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Iraq Transition

Officials: Bush upset by Hussein hanging video

Story Highlights

• White House: Bush compared reaction to that of seeing Abu Ghraib photos
• Executioners taunted Hussein in cell-phone video
• Abu Ghraib led to disciplinary action against U.S. troops
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush was upset after watching the video of Saddam Hussein's execution, comparing it to how he felt after seeing the photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, White House officials said Wednesday.

Dark, grainy video -- apparently recorded on a cell phone -- of Hussein's December 30 hanging was leaked to the media soon after the execution.

In the video, taunts from Shiites can be heard moments before Hussein, a Sunni, is hanged.

After Hussein offers prayers, the guards shout praise for Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose father is believed to have been murdered by Hussein's regime.

They chant, "Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!"

Hussein smiles. "Is this how you show your bravery as men?" he asks.

"Straight to hell," someone shouts back at him.

"Is this the bravery of Arabs?" Hussein asks.

A sole voice is heard trying to silence the taunts.

"Please, I am begging you not to," the unknown man says. "The man is being executed."

Two guards present at the hanging have been detained and questioned in connection with the taping, Iraqi officials have said.

Bush found the taunting of Hussein as he stood on the gallows with a noose around his neck disturbing, the officials said. Bush had a similar reaction when he saw the photos of U.S. military personnel abusing naked and restrained prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad in 2003.

Release of those pictures brought global condemnation of U.S. policies at Abu Ghraib and charges and disciplinary action against U.S. troops involved.

The longest prison sentence -- 10 years -- was given to Army Cpl. Charles Graner, who is seen in many of the Abu Ghraib photos with his then-girlfriend, Pfc. Lynndie England, who was sentenced to three years in prison.

This image was taken from a cell-phone video of Saddam Hussein's execution.



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