'Chemical Ali' deserved a villain's infamy

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Monday, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali," was executed by the Iraqi government. There was no coverage of it in The Post's A-section the next day other than two sentences in a front-page story about terrorist attacks in Baghdad. Rather, The Post extended Majid the honor of a lengthy obituary in the Metro section.

As the obituary noted, he was convicted of multiple crimes against humanity. His execution followed multiple death sentences imposed by a special Iraqi tribunal. Previous death sentences were delayed to give all his victims their day in court.

I was disappointed that The Post gave Majid the same treatment Tuesday as it gave Laughlin Phillips, who died Sunday after a lifetime dedicated to "transform[ing] the Phillips Collection from 'an idiosyncratic, underfunded family-run museum . . . into a full-fledged professional institution.' " Majid's death should have been celebrated with a front-page headline.

John Scalia, Alexandria


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