Pick of the day: Six degrees of Saddam Hussein
I've been waiting a long time to see an interactive chart that added any real value to a piece of online journalism. The ones in this long (long, long, five-parts-long, wrapping up Friday) detailed telling of the search for Saddam Hussein, fronting Slate.com this week, come close. I found myself actually going back to roll the cursor over the entries as I tried to keep up with the network of Friends-of-Saddam that military intelligence used to track the fugitive dictator to his spider hole.
Slate editor Chris Wilson has done yeoman's work in explaining how the spooks bypassed the obvious links to Saddam (his former high-powered colleagues) in favor of the most distant branches of his social and family network (some guy who used to fish with the neighbor of Saddam's second cousin's grocer). The Butcher of Baghdad was brought in by Facebook thinking and the interactive charts are actually a bonus. But Wilson's work is mainly compelling as a good ole fashioned act of great writing.
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