There seems to be a global confusion as to what animal the captured Saddam Hussein most resembles:
Saddam Hussein was led from his secret rat hole like a lamb.
- Vince Morris of the New York Post
The Saddam Hussein who crawled out of that spider hole the other day is the same crafty weasel who crawled outta town eight months ago.
- Dave Addis of the Virginian-Pilot
We know that Saddam is a "rat" thanks to Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno's report of the capture: "He was just caught like a rat." Saddam quickly became the "rat in the hole" and the "sewer rat" - but unfortunately it wasn't a sewer, nor - strictly speaking - was it a "secret rat hole" in which the rat Saddam was found. It was a spider hole.
Not a foxhole, mind. A spider hole.
But does this make Saddam himself a spider? As Libby Copeland of the Washington Post asks: "Is Saddam a mighty dictator, or just an eight-legged creature that eats flies for lunch?" Copeland argues that the term "spider hole" is an insult to spiders, and says: "In metaphorical terms, he was more like, well, a chicken in a basket."
Nor is Saddam merely a chicken. He is other winged creatures too. The Scotsman reports that: "Coward Saddam Hussein was singing like a canary last night in a desperate bid to save his skin." Likewise, Amir Taheri, the Iranian commentator, writes:
"He is in the bag, singing like a canary!" This is how news of Saddam Hussain's capture spread throughout Iraq.
However, Taheri also quotes Arabic poet, Jahiz (776-868 AD)
The dragon that hid the moon is gone.
So, beneath the soft downy feathers of a canary are the scales of a dragon. And of a snake, of course:
Saddam turned out to be the mother of all cowards. Hiding in a hole like the snake that he is.
- CK Rairden of the Washington Dispatch.
Note also that while Saddam is a "snake" in its entirety, he is also "the head of the snake":
"Even if the head of the snake is cut off, the rest of the snake continues to move for a while"
- Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling
Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian prefers to describe Saddam as: "dirty and mangy as a stray dog" - echoing US Army veteran Arthur Starcy, a retired sergeant from Leesville, who said: "Whoopee, great, they have finally got the culprit, rascal and dirty dog."
Others, however, get a whiff of former power beneath the dirt, disorientation and hairy confusion. Israel Shamir of Ramallah Online sees Saddam as "bearded, tired, confused, treated like a captured tiger in a Zoo."
We captured a clawless, toothless, emasculated tiger. Siegfried and Roy would require neither whip nor chair to deal with this specimen.
- Ridge Dickey from Fort Worth, a reader of the Star Telegram.
However, "an emasculated tiger" is still too much for Georgette Loup, president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee of Greater New Orleans, who thinks that:
The way he was captured shows him for what he was: a paper tiger.
A paper tiger? Not so, thinks Samir Ragab, Editor-in-Chief of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Gumhuriya, who describes Saddam as: "a paper cat, a submissive coward."
In a surprising twist, the Vatican has come out and stated that Saddam - in being paraded in front of the cameras - was being "treated like a cow."
Sympathy also from Raghad, Saddam's daughter, who remains defiant, and likes to think of her father as resembling something rather nobler than a cow:
"A lion remains a lion even in captivity."
Raghad would have us believe that the essence of Saddam is untouched by bars and chains: his essence remains the essence of lion.
Similarly, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran sees Saddam as having the essence of an animal, but uses a rather less favourable turn of phrase. He rejects "lion" in favour of "wolf" - and calls Saddam:
"a bloodthirsty wolf in the shape of a human being".
Tigers, lions and wolves (and even cows) were much too big and impressive for the Sun's tastes. They went with the headline: 'Meek as a Lamb' - and reported that:
A top British intelligence source said last night: “Any suggestion that Saddam was defiant when he was arrested is nonsense. He came like a lamb...”
Smaller still is Saddam according to itv.com:
The cat-and-mouse game played by Saddam Hussein as coalition forces attempted to track down was brought to an end in his home town of Tikrit.
Mouse, dragon, canary, snake, spider, rat, lion, tiger, cow, lamb, chicken in a basket, crafty weasel and paper cat. An impressive tally for a doddery bloke with dirty fingernails and a bad moustache.
So which is it to be? What animal best describes Iraq's former cock of the walk?
In the end, we find ourselves swayed by what is certainly the best animalysis of the fall of Saddam, which is given by Bible Doctrine News. (Please go to this site).
Larry Wood of Bible Doctrine News sees vast, apocalyptic significance in real events that he has witnessed in his own back yard...
A cat came out on April 6th and declared war on the lizards. After a few skirmishes, the cat rid the area of lizards. She relished them. She pounced upon them with adroitness that left other lizards in shock and awe. Lizards literally ran for the rafters. The lizard is found in kings palaces (Proverbs 30:28), but it is also a symbol of Baal, the enemy of children. The cat is a symbol of a cat demon as well as the female. The cat demon is a demon Commander, such as Baal. The cat eating the lizards was a symbol of evil disciplining evil just as when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC.
The cat eating the lizards was also an angelic portrayal of the Iraq War. Angels grasped the irony of a US army with women in combat as the most non-feminine thing imaginable. The cat represents Bush's army with women soldiers, and the lizard represents Saddam Hussein. The lizard sticking out of the cat's mouth in the right photo resembles the overturned statue of Saddam Hussein (photo).