The Mother of All Trials
Saddam on his defense


From: Saddam Hussein

To: Khalil al-Dulaimi

Re: The Big Day!

Esteemed defender of the rightful ruler of Iraq and sword of the revolution, greetings. First, let me thank you for your efforts to date on my behalf, and on the behalf of the Iraqi people. I know it has not been easy for either of us. The 1,500 other members of the Defense and Support Committee–a.k.a. the dream team–had complicated the process, so I had to fire them. I did not mean to burden you with the entire defense. I had wanted Johnnie Cochran to help out, but as you know he died under mysterious circumstances. There are no limits to the perfidy of little Bush.

Our big day is upon us, so I felt it would be useful to review the ground rules. First, I must be referred to only as President of the Republic of Iraq, of the Revolutionary Council, and Supreme Commander of the Iraqi Military Forces, which was and is my proper title. I am the legitimate leader of the country, and of the revolution. It was–and still am–the will of the people, and we must respect that. I am their father, their brother, their leader. This Kurd dog pretender Talabani–he is nothing–he should have been gassed with the rest of his disloyal tribe long ago; not that such things ever happened, but as the saying goes…

As president I have immunity under section 40 of the 1990 constitution, which is still legally binding. And anyway the law that Saddam signed cannot be used against Saddam, it is a contradiction. These sham documents that have been used to subjugate the country since the invasion–I mean the illegal act of international aggression–wait, the abominable war crime perpetrated against the Iraqi people, yes, that’s good–they are a mockery. And the scrap of paper they sought to legitimate with the rigged referendum, it is a farce compounded. Amateurs. I was approved with 100 percent of the vote–that my friend is a referendum.

With respect to the case, the reason they are looking at Dujail is because they think it’s a winner. They want to have something in their back pockets when they pursue the even more absurd charges against me. Low-hanging fruit they call it. But meanwhile they dropped Halabja for lack of evidence. Halabja! After all the fuss they made over it they can’t even bring it to court. Frankly I am as astonished as you are that they haven’t found sufficient evidence, given what’s out there; but then again they could not find my WMD program either, so maybe I shouldn’t be all that surprised.

Getting back to Dujail, we really have to pin them down on defining exactly what they mean by “crime against humanity.” The Dujail “massacre” hardly qualifies. In the first place, it was not a massacre. There were 75,000 people in that town, and only 140 or so died. So I heard anyway. The Mongols would have wiped out the whole village. And look at Lidice, or Oradour sur Glane. Compared to the Nazis I’m practically a humanitarian. But I agree with you, since the crime of murder carries a mandatory death penalty and crime against humanity does not, we might as well fight it out on that ground. Still, it bugs me.

Not that I had anything to do with it. They should look at my brother Barzan. Well, my half brother. He always looked up to me, wanted to emulate me, but he has no judgment. He does things without my knowledge, things he thinks might please me, but bless him, he goes too far sometimes. The torturing, the shootings, the mass graves–his idea. Did you see that report he has cancer? He got that scam from the American mobsters, they always come down with something right before a trial. I myself have not been feeling well; if you could bring a cane to the trial I may need it. A wheelchair would be even better.

Be sure to explore our options under self-defense. After all, they tried to kill me. Would any president in any country do otherwise? Look into similar circumstances in the United States, see what they did when their leaders were waylaid by armed mobs. I am certain we can find a precedent, at least one village.

I don’t want to go down the road of embarrassing the Americans, of revealing everything about our special relationship in the 1980s, all the things we did together back when we were on good terms. And we certainly don’t want to bring up things like Abu Ghraib–the less said about that place the better! Word to the wise. Instead I want to stress the positive. We had good times back in the day, we can again. I think in time the Americans will shake the influence of their Zionist masters and come to their senses. They still need someone to hold the line against Iran, more than ever these days. Will the Shiites do it? Not likely! And there was never this level of disorder when I was in power. Order is what they want. I can take care of it. They know this, and they will come to me eventually. If we can draw it out they’ll understand the futility of this exercise. They don’t have to admit failure, I can stand for election or something, however they want to dress it up. We just need some time. How is Milosevic doing it? Talk to his people if you can.

We need to work harder to try this thing in the media. I want some new and more flattering pictures out there, so bring in a photographer. And I need some better clothes, not to mention a decent haircut. That al Qaeda barber is in the next cell but they won’t let him have any scissors. I suggested maybe he could give me a shave and he just laughed, not in a nice way. It was odd. Anyway, we need to get my image back in shape. And do something about that delay on the “live” TV feed. Twenty minutes? What happened to seven seconds? If it takes them twenty minutes to figure out what they want to bleep out then no wonder the country is in a shambles.

On Ramsey Clark: He has always been a good friend to us and I appreciate his input. I like his “defense of the rule of law and peace” pitch, and that bit about “the days of victor’s justice must end.” But get a handle on his expense account. I’m serious.

My friend, I think you know how important this case is, not only to me, but to our people, our country, the Arab nation, and the Islamic faith. It is the most important trial in history. It will decide the fates of millions. Indeed, the very future of civilization is in the balance. I know you will strive mightily to bring this to a just conclusion. And with great achievement will come great rewards. When power is rightly returned to the president and his party, you will not be forgotten. As well, you should be aware of the reverse. I tell you as a father tells his youngest son, do not disappoint me. If I lose this case, it will not go well for you.

Finally, with respect to your latest invoice, you will have to take that up with my daughter Raghad. She handles the paperwork. Have faith, I am Saddam, I’m good for it. Trust me.

James S. Robbins is senior fellow in national-security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, a trustee for the Leaders for Liberty Foundation, and an NRO contributor.


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