iraq, where scores of civilians are killed daily and nearly 3,000 US troops have died.

"It was long overdue. Saddam was certainly guilty and he got what he had coming," said Trini Valencia, a 39-year-old banker in Cincinnati. "But other people should be standing next to him. Bush should be standing right next to him, because he's doing the same thing - killing his own people."

Cincinnati student Alyssa Garrett, 18, said Saddam's death would not stem the bloodshed in Iraq.

"Sure we got him and all that, but we were there for all the wrong reasons," said Garrett. "It won't change anything."

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