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The Many Uses of Saddam Hussein
by Timothy McGettigan, Ph.D. Department of Sociology Colorado State University – Pueblo Timothy.McGettigan@colostate-pueblo.edu
Our boy Saddam slugs it out with Iran.
He’s a Hero!
Actually, Saddam is kind of creepy. He murders Kurds, tortures and terrorizes his own citizens, and brutally attacks his neighbors.
But he’s a strong, steady ally in a volatile region.
So, we give him benefit of the doubt.
Indeed, the US goes to great lengths to preserve its strategic alliance with Iraq.
Even going so far as forgiving Iraq for firing two “friendly” Exocet missiles at the USS Stark (killing 37 US sailors).
After all, Saddam was our friend.
He was one of the good guys
So it was during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)
However, on August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein made a fatal mistake.
Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Our boy was behaving erratically.
Saddam was murdering Kurds, torturing and terrorizing his own citizens, invading his neighbors…
Admittedly, those were our hero’s primary forms of recreation throughout the 1980s.
But in 1990 our hero changed.
Our knight in shining armor had gone over to the dark side.
Saddam had become an evil tyrant.
Fortunately, another hero was prepared to step in and save us.
Our new hero stood up to our former hero…
…and kicked his butt.
Well, sort of
Hussein remained in power. Poppy succeeded in expelling Hussein from Kuwait while simultaneously winning a huge, albeit short-lived, PR victory at home.
You can’t win ‘em all.
Or can you?
For the balance of the 1990s, conflict between the US and Iraq was ongoing, but low-intensity.
Having trounced Iraq during Desert Storm, the US viewed Saddam as little more than a malingering second-rate nuisance.
Amidst the exuberance of the 1990s Saddam became an afterthought.
Clinton had other fish to fry.
This all changed on 09/11/01
OK, rumor has it that W began plotting Saddam’s overthrow as early as 01/2000.
Leaving aside (for the moment) Paul O’Neill’s rather serious allegations, following 9/11/01 the US was once again gunning for Saddam.
The fact that Osama took credit for 9/11/01 created a brief distraction.
Nevertheless, the Bush Administration’s focus soon returned to Saddam.
It would take some doing, but the Bush Administration was determined to rekindle US fear and hatred of…
The Ace of Spades
The US may have lacked verifiable “evidence” of a connection between Saddam and 9/11.
But c’mon, did we really need evidence?
We knew Saddam was our man.
He was obviously a monster. All you had to do was look at him. There was guilt in his eyes.
Sure, there were a few doubting Thomases.
But they were a bunch of clowns.
Just like all those lilly-livered protestors.
Who in their right mind would stick up for Saddam!? What kind of sick world is this???
Good for nothing peace-mongers.
True, US interests stood to benefit handsomely even if Saddam lacked a direct connection to al Qaeda.
W also stood to gain by knocking off Saddam.
War with Saddam just might divert attention from W’s less-thanstellar domestic record.
Also, focusing on the mano a mano face off between W and Saddam would help de-emphasize another nagging mystery…
In its turbid aftermath, people were quick to forget the ‘real’ reason for fighting the war.
Unfinished family business
This one’s for you, Poppy.
The Bushes knew Saddam was a bad egg.
And they were tough enough to go after him.
Regardless of public opinion.
They dug that rat out of his stinking hole…
…and, wow, is he going to get it.
But not quite yet. In politics, timing is everything.
Nevertheless, thanks to our conquering hero:
1. All of our problems are solved. 2. Peace reigns. 3. And the world is, once again, safe for democracy.
This looks like trouble…
You can rely on our
War Time President
to lash out swiftly, certainly, and lethally to crush any villainous threat that might get in the way…
…of one final piece of unfinished family business.
God bless (Help!) America!