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'Saddam hanging looked like revenge killing'

He says the manner of execution will make it harder for him to persuade Americans to back the Govt in Baghdad.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2007 14:17 IST

US President George W Bush said the Iraqi government "fumbled" the execution of Saddam Hussein in what looked like a "revenge killing" that will make it harder for him to persuade Americans to support the government in Baghdad.

Bush on Tuesday also criticised the hanging of two of Saddam's co-defendants. The former Iraqi president was sent to the gallows Dec 30 in an execution that drew worldwide condemnation after a videotape leak showed Saddam being taunted moments before the trap door opened.

In an interview with PBS television, Bush offered some of his harshest criticism yet on the process.

"I was pleased with the trials they got," Bush said. "I was disappointed and felt like they fumbled the - particularly the Saddam Hussein - execution."

"You conducted a trial and gave Saddam justice that he didn't give to others," Bush said. "But then, when it came to execute him, it looked like it was kind of a revenge killing."

Bush has been giving a series of interviews lately to get support from a sceptical public for his revised strategy for Iraq that includes sending 21,500 more troops.

The US public has largely turned against the war and is not convinced the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will follow through on steps aimed at ending sectarian tensions.

The executions make "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.

"It reinforced doubts in people's minds that the Maliki government and the unity government of Iraq is a serious government," Bush said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2007 11:11 IST