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Saddam Hussein has sent a letter to his family, according to Newsweek. Most of if was redacted by military censors.
No telling what Saddam attempted to write in those squelched lines. Maybe he urged the Fayadeen to kill more US soldiers. Or gave solace to the bitter and dead-enders. Is it possible he said something about those weapons of mass destruction Dubya’s daddy and Reagan sold him oh-so long ago?
Chances are it was little more than gibberish.
One has to wonder. Saddam must realize he is in prison, or in custody — whatever Bush calls the gulag from Bagram to Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and beyond — so why the heck would he write something motivating Pentagon-types with permanent markers to censor him? Is it possible Saddam is a drugged-out zombie, a mere pharmaceutical shadow of his former self? Is it possible he did not write a letter and is incapable of doing so even if he wanted to?
Or is this another Bush PR stunt?
Good chance we will never know.
And then there is the Saddam photo posted on the MSNBC site. It’s credited as a "AFP-Getty Image" — presumably a respectable photojournalism outfit — and yet the photo resembles something snapped by a kid with a disposable cardboard camera with a plastic lens. It has all the quality of a photo left out on the veranda overnight during a rainstorm and baked the next morning in the sun. In the blurry and faded photograph Saddam stares off in the distance, probably at his now life-long — no doubt to soon be a short life — interrogators who brusquely demand he look at the birdie.
Saddam will soon be handed over to the so-called interim Iraqi government — that is to say the government handpicked by the Bushites — and put on trial for crimes against the Iraqi people. Or I should say the case of Saddam will be handed over to the Iraqis; Saddam’s stilted, dazed, and robotic body — if the weather beaten photo mentioned above is any guide — will remain in the custody of Rumsfeld and the Pentagon.
The Butcher of Baghdad is a dead man walking.
Few doubt Saddam is guilty of imprisonment, torture, deportation, assassination, and execution. Saddam had Ayatollah Mohamad Baqir al-Hakim, the leader of SCIRI, sentenced to life imprisonment. He arrested, tortured, and killed Ayatollah Mohamad al-Sadr and his sister Amina al-Sadr (thus at least partially explaining Muqtada al-Sadr’s attitude problem with authority figures). He had 90 members of the al-Hakim family arrested and sixteen of them executed. Even the borders of Iraq did not stop Saddam’s numerous vendettas. He had the opposition leader Haj Sahal al-Salman murdered in the United Arab Emirates, Sami Mahdi and Ni’ma Mohamad assassinated in Pakistan, and Sayed Mahdi al-Hakim killed in Sudan. And he had thousands of other nameless people executed as well.
Most of the above were killed while the beloved Reagan and one-termer Bush Senior were in office.
The Gipper is now gone. But while alive and not napping during CIA briefings he was making sure Saddam received only the best — hundreds of millions of dollars in loan guarantees, high-value military intelligence, satellite data, UH-1H and Hughes MD-500 Defender helicopters, dual-use equipment for Iraq’s nuclear program, in a word almost anything Saddam wanted so long as he continued slaughtering large numbers of Iranians.
Meanwhile, the Israelis sold murder merchandise to the Iranians so they might continue eradicating Iraqis.
Of course, as the nation mourned Reagan’s passing from planet earth, you heard nothing about such dark and cynical things — or are you likely to hear about them now as Bush’s handpicked stooges ready to put Saddam on trial and ultimately march him to the gallows.
In his four month old letter written on a standard form provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Saddam said hello to his family.
In the next letter, he may as well say good-bye.