Long, tortuous summer goes on for Saddam

July 29, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

There seemed to be a mixture of pleasure and relief last week when we all learned that Qusai and Udai had ongay up the umeflay.

Yes, the Hussein boys with the pig Latin names no longer are among us and I don't know anyone who is displeased about that - except perhaps Marge Schott who might believe that they started out OK, but went too far. Those rascals.

I'm never one to revel in the demise of those I don't personally know, but it's very hard not to say good riddance to these two rapists, murderers and torturers. It's a true sign of just how bad they are that, even in The Herald-Mail newspaper, I can call them rapists, murders and torturers without adding "according to charging documents."

Yes, I'm sure there's a dual sociology/pre-law major at Brown or somewhere who believes they were victims, and perhaps this may touch off a few "nature vs. nurture" debates among those who discuss criminal culpability.


But even if your parents are Genghis and Sherry Khan, shouldn't there be some mechanism in your brain that says, "You know, torturing the national soccer team because they lost one-nil to Leeds United may not entirely be a positive."

I also love the way reports refer to Qusai as "the more stable one."

Mmm, I see. "Yeah, dis guy pours chemicals on his enemies, executes legions of political prisoners and tortures government dissenters, but you gotta keep your eye on the other one, cause he's craaaazy, man."

At least most papers add the caveat that Qusai is (was) stable, "relative to Udai." That's like saying William Perry is skinny, "relative to the Appalachian Mountains."

Udai and his goons would walk down the streets on "punishment runs," slicing out people's tongues. And that's according to the State Department, so you know it's solid. State's the honest one, right? Or am I thinking of the National Security Council? (Speaking of which, how would you like to be that NSC drone from sector 7-G they dredged up to take the fall for the president's State of the Union goof? What did he do, forget to plug in the coffee urn?)

And we are not in a forgiving mood. Cal Thomas writes: "The only downside is that they died more quickly than many of the victims of their atrocities. Hell has surely welcomed them with open, flaming arms. The family that kills together gets to burn together."

Yikes. Here's like the most Christian dude in the country, and his chief regret is that the two didn't have the opportunity to suffer before departing to that great iron maiden awaiting in the pits of the damned.

As if somehow he has this faint distrust in Satan to do a sufficient enough job without us mortals having first shot at their thumbnails. To truly believe that mankind can teach the devil a thing or two about the administration of agony is a black mark against mankind, in my opinion.

In any event, I hope there is some kind of Hell Supermax for these two. It strikes me as patently unfair that the Hussein thugs might receive no worse punishment than, say, a common man who simply has, from time to time, overdone it a wee bit on the swearing, drinking and carousing, not that I have anyone in particular in mind.

So all in all, it's been sort of a down summer for the Husseins. If he's still around in six months, I bet Saddam shant enjoy writing the family Christmas letter this year: "... but on the upside, since technically they died in combat, they do have those 76 virgins to look forward to."

I've always wondered how the virgins felt about that. Talk about bad luck. You live a godfearing, virtuous life and your reward is a choice between Mohammed Atta and Udai Hussein. They have to be wondering why Richard Gere never dies in a holy war.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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