On Point: The Mother of All Debates?

by Austin Bay
February 26, 2003

So Saddam wants to debate George W. Bush.

No surprise, for jumping into the big leagues -- militarily,politically and, most important of all, personally -- is Saddam'smegalomaniacal goal.

Now, buoyed by street support from pals in the internationalappeasenik movement, the well-nicknamed Million-Man Murderer seeks limelightand podium with America's president.

An editorial published last week in "Babel" (a Baghdad newspaperrun by Saddam's son, Uday) lauded the Iraqi dictator's "internationalsupport."

"The antiwar demonstrations across the world reflect a newchapter in the global balance of power," Babel's blood-soaked propagandistsopined. "Everyone has noted that a new multipolar world is emerging. Iraq,with its oil, its resistance, its wise leaders and its strategic vision isan important and fundamental actor in this multipolar world."

Got that crooked crock straight?

Historical context will help.

Feb. 24, 1990, 13 years ago: Saddam took the podium in the RoyalCultural Center in Amman, Jordan. His speech that day is typical Saddam, afoul mix of shrewdness, Fascist-inspired Baath Party rhetoric and utterblindness. It's also one of the few windows to Saddam's strategicassessments prior to the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The shrewdness andblindness it displays, as well as the megalomania, remain relevant.

Saddam began with the usual "pan-Arab issues," the "loss ofPalestine" among them. He then sketched his vision of recent history. AfterWorld War II, France and Britain "declined." Two superpowers arose, theUnited States and USSR, and "global policy continued on the basis of theexistence of two poles that balanced in terms of force."

He paused, his black, rabbity eyes examining the audience. "Andsuddenly, the situation," Saddam said, "changed in a dramatic way."

That change was the end of the Cold War (November 1989). Saddamcontinued with a rambling suggestion that America was "fatigued" and wouldfade, but "throughout the next five years," the United States would beunrestricted.

The United States, in Saddam's view, was strong but weak,without staying power. (He ignored U.S. staying power during the Cold War.)The speech SEEMED to suggest that successfully tackling the United Statesentailed scraping the scar of Vietnam and threatening massive U.S.casualties. "Fatigue" and domestic self-recrimination would stall U.S.power.

In retrospect, one crucial line stands out: "The big," Saddamsaid, "does not become big nor does the great earn such a description unlesshe is in the arena of comparison or fighting with someone else on adifferent level." (Translation: If a minor-leaguer wants to move up, hetakes on the majors.)

Saddam has proclaimed himself the new Nebuchadnezzar, the nextSaladin, the heir of Hammurabi. (Check your history books -- they'reMesopotamian big-leaguers.)

Arab Baath Party ideology was in large measure cribbed fromItalian Fascists. Mussolini saw himself as the new Caesar. The big dreams oflittle men like Mussolini lead to big demands and -- ultimately -- huge lossof human life (WWII). It's a shame so many folks who contend they "march forpeace" have such a sorry record of capitulation to these self-inflatingthugs.

Frustrated leftists (Marxist fundamentalists who know Old Karlcouldn't be wrong) and the usual bevy of malcontents jealous of Americansuccess (include France's indictable autocrat, Jacque Chirac, in this group)chant, "It's about oil," and equate President Bush with Hitler. In doing so,they encourage real tyrants.

Actually, Saddam's invasion of Kuwait was about oil. Heconcluded taking Kuwait would mean he'd set the global price of oil, andthus put him in the Bigs. Desert Storm checked him. U.N. weapons sanctionswere a further check, for in Saddam's estimate, Weapons of Mass Destruction(WMD) are another means of reaching the Bigs. Little men with such weaponscan menace continents.

Saddam not only has Kurds and Shias in his gunsights -- likeOsama bin Laden, he ultimately targets America.

Saddam, the secular Fascist, and bin Laden, his religious zealotequivalent, both declared war on the United States. Given 9-11, Saddam'sterror international connections and Iraq's WMD, it's time to remove thisdangerous fool and his despicable regime.

Read Austin Bay's Latest Book

To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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