Saddam Hussein - the perfect modern celebrity

The 'Changing Rooms' team would turn up to his hole and scream 'Let's get a nice big mirror in here!'
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The Independent Online

I bet that once Saddam's trial starts, they'll want to make sure Ronald Reagan goes nowhere near it. Because he can't remember anything that's happened in the last 10 years, so he'd rush straight up to the defendant and yell: "Saddaaaam, how the devil are you? I haven't seen you in yeeeears, why don't you keep in touch? Donald's aaaalways talking about you, he's such a fan!"

And there must be a chance that if Saddam confesses to executing hundreds of "common thieves", to invading sovereign states for oil, to fiddling elections and handing positions of power to his idiotic sons, instead of being hung he'll be made next year's Republican candidate for President.

One of the worst things Saddam can do is say he destroyed his weapons of mass destruction, as that's bound to annoy the Americans. They'll say, "well, why should we treat you decently if you can't look after the things we give you?"

There are many peculiarities about the current Bush/Blair-led mood of ecstasy, one of which is the view that the war is justified and the anti-war movement utterly discredited by the week's events. This would be true if the arguments against the war had been a) it's a waste of time, because it's impossible to capture Saddam and b) say what you like about Saddam, wherever he lives, he always keeps his place tidy.

One newspaper columnist complained there wasn't enough celebration of the event on television. She grumbled: "I must say, if the BBC conveyed any sense of euphoria about Saddam's capture, I must have missed it." To keep these people happy, the news would have had to look like the winning team's changing room after the FA Cup final, with Huw Edwards in the bath singing "in a hole in a hole in a hole, in a hole in a hole in a hooooole!" Then a naked Michael Buerk would have had to spray champagne in Edwards' face, yelling "we got 'im!", while out of shot someone was screaming "up your arse, Tony Benn!"

The Sun tried this a bit, telling us "Today's page 3 girl is Kristle, who says: 'I hope the capture of that bad man leads to peace in Iraq'." At least they could have made an effort and said: "Plenty of fellas wouldn't mind sharing a Baath with today's Sunni sizzler".

But it makes you realise sections of the media might campaign for Saddam's release, as he would make the perfect modern celebrity. First, he'd be interviewed by Lorraine Kelly on GMTV, who'd say: "It must cause terrible stress to a marriage, being captured like that just before Christmas". Then he'd be on Celebrity Wife Swap with Clare Sweeney, who'd complain to him: "Look, you can torture who you like, but can you not do it with my curling tongs, they're flaming well ruined". Then the Changing Rooms team would turn up to his hole and scream: "Ooh my goodness, well to start with, let's get a nice big mirror in here to make it feel a bit more roomy!"

This would be no more ridiculous than the complaints that Saddam was a "coward" as he didn't opt for a final shoot-out against the 600 troops that surrounded him. Would the Americans have preferred it if he'd come out like Scarface, blasting in all directions and covered in cocaine? Or dived out of his hole screeching like Jackie Chan to kill all 600 before a showdown with Bush half way up a mountain?

Most importantly, the euphoria of Bush, Blair and their supporters seems to revolve around their belief that the capture of Saddam will have a significant effect on the groups in Iraq opposed to the occupation. Which means they must have fallen victim to their own propaganda. How could he possibly have controlled anything from that hole, he couldn't even get himself spam that wasn't two months past its expiry date. And the image of him when he was captured was hardly as iconic as the picture of Che Guevara when he was caught in Bolivia.

He looked like the filthiest tramp in London, the sort they don't let into doss-houses, so how could he have been directing the guerilla movement as claimed by the Americans? The rebels would have been returning from their meetings with Saddam to say to their followers: "Our leader has issued us these instructions in our quest for victory - 'baaaaa, yafagayefuckinbaaaa WHO YOU LOOKIN' AT? I can't stand Kurds yebabollocks to you!'"

There may be another explanation for the continuing attacks against the occupation forces. Which is that, regardless of what people thought of Saddam, when a foreign army arrives virtue of thousands of cruise missiles, privatises the country by selling it off to their mates, then regularly shoots at civilians, declaring them "insurgents", the local population tends to get annoyed. And they'll carry on getting annoyed whatever happens to Saddam. In a couple of years, with Saddam long dead, if the Americans are still there, they'll still be getting fired at. Then Paul Bremer will call in an exorcist to destroy Saddam's ghostly spirit and announce "we got 'im. Now it will all be over by Christmas".

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