(en) Saddam

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Tue, 11 Nov 1997 07:55:48 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 07:43:41 -0800 (PST) From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org> Subject: Saddam (fwd)

When you hear media stories about Saddam's evil ways, add a pinch of salt to the seasoning and think whether those stories indicate there may be an end to sanctions on the Iraqi population.

=================== The [London] Guardian November 11 1997 Saddam loses out on mother of all whoppers

Mark Steel

TO BE fair to Saddam Hussein's propaganda machine, they do try their best to come out with crazy statements but they just can't match the Americans' superior firepower. According to the US Office of Technology Saddam is hiding a bomb in a suitcase which, once released, will create an invisible mist and kill three million people.

They must have copied this out of a comic. Next they'll say that Saddam is planning to intercept all Western television programmes with an announcement: "Greetings my infidel friends. I won't keep you long. Just long enough to inform you that your government must hand me the keys to Fort Knox by six o'clock tonight otherwise I will open this suitcase and cover your continent with my little creation; invisible poisonous mist. Ha ha ha. Aha ha ha. I do hope none of you 'missed' my message. HA HA HA!"

Then they'll say he's hoping to capture the pilots of the surveillance planes, take them to an underground headquarters, and shout "You poor deluded fools! Did you honestly think you could stop my evil plan? Ha ha ha!" before placing them in a cunning machine in which they'll be slowly suffocated with the mother of all custard.

Clinton's secretary of state Madeline Albright has also been playing her part in the tough stance against Saddam, repeatedly referring to him as a "congenital liar". Unlike her boss, of course. At least Saddam never said anything as daft as: "Well I did use chemical weapons but I didn't inhale".

This is all reminiscent of the Gulf war. When a smart bomb smartly landed on a bomb shelter killing 500 civilians, we were told that Saddam had deliberately misled the Americans that the shelter was a military base. On the day before the land war started it was discovered that the Iraqis were going around hospitals murdering babies. There was the oil slick which developed after the American navy torpedoed a tanker but was blamed on Iraqi vandalism. As if American oil tankers are environmentally sensible enough to never carry oil.

Then there were the amazingly accurate missiles which could turn comers, stop at the lights and nip up back roads if there were road works on the High Street. Except it's now admitted that all these stories were fabrications, and only a quarter of the missiles hit their target.

One of the tragedies of that war was the number of erstwhile pacifists who fell for the propaganda. Opposing a war is quite simple if the war is in history. It's easy now to say that the first world war was a dreadful waste of life, but there were no posters at the time saying "Your country needs you - to protect our Empire by sloshing about in a rat-filled trench to gain a yard of mud before getting a bayonet in your arse. Sign up at the desk in the church hall." Instead everyone was informed that "brave little Belgium" had to be protected from the evil Hun, who were murdering babies and were on the point of inventing a poisonous invisible mist.

Now supporters of military action against Saddam, tell us he's a monster, which he is, but this has nothing to do with the current crisis. He must feel like someone who's never understood why their marriage went horribly wrong. Occasionally he must flick through old photos showing him walking arm in arm with Reagan against Iran, or those wonderfully well thought out presents that came from British arms manufacturers, and think: "Where did it all go wrong?" Perhaps he even -considers ringing George Bush and saying: "Why don't we play that game where I attack the Kurds and you support it? One last time, for old time's sake".

SADDAM has broken UN resolutions, but so has Indonesia; yet despite their ethical foreign policy, New Labour are happy to sell them more weapons, to "fulfil an outstanding contract". Perhaps that's what they meant by ethical. "Well, not to send the instruments of torture after a government's gone to the trouble of filling in the form and paying a deposit would be very rude indeed."

The finest country at ignoring UN resolutions, though, is Israel. They can also put Saddam in the shade when it comes to dealing with people exposing their secret weapons. When Mordechai Vanunu leaked that the army was secretly developing nuclear bombs, his government didn't muck about threatening to fire at aircraft they couldn't reach. Instead he was kidnapped and placed in solitary confinement, where he's been for the last 10 years.

So there's every reason to doubt the claims of the US Office of Technology, and believe the simpler explanation that it all comes down to oil.

Or maybe, right now, Saddam is applying the finishing touches to his secret potion, which will enable him to change into whatever shape he chooses. Bill Clinton will stop him in the nick of time, punch him on the jaw, there'll be a huge "Kerpow!" sound, and finally Tony Blair will arrive and say "And I'm pretty tough as well, you know".

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