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Home > Culture and Society

Saddam Hussein: Inspirational *and* Suave

31 July 2006

The real reason Osama bin Laden hates Saddam Hussein is pretty obvious - it's simple jealousy. Poor Osama ate nothing but cabbage soup for *years* to get himself down to a camera-friendly size 6, and Saddam's gone and made it look easy in a matter of weeks with his radical hunger strike regime. Plus, while Osama can be credited with striking fear into the heart of the West with his dead-eyed video addresses, he must be kicking himself that he doesn't have the easy manner of Saddam. The guy's just such a charming son-of-a-bitch. Look at that cheeky shit-eating grin! It's enough to make a jury swoon.

He is one suave fuck, though. As dictators and other dangerous bastards responsible for untold horrible deaths go, he's not unlikeable. He's the only current Western demon who might qualify for some sort of new Rat Pack. Locked up as he is - and accruing OK-by-default points with every fresh cock-up in Iraq, of course - he's safe to poke fun at, or sneakily admire as you frivolously choose. So it's hard not to think 'Yeah, fair enough' when you hear he's been demanding a choice of execution methods, as if selecting the jelly or the chocolate fingers. What balls it must take to start telling a courtroom what their 'appropriate' action would be, not to mention tacitly admitting you really ought to be dispatched one way or another for the good of mankind. The cantankerous, arsey, mass-murdering git. And he's still rocking that classic 'tache. All the best despots have them.

Sadly, while 'Big Brother' has another five weeks to blunder across the airwaves like a drunken lout through a pedestrianised town centre, Saddam's trial has been adjourned until October. But we can only imagine what he'll say when convicted given his pronouncements to date. 'I advise you as an Iraqi,' Saddam imperiously told the judge on Wednesday, 'if you were in a circumstance in which you have to issue a death penalty, you have to remember that Saddam is a military man and in this case the verdict should be death by shooting, not by hanging.' Well, if you're going to execute someone, you should at least give them a choice of means, like you give them whatever they want for their last meal. Give them a chance to do a bit of research into the likelihood of the rope snapping, or the anaesthetic injection not quite hitting the spot.

People will be outraged by Saddam's demand for what he sees as a noble death, because they'd rather he had the most humiliating exit possible. Condemned to drown, say, in a tank of Gunk left over from a Saturday morning kids' show, wearing only Kevin Rowland's old lingerie. But it's not that unreasonable. After all, if you don't want him to die a martyr's death, you have the option of not giving him any death. You could just leave him to rot in prison, having to shit forever in a nasty pot where he used to have his pick of solid gold palatial conveniences. Now *that's* degradation and intolerable ignominy. The increasingly preposterous notion that nothing could be worse than death, for a killer or for innocents, persists almost everywhere. (Except in terrorist training camps. Oh, bugger. Does that make us terrorists? Never mind.)

It would be great if Saddam's 'go on, shoot me' instruction gave the world pause about such matters. He could prove a great inadvertent ambassador for the euthanasia lobby. If dictators can choose their method of death, they could argue, why are the rest of us poor schlubs denied it? No reasonable person could possibly argue with that. In years to come we might all be able to check
out in the manner of our choosing, no matter how elaborate. We could go out doing what we loved. We could go bungee-jumping with an overlong cord. Shark-watching in pants made of fish guts. Climb Everest in pants made of ice. The options are endless. You could have an agency that could sort it all out for you. Or even a TV production company. It'd be like 'Jim'll Fix It'. That way, if you've miraculously survived your naked ecstasy-fuelled base jump, a zombified Jimmy Saville will finish you off by garroting you with your medal.

Thanks, Saddam. You're an inspiration.

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