The Law Is a Culturally Significant Ass

by Mark Steyn

Saddam Hussein’s bottom has wound up costing British taxpayers thousands of pounds. From London’s Daily Mail:

Soldier who took buttocks from Saddam Hussein statue has charges against him dropped

In fact, it was a fellow from the SAS, Britain’s special forces, and he only took the left buttock. As far as I can deduce from the story, the whereabouts of Saddam’s right buttock are unknown. Anyway:

Officers arrested Nigel Ely after Iraqi officials claimed he had ‘illegally removed cultural property’… Mr Ely, 52, from Derby, lambasted the case as a waste of time and money.

He said: ‘This is ridiculous. The police investigation cost tens of thousands of pounds and my fees are being paid by legal aid. Where’s the common sense?

’The case was a complete waste of police time and my time. Having part of the statue of Saddam is like having a piece of the Berlin wall. It is a historical artifact…’ He helped himself to the 2ft left buttock by using a hammer and crowbar to prise off the piece after American soldiers overturned the former Iraqi leader’s statue in Baghdad in 2003…

Iraqi leaders made a complaint via the Iraqi Embassy, claiming that the piece was part of the country’s heritage.

Saddam’s left buttock is certainly part of the country’s heritage, but it seems an odd priority for the Iraqi government. Nevertheless:

Derbyshire police launched an investigation and arrested Mr Ely on suspicion of breaching Section 8 of the Iraqi Sanctions Order 2003 earlier this year.

Under the order, anyone possessing Iraqi cultural property must give it to the police.

Officers searched Nigel’s Herefordshire cottage but failed to find it. Mr Ely was released without charge.

Police now say they are not convinced the metal is from the Saddam statue.

A spokesman for Derbyshire police said: ‘Despite a thorough investigation, the piece alleged to be from the statue has not been recovered and we found evidence to cast doubt on the authenticity of its origin.”

Hmm. If you’ve never seen it, how can you know it’s not the authentic left buttock? And why’s the guy holding it in the accompanying photograph? And how come Derbyshire constabulary are searching a Herefordshire cottage over a theft from Iraq a decade ago? No matter. I’m sure everyone had a grand old time. The British police are among the most useless in the world and launching an in-depth investigation into Saddam Hussein’s missing rear end seems almost too perfectly symbolic.

P.S. I gather the elusive right buttock, cursed by a powerful imam to reign down death on any who try to tap its destructive powers, has been optioned by Harrison Ford for Indiana Jones And The Buttock Of Doom.

The Corner

The one and only.