Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, March 28, 2003

Imagining Saddam's end.

We have not yet found Saddam, but surely we can see him. The ageing tyrant is hunkered down in his bunker. His back aches from an old slipped disk, and it is getting worse without exercise. With American spy planes snooping overhead and bombs falling, he cannot now take his habitual long walks in his walled private estates, or swim in one of his many swimming pools.
He is losing weight, as he always does in times of stress. The lobster and Mateus rosé are no longer flown in twice a week. Nothing flies in but the bombers. He never slept much, but now he hardly sleeps at all. He used to enjoy going out to restaurants in Baghdad (after his bodyguards, the Himaya, have cordoned off the street, inspected the pots and pans for cleanliness and terrorised the staff) but now his only movement is from one bolthole to the next, in a humble unmarked car.

Officials bring him reports of the war, but in truth he does not know what is happening. He used to watch CNN and Sky News, but now he has only his minions for information, and they lie. They always have, for flattering mendacity is the central foundation of his power. This is the Catch-22 of despotism: they tell you what they know you want to hear, and they know you know you are being deceived. Saddam tends to kill those who tell him unpalatable truths. Indeed, he once ordered that condemned men should have their mouths taped closed, to ensure they could not utter words he did not wish to hear from the scaffold.

And so the Great Uncle, The Anointed One, Descendant of the Prophet, lives in a dark bubble, feeding off his own propaganda.

There are traitors out there. Saddam knows this because some perfidious dog informed the Zionist criminals where he was sleeping that night they dropped the first bomb. And there will be more traitors, because there always are. Of course, he could have someone killed. But here, in his bunker, he cannot carry out one of his videotaped purges, or the elaborate public hangings and tongue removals that have worked so well in the past.

Perhaps he watches videos. The Godfather is one favourite (strong man must do ruthless things for the sake of his people); The Day of The Jackal is another (there are clever killers out there: beware). Or does he read? The last time he was incarcerated this way, back in the 1960s when he was jailed after a failed assassination attempt on Iraq’s President, Saddam read Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. On the other hand, A Farewell to Arms might be a more appropriate title.

What we know of Saddam, and his broadcasts since war began, suggest that he is probably busy ruminating on his own greatness, the Father of all Narcissists preparing, again, for the Mother of all Battles. For alongside his paranoia, there is the monstrous vanity and self-obsession that had a 600-page Koran handwritten in his own blood, and made his own face the only acceptable art form. Echoing Hitler’s nihilism in the Berlin bunker, Saddam is probably preparing for his own Twilight of the Gods.

< email | 3/28/2003 11:50:00 PM | link

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