Bearded Tyrant in a Taliban Hole

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
December 17, 2003

The news of dictator in a hole and his disheveled face were shown in every news outlets. Saddam was found in a “rat hole”, chuckled the commenter in a posh media.

Saddam, the rugged dictator, scraggy beard exactly like Taliban, perhaps lice and vermin filled muddled hair and disoriented eyes, with burning spot on the side of his left brow.


Saddam looked like a Taliban!

Albeit not the adoring Santa Clause!

He was given a tongue, teeth and overall a deep oral examination, with images of seemingly drowsy captured tyrant, the once powerful and feared man in the Arab world.

These images were potent. These images were purported to deflate the invincible symbol of pre-war mighty Saddam holding by many.

Perhaps many may think, quite naturally, that the victors are gloating, and parading the defeated enemy in the most humiliating way it can, even trespassing the sacred Geneva Convention that is supposedly be the sacrosanct guidelines to protect an enemy combatant or leadership.

The Vatican representative Cardinal Martino said so with all the courage he could master before the foreign admonishing pressure could build up for his “expected” silence. Saddam was paraded and inspected, like a cow of Eid-ul-Adha before the splendid slaughter. That was the premise of Cardinal’s pity filled protest.

He said, "I felt pity to see this man destroyed, being treated like a cow as they checked his teeth. We should have been spared these images. Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him.”

Feeling compassions for the fellow human beings and creations is what defines us as human. Saddam is alleged to have committed atrocious brutality, murders and torture on countless Iraqis, Iranians and Kuwaitis. He must be accountable for his crime. And it is the fair and impartial justice system, either in occupation-free democratic Iraq or other court with international participation that can impose the unbiased justice he deserves.

The allegations against Saddam are gravely serious. “According to Galbraith, who has helped document the deposed dictator's brutality against his own people, estimates are that Saddam's regime slaughtered as many as 180,000 Kurds in the late 1980s, that it killed another 300,000 Shi'ites in the aftermath of their 1991 uprising, that as many as 50,000 marsh Arabs perished, and that another 50,000 to 100,000 Iraqis have been executed under Saddam.” [1]

And his invasion of Iran, widely supported by U.S., U.K. and other Western nations, killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians and hundreds of thousands of more Iraqis in a bloody protracted war.

Donald Rumsfeld even flew to Iraq to meet the “statesman” and “friendly” Saddam in December of 1983, to provide American continuing support for Saddam’s murderous war against the Iranians, and to discuss a lucrative oil pipeline. Rumsfeld was also carrying an important letter from then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in which Israel’s offer of arms sell to the tyrant was proposed in the cozy palace of Saddam.

History is brutal and to the point. Bush’s neo-pundits always try to remind the rest of the world that without the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. But this is also true that without the CIA intervention in the decade of 1960s, this two-bit tyrant would have never become the monster he had become.

There are clear problems in holding Saddam’s trial in occupied Iraq due to the lack of trained forensic and judicial experts from Iraqi populace with necessary experiences. Also, it would be another idiotic blunder by the Bush Administration if Saddam’s trial becomes tainted with any farcical judicial process serving the interests of his cronies only.

Saddam is widely perceived as a murderous criminal, but like every other human beings, he deserves a fair trial as the Ex-Yugoslavia’s premier the notorious Milosevic is receiving in Hague.

The U.S. Congressman McDermott raised question on curious timing of Saddam’s capture. He said, “There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing."

His overpowering chuckles, when asked whether Saddam’s capture was timed to help Bush’s reelection campaign, were sounded, “Yeah. Oh, yeah."

McDermott deduces that the Bush Administration knew Saddam’s whereabouts all along. And “It's funny, when [the Bush administration is] having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something."

There is indeed too much “happenstances” quite nerve wrecking.

The news of profiteering by the mighty U.S. corporations were taking the central stage, and there were clear discontents among the various U.S. allies for shutting out Iraq reconstruction contracts (spoils of war?) and distributing them among the war participants only.

The popular anti-war Presidential candidate Howard Dean was making inroad in his campaign, had received the all valuable endorsement from Al Gore who was arguably defeated in a questionable election 2000, and announced that Dean would be giving a major Foreign Policy speech.

American installed the new Iraqi Governing council has set up a special court only last week.

All these happened just past few days before Saddam’s celebrated arrest.

Saddam’s “timely” capture and subsequent portrayal of his Taliban like bearded face, with messy hair caved in a “rat-hole”, sent a designed signal to the gullible citizenry that Saddam was indeed a dirty dictator. It tried to boost the unfounded Bush message that Saddam’s regime was connected with the September 11 terrorist attack against the U.S.

Madeleine Albright, the Clinton era’s Secretary of State was musing, just like McDermott did, “'Do you suppose that the Bush administration has Usama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and will bring him out before the election?”

Perhaps it is a bit far-fetched comment that is not expected from the stature of Ms. Albright. But is it really? Wouldn’t it be nice and dandy for the Bush Administration to present the scraggy and bearded Laden in another hole filled with rats just before the election?

Good-bye Dr. Dean. The other Bush like pro-war Democrats were all over the anti-war candidate with “the television advert, aired in the crucial primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, mingles sinister music, a close-up of Osama bin Laden's eyes, and a series of slogans flashed up on the screen: Dangerous World, Destroy Us, Dangers Ahead, No Experience.” [2]

The conservative columnist Matt Drudge has begun the Dean smearing campaign in his recent articles by alleging and other similar websites those are campaigning for Dean and other Democrats to have foreign contributions and memberships. He is furious that organizations in other nations are setting up websites for the sole purpose of defeating Bush in the next American Presidential election in 2004.

Even George Soros, the billionaire businessman who has pledged millions of dollar in defeating Bush, has come under sharp attacks from the conservative groups who are screaming and describing him as morally bankrupt due to his atheistic and liberal leaning.

Hmm! The conservatives are so morally upright!

While Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Rush Limbaugh are fuming their bigotry filled venoms against minority and especially are engaged in their “divine crusades” against Muslims, could “moral uprightness” be learned from these chauvinism filled men?

And what’s so wrong in setting up websites in foreign lands for campaigning against Bush? While the fanciful preemptive wars and punishments by trade and other monetary means are cheerfully conducted by the current Bush Administration to punish the “enemy”, and causing unfathomable sufferings and deaths for the millions and millions of world citizens who are not Americans, then why the “non-Americans” cannot campaign against Bush and neo-pundits?

In the elation of apprehending and parading “Saddam the monster”, pushed aside are the facts that the Iraq war was not conducted with the sole premise of capturing the beast. It was forced down the citizenry’s throat as the war that was vital to counter immediate threat posed by Saddam’s all too frightening weapons of mass destruction.

The Niger Uranium preposterous connection was shoved; murmurs of the villainous Atta’s supposed meeting with Iraqi agents or the notorious Hezbollah leader Abu Nidal in Baghdad or in other European cities, etc. were widely publicized through the in-bedded media.

All these fanciful claims have been proven utterly falsified, and in some cases, questions have been raised on manufacturing evidences and stealing from University student’s term or research paper.

After the Iraq war, this world has not become a safer place as Bush and his neo-conservative pumped theologians try to say in every occasion they have in all pervasive media.

In Afghanistan, Bush’s first battle ground against “terrorism”, the “defeated” Talibans and war lords are reported to have re-grown their previously shaved beard and resurfaced and controlling most of the country while the puppet Karzai cannot even trust his fellow Afghanis as his bodyguards.

The seething anger that Bush’s unprovoked preemptive war created among the world Muslim citizenry along with other disadvantaged populace of various backgrounds is unprecedented in American history. And murderous Osama Bin Laden and his notorious Al Qaeda and supporting terrorist groups have utilized Bush’s blunder after blunder in overflowing recruiting and financing for their world wide terrorist network.

In Iraq, the resistance to US occupation has evolved beyond the old Baathist regime’s hold. The Baathist would surely be frustrated from Saddam’s demoralizing capture, but there would possibly be more recruitment in anti-coalition insurgents now that the widely disliked Saddam is caged so the war could be raised without seeing sympathetic to the tyrant.

George W. Bush said, “The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein. I find it very interesting that when the heat got on, you dug yourself a hole and you crawled in it.”

This type of arrogant message is not quite unexpected from Bush. He had done similar blunders before. One can certainly reminisce his infamous invoking of crusade just aftermath of September 11, 2003. While the entire world was watching, Bush’s arrogant filled word, like a high-strung school kid, without trying to bridge the severed rift, would surely enrage many.

Americans are seemed to be puzzled by: Why do they hate us? Do the terrorists hate America because of its overwhelming wealth and freedom? Do the terrorists use the image of neat and trim, the picturesque American landscape in their recruitment campaigns?

No. It is the overpowering domination backed by stupefied arrogance while subjugating the billions in utter humiliation that is the winning scoring point for Laden Incorporated.

Michael Sky writes: “"Why do they hate us?" the most dominant nation in history has been asking since 9/11. Not because of our freedom, despite the fatuous repetitions of Misleader. Nor because of their poverty—as evidenced by the many terrorists who come from well-to-do families, and from the millions of impoverished people worldwide who never resort to terrorism. They hate us because of generations of constant humiliation. They hate us because, as children, they watched their parents forced to their knees, taken away in handcuffs, gunned down in their houses, because, as children, they've stood on the wrong side of barbed-wire fences, barred from the easy streets on the other side. They hate us because their daily lives can feel so miserably small compared to the Hollywood world on their television screens. They hate us because they've spent too many long nights, shivering in the awful dark, our bombs raining down from the heavens. They dislike us because we beat them every time it matters, our armies always stronger, our wallets always fatter, but they hate us because, when the battle's over, we insist on humiliation. They hate us because, at the moment of their defeat, the most powerful man in the world acts like a six-year-old bully.” [3]

A six-year-old bully shall not defeat terrorism.

It would take maturity and clear vision that the current American leadership is clearly lacking of. It would take genuine outreaching effort in lifting the overwhelming feelings of humiliation from the heavy hearts of billions before peace returns on earth.

Perhaps, it would take the entire world mimicking in central Texan accent: “Good riddance of tyrants and bullies”.


1. Scot Lehigh, “Prosecution of Saddam Must Be Beyond Reproach”, The Boston Globe, December 17, 2003.

2. Andrew Gumbel, “Attempts to Smear Howard Dean Grow Uglier”, The New Zealand Herald, December 17, 2003.

3. Michael Sky, “Domination by Humiliation”, Common Dreams, December 17, 2003.


Mahbubul Karim (Sohel) is a freelance writer. His email address is: