View Full Version : Saddam Hangs

12-30-06, 01:52 PM
(Mark Steyn)

Just in time for Eid, the Iraqis decided Saddam Hussein was one old acquaintance who really should be forgot. Despite The New York Times’ protests that it’s all been too rushed, it’s three years since the mass murderer was pulled from his spider hole. Here’s what I wrote in The Spectator in December 2003, outlining the possible approaches to the trial:

In a nutshell:

A courtroom in Baghdad: good.
A courtroom in The Hague: bad.

Iraqi and coalition judges: good.
International jet-set judges: bad.

Swift execution: good.
Playing Scrabble with Slobo in the prison library for the next 20 years: bad.

Bet on Bush and the Iraqis to get their way. As for whether Iraq has a justice system under which Saddam can be tried, I suggest we look to the great King of Babylonia, Hammurabi, whose Code of Laws, the world's first written legal code circa 1780 BC, stands up pretty well. I'm not a Babylonian legal scholar but I note that Saddam's digging of a subterranean hiding place in his hut appears to be in clear breach of Law No. 21:

If any one break a hole into a house, he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.

Suits me.

Well, it didn’t quite go that way, but it was close enough, and better than the Hague-Slobo model. And to have convicted, sentenced and executed the dictator is a signal accomplishment for the new Iraq. When I was in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, shortly after the war, a young boy showed me his schoolbook. It was like my textbooks at his age - full of doodles and squiggles and amusing additions to the illustrations. With one exception: the many pages bearing pictures of Saddam were in pristine condition. Even a bored schoolboy doesn't get so careless that he forgets where not to draw the line. When the cowardly thug emerged from his hole, it was a rare moment: in the fetid stability of the Middle East, how often do you get to see a big-time dictator looking like some boxcar hobo and meekly submitting to a lice inspection by an American soldier? Not everyone was happy about it. As I wrote in the Speccie:

Jihan Ajlouni, a 24-year-old Palestinian university student, reacted to Saddam’s capture by warning: “We say to all the traitors and collaborators: don’t rush to celebrate, because there are millions of Saddams in the Arab world.”

Really? Millions of smelly wimps with ratty hair living in holes in the ground? That could cause massive subsidence in the Tikrit area, particularly if they surrender all at once.

But, of course, Mr Ajlouni is wrong. The West Bank aside, his fellow Arabs aren’t that nuts. When the Western world’s Ajlouni Left reprimand the Americans for sticking Saddam on TV with a tongue depressor, they’re worried it will make the Arabs feel humiliated. “I feel extremely humiliated,” agreed the Egyptian writer Sayyid Nassar. “By shaving his beard, a symbol of virility in Iraq and in the Arab world, the Americans committed an act that symbolises humiliation in our region.”

You should feel humiliated. It is humiliating when you invest your pride in a total loser. For the Palestinians, who never met a loser they weren’t dumb enough to fall for (the Mufti, Nasser, Yasser), Saddam still has an honoured place in the Pantheon of Glorious Has-Beens. But for millions of Iraqis a monster has shrivelled away into a smelly bum too pathetic even to use his pistol to enjoy the martyrdom he urged on others.

That’s easy for me to say. The reality is that, as long as he was alive, there was always the possibility that he would return. When a dictator has exercised the total control over his subjects that Saddam did, his hold on them can only end with his death. A day after his capture, I wrote in the Telegraph:

Saddam, of course, attempted to reclaim his stature, but, in his current position, opportunities are few and far between. In his first interrogation at Baghdad Airport, he was asked if he’d like a glass of water, and replied: “If I drink water I will have to urinate and how can I urinate when my people are in bondage?” If there’s a statue left of him in Iraq, they should chisel that on the plinth.

That’s still a good idea. My old newspaper in London headlined its editorial “Justice For A Mass Murderer”. There can never be “justice” for murderous dictators – there’s simply too much blood. But there can be retribution, and a final line drawn under a dark chapter of history as he’s shovelled into his grave.

He was not without his style. He liked his Quality Street toffees and his Sinatra albums. In the early Nineties, when the Prince of Wales ventured some mild criticism of His Execellency, Saddam gave a soundbite to his son’s newspaper declaring that “we in Iraq do not pay any attention to the likes of the British Crown Prince” on the grounds that he’s “a notorious playboy well known in the cellars of the night and in *****houses throughout Europe”, which is pretty cute. In the oddest development of his career, he decided late in life he was a novelist and pumped out a bodice-ripper called Zabibah And The King, an allegory of Iraqi history in which he was the king and Zabibah was Iraq, and getting it night and day. It was, oddly enough, a bestseller in Iraq, and was subsequently turned into a musical – a real-life version of Larry Gelbart’s old joke that he hoped Hitler was alive and on the road with a musical in trouble. Saddam was very much alive and on the road with a musical, but it wasn’t in trouble. Au contraire, it did boffo biz. I would love to have seen it: the critics said it did for camels what Cats did for cats. After his third novel was published in 2002, I decided to have a go at writing a Saddam blockbuster myself. This is from Mark Steyn From Head To Toe , and seems oddly pertinent in the final hour of an evil man’s wretched life:

Following the best-selling Zabibah And The King, The Impregnable Castle, and Men And A City, we’re proud to present an exclusive sneak preview of Saddam Hussein’s fourth great allegorical romance!
Saddam is the winner of the 2002 Governor-General’s Award for Fiction for last week’s reply to the United Nations (“We hereby declare before you that Iraq is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons”). An accomplished wordsmith in the tradition of Sheikh Spear, George bin Ard Shaw and Louisa May al-Cott, Saddam has given us exclusive rights to this excerpt from his forthcoming novel.
(As in his previous allegorical romance, the pliant female Zabibah represents Iraq and the stern King represents everyone’s favourite dictator.)

The latest great allegorical novel by Saddam Hussein


“Aaaar-oooow! Aaaieeeeeeeeee! Neeeeeaauuueaauuuu!”

“Zabibah, baby, can you hold it down? The neighbours’ll think I’ve got a couple of Kurds clamped up to the electrodes again.”

The nubile Babylonian maiden rolled back on the pillow, shook her ebony tresses over her lush full breasts and gazed devotedly at her king. “You are a superb lover, Majesty,” she said. “The beads of sweat from your royal armpits are like nectar. The brush of your nasal hair is like cashmere. The stylish English trilby makes you look a little like Frank Sinatra on that LP you bring over when you’re not in such a hurry and the power for the Dansette is working…”

“What was that?” said the King nervously, jumping up and grabbing his pants.

“What was what, O merciless master?”

“That faint whirring sound overhead.”

“Oh, that’s just the new electric fan. Come back to bed, my savage sovereign. Unzip your merciless trousers. You’re in the no-fly zone, remember?”

“You’re right,” he said, slapping her around a little. “A woman is like a country. She needs a strong master to bend her to his will. You should be honoured that I do to you twice a week what I've been doing to Iraq for decades.”

“I had that dream again last night, master,” said Zabibah, peeling a green fig and playfully inserting it between the King’s cruel lips. “The one where I seem to be the very landscape. My proud breasts are the northern hills, my gently undulating belly is the desert, my legs are the opposing shores of the Persian Gulf, and the eternal mystery of my womanhood is the great port at Basra. And then I look up and see a strange metal bird looming over me. I feel his shadow on my hills and desert and then his undercarriage opens up and he unleashes his enormous missile to penetrate me to the very core of my being. Then I wake up drenched in perspiration. What can it mean, my lord?”

“It means American men are lousy lovers,” said the King. “They always explode on contact.” He spat the fig from his mouth and almost took her eye out.

“You know this allegory business?” she said. “You’re supposed to be Saddam and I’m supposed to be Iraq? What if that’s not right? What if I, the helpless, slightly overweight woman, am really Saddam and you, the mighty warrior, are really George W Bush? Ever thought of that, big boy?”

The King was getting that weird headache again. And anyway how come the electric fan was working? The Americans bombed the power plant last Tuesday. And Zabibah’s theory sounded awfully like that e-mail he got from Oliver Stone about the film version. Where was it again?

“Here it is,” said Zabibah, pulling it from among the rose petals floating in the shimmering ornamental pool. “I’ll read it to you:

From: stoner@paranoidpictures.com
To: saddam109@aol.com

Allegory, man! I LOVE IT!! What a book! I just read part of it all the way through. You’re Zabibah, right? You’ve been taking it from the Pentagon, the CIA, Reagan all these years? And waddaya got to show for it? See, here’s how we’ll open. It’s 1883, 1897, whatever, and Queen Victoria and Grover Cleveland are plotting how to control Mesopotamia for the entire 20th century, right? And first they figure, hey, let’s change the name to Iraq, cuz then it’ll sound like Iran, and no one’ll give a f--- what we do to it. And they’re totally out of their f---in’ heads on f---in’ opium and they go into this heavy trip where they see Dick Cheney shooting up a liquor store in Baghdad, and then he drops his pants and he’s got, like, this huge gas pump in there and he fills up his Cadillac with it, and he’s played by Gary Oldman, and you’re like his ***** and you’re whimpering, please, look, I did everything you wanted, I invaded Iran for you, please don’t hurt me more than you have to, and Queen Victoria and Grover F---in’ Cleveland are doing “Walk Like An Egyptian” by the Bangles…

“Stop it!” yelled the King, covering his ears and shattering the night silence with a piercing scream. In the hush that followed, he could just make out the loyal members of his faithful praetorian guard in the corridor saying, “Hear that? Someone’s put a knife in the old bastard” and breaking into a chorus of “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead”. “Look, Zabibah,” he said, calmly. “For the last time, this is how the allegory works: I’m Saddam and you’re Scott Ritter. No, wait…”

“Oh, it’s all coming out now,” she sneered.

“Shut up,” snapped the King. “You might be a right purdy l’il honey lyin’ there like - hang on, why am I suddenly talking in a Texan accent?” His headache was getting worse. This first draft was going nowhere. Maybe he should get some sleep, make a fresh start on Chapter One in the morning.

“Suit yourself,” said Zabibah. “Maybe you’re right. I’m a woman so I should be Iraq.” She stretched lazily on the cushions and pulled a Turkish cigarette from his hatband. “But I’m beginning to feel like a liberated woman… I am woman, hear me roar…”

“It’s not a musical!” shouted the King. But the more he covered his ears, the louder the orchestra got.



12-31-06, 07:56 AM
December 30, 2006 <br />
Saddam Hussein, Defiant Dictator Who Ruled Iraq With Violence and Fear, Dies <br />
<br />
The hanging of Saddam Hussein ended the life of one of the most brutal tyrants...