Saddam: the secret tapes

Remember Saddam Hussein? Yes, him. Whatever happened to him? Well, we haven't heard any news of him because he is still being debriefed by the Americans. We have managed to get hold of a transcript of one of those sessions. Here it is.

Interrogator: You are Saddam Hussein, late ruler of Iraq?

Saddam: No.

Int: You are not Saddam Hussein?

Saddam: Oh, yes. But I am not the late ruler. Until there are new elections in Iraq, and I resign, I am legally still in charge.

Int: Well, perhaps we can leave the lawyers to settle that one. Now, Mr Hussein, we have some very serious questions to ask you in the wake of the late war.

Saddam: Do you mean the illegal and brutal invasion of Iraq by the West? That was not a war - it was an act of naked aggression!

Int: That is how all wars start. You invaded Kuwait. The Iran/Iraq war...

Saddam: Yes, how did that start? I forget now. But I remember we were friends then, the USA and Iraq. You wanted me to win that war.

Int: And we could still be friends, Mr Hussein, if you had not let us down so badly.

Saddam: Let you down?

Int: The weapons, Mr Hussein. Years ago, we gave you the wherewithal to make potent biological and nuclear weapons.

Saddam: And I was grateful. I think I wrote to say thanks.

Int: Yes, but the idea was that you would develop an arsenal big enough to destabilise the Middle East. We, the Americans, would then demand the right to inspect and decommission these weapons. You would give in gracefully. We would look good, because we had brought peace to the world. You would look good, as a reasonable statesman. Everyone would be happy.

Saddam: Yes.

Int: But you wouldn't co-operate. Why not?

Saddam: Because I didn't have the weapons.

Int: You had already decommissioned them?

Saddam: No. I never had them. I gave orders for them to be built - but the scientists strung me along! They kept saying they needed more time. Now I see that all the time they were salting the money away. If only I could get the chance to see those bastards!

Int: Well, that could be arranged...

Saddam: You know where they are?

Int: Oh, yes. They are all in Guantanamo Bay.

Saddam: Oh? I thought those people were all al-Qa'ida suspects...

Int: Oh, no, no. They were cleared out long ago. These are now all guys from Iraq who were supposed to be manufacturing weapons of mass destruction for you. They thought we were going to be very pleased that they hadn't. We were furious. It will make us look idiots when it comes out that there weren't any weapons at all. Luckily, Bush will be back in the White House by then.

Saddam: Yes, but I had the same problem. If I had proved that I had no weapons, I would have lost face totally. No Arab leader would have taken me seriously again.

Int: Well, they don't now. Being found hiding in a hole in the ground doesn't help one's image either.

Saddam: It never hurt Osama bin Laden's image to be thought of as holed up in a cave. Whereas...

Int: You know where he is?

Saddam: Yes.

Int: Yes, so do we.

Saddam: So why don't you catch him?

Int: Nearer the election, perhaps.

Saddam: Ah, yes, I see. By the way, if you disapprove of people like me having WMDs, why do you let Israel get away with it?

Int: We don't. Everyone thinks they've got them, but they haven't. Like you, as it turns out.

Saddam: But they're your allies! Don't you want them armed?

Int: They are also headstrong and unpredictable. A Palestinian suicide bomber is bad enough. Can you imagine what effect an Israeli suicide nuclear bomber would have?

Saddam: Mmm. Good point.

More from these sessions some other time.