Megalomania and the power of self-delusion Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I think one of the more fascinating and ironic finds in one of Saddam's palaces was a mural depicting a victory for Iraq in the first Gulf War. Of course, it was pure self-delusion, and I'm sure a psychologist could explain how Saddam rationalized victory out of a thumping (or to quote him "the mother of all") defeat.
Saddam Hussein has told his lawyers that he wants to be shot by firing squad, not hanged, if sentenced to death during his murder trial, which resumes later this month in Baghdad. Saddam maintains that he is still commander in chief of Iraq's armed forces — and that a firing squad is "the right way" to execute a military leader.
"I'm not afraid of death," he told two of his lawyers in an astonishingly candid five-hour meeting, as he sat in a comfortable chair at the head of the table. "Of course I'm not guilty, but I know they want me dead."
Some other interesting tidbits from this 5 hour meeting:
"Threatening me with death doesn't mean anything," Saddam told the two lawyers. "I don't care less. The life of any one Iraqi is no less valuable than mine."
Or 30,000 for that matter, the estimated number he slaughtered when the Iraqis in the south rebelled after the '91 Gulf War. In those days the lives of Iraqis were certainly less valuable than his.
The lawyers had delicately raised the possibility of Saddam's being executed. He responded, "I am the commander in chief. ... I prefer it to be by firing squad. I am the commander in chief."
The ousted president had added, "I don't value this life that much. Every human being has his time to go."
I'm not a death penalty advocate, as I've noted before, but in the case of Saddam, I think the state should just step back if he's found guilty, and turn him over to his victims and their relatives to mete out justice. My guess is it wouldn't be a firing squad.
Saddam told his lawyers that his stand against America, and especially the insurgency that has followed, have been immensely valuable in stopping a superpower in its tracks.
"I'm fighting against U.S. tyranny on behalf of Iraqis, Arabs, all the people of the world. ... The U.S. will not be able to formulate a new world," he told his lawyers.
"They tried in Iraq and failed badly, so by standing against Bush we are protecting other countries and regions of the world. Now the U.S. will think a thousand times before daring to attack another country."
No doubt we'll find another mural in his cell which depicts this great fight and victory as well.
Saddam said he was exultant about the ongoing insurgency.
"I know the Iraqi people will fight to the end," Mr. Ghazzawi quoted him as saying. "The Iraqi people are patriotic; they cannot accept foreign rule. Any aggression will be resisted to the end.
"The Americans with their allies will fly out of Iraq very soon, and their puppets will leave even before the Americans."
He considers all the politicians in the Iraq government to be "puppets" of the occupying armies and said they would be treated like criminals if and when Ba'athists reclaimed power.
Note the highlighted sentence and tell me again all the talk of 'immediate redeployment' has no positive effect on our enemies.
Saddam told the lawyers that he did not demand massive revenge for a failed assassination attempt in 1982 in the village of Dujail — the basis of his current trial. He said he just signed death warrants that judges had passed.
"I never asked about the Dujail case since I left that place," he said.
Translation: "It was legal, I just signed what my puppets, er, judges sent me". That's why I always argue that "legal" and "moral" are not at all the same thing and just because something is legal doesn't make it moral or right.
Let’s face it — Saddam’s insane. He sees nothing beyond his egotistical delusions, and no amount of reality, no matter how forcefully applied, is going to change that. As gratifying as it would be for all concerned to make him see what a vicious, pathetic waste of skin he is, it’s not going to happen. He will go to his grave utterly convinced of his wonderfulness. It’s frustrating to me and must be maddeningly so to his victims, but that’s the reality.