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Satire: The French Report on Saddam's Arrest By: Judith Weizner
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, December 17, 2003


This morning Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, announced that Saddam Hussein, the subject of one of the most intense manhunts in history, had been taken captive by American soldiers.  Mr. Bremer's announcement was characteristically terse, illustrating once more the arrogance of the Bush administration.  "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," is how Bremer made the most momentous announcement since the arrival of the 2003 nouveau Beaujolais.

Mr. Hussein, whom the American media have often caricatured as a dictator, was arrested as he hid in a ventilated earthen bunker in a farm compound in Adwar, a town about 9 miles from Tikrit, bringing to an ignominious close a legendary career in humanitarian service.

Observers noted a striking resemblance to Alexander Solzhenitsyn as the haggard and disheveled 67-year-old's privacy was repeatedly violated by photographers while he underwent a medical examination. American authorities have reportedly assured Mr. Hussein that their doctors are required to obtain his written permission before performing any surgery, and that American medical ethics requires the use of anesthetics for any but emergency battlefield surgery, but since it is likely that the former Iraqi leader would tend not to give much credence to such assurances, Amnesty International will conduct an inquiry into whether or not an examination under these circumstances constitutes mental duress.

When Mr. Hussein was growing up in Tikrit in the 30's and 40's it is doubtful that he ever heard the name of the country that would one day cause him so much emotional distress.  Sources close to the former head of state recall that he spent most of his waking moments trying to avoid the frequent beatings inflicted on him by his violent step-father. Indeed, experts see this as one of the determining factors in his subsequent rise to power.  (Since abused children tend to become abusive adults, little Saddam surely understood from a very early age that if he were to become truly abusive, he would first need to acquire power.)

His lucky break came in 1979 when then-president of Iraq Gen. Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr was ousted and Saddam, his trusted aide, stepped in to fill the serendipitous power vacuum.  With the support of the United States, which was still reeling from a humiliating defeat inflicted on it due to its inability to resolve what it termed a "hostage crisis" in Iran, Mr. Hussein undertook an idealistic war with that country which unfortunately drained much-needed resources from his own economy.  Subsequent sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United States following the senior Bush's aborted attempt to drive Mr. Hussein from power compounded the destruction, leaving the Iraqi infrastructure in shambles. That destruction climaxed in the recent indiscriminate bombing by the failed Bush's son in his attempt to rehabilitate the family name.

The United States is currently arranging for outlaw corporations like Cheney's Halliburton Company to profit from the reconstruction of the country's infrastructure.

As of ten o'clock this morning it was not clear whether the sound of rifle fire in the streets of Iraq was that of American troops or of Iraqis surprised by the sudden announcement.  Occupying forces are said to be in need of morale-boosting due to the soaring number of casualties, and this event could be distorted, or, to use a right-wing American expression, spun, to advance that purpose.

Amnesty International has promised to monitor American treatment of Mr.Hussein carefully to insure that he receives only appropriate medical attention as well as psychological counseling to help him cope with the loss of two beloved and benevolent sons at American hands earlier this year.

So far the Bush administration has not revealed any plan to compensate the eight reputed doubles formerly employed by Mr. Hussein, nor has it given any indication that it is aware of their plight.  If they are to have any possibility of employment in the new Iraq, they will require plastic surgery to avoid discrimination against them on the basis of their appearance.

There is also growing concern for the financial well-being of Mrs. Hussein now that her husband will no longer be able to support her in the style befitting the wife of a head of state.  It is believed that Democrats in the American Congress will propose a bill granting her Social Security and
Medicare, but with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, this bill's success is unfortunately far from certain. Even if it is passed, it would undoubtedly require a veto-proof majority since it is doubtful that Bush père would ever allow his son to sign such a bill into law. 

Assuming that DNA tests prove that the man captured today really is the former Iraqi leader and not one of his reputed doubles, new questions arise. Can the Iraqis be made to embrace democracy?  And, perhaps more important to the Bush administration, can they be made to embrace it before the 2004 election? 

In a related but little-noted development, Jesse Jackson has reportedly offered to serve as Mr. Hussein's spiritual advisor.

Judith Weizner is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com.


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