IF I WAS RUNNING SADDAM HUSSEIN’S TRIAL
Okay, everybody ready? Bring the defendants in.
“This court has no authority over me! I am the rightful ruler of –“
You rule an eight by twelve cell, buddy. Sit down and shut up or I’ll have you gagged. Now, the defense attorney has a concern?
“Your honor, my client is not being given enough to eat! Look at him, he’s wasting away, he –“
Bailiff, weigh the defendant.
“You can’t force me to be weighed! I’m the supreme authority –“
“He’s gained two pounds, your honor.”
Sounds like you’re the supreme authority on cheesecake, Saddam. You don’t get champagne and fish eggs anymore, now park your lard.
“I’m being mistreated by these American pigs! They’re torturing me!”
You’d know torture, wouldn’t you? Okay, fine – we’ll turn your prison over to the Iraqi authorities. Bailiff, go find ten or twelve Iraqi Kurds, if there are that many left who weren’t gassed, and put them in charge of Saddam’s security. Now, the Americans aren’t in charge of you – do you feel safer now, your royal painedness?
Let’s get on with it. Bring out the next witness.
“These people are my subjects, they can’t testify against me! You and your phony court have no authority to –“
“You got it, your honor.”
There. Mr. Hussein, if you have anything else to say, say it with your mouth shut.
Nice try. Mr. Prosecutor, did you have something to add?
“Your honor, I’d like permission to hide the identify of the witnesses behind screens, so they won’t be endangered.”
“That’s outrageous! President Hussein has the right to face his accusers!”
Fine, I’ll have a few thousand of them dug up and lined up outside his cell window. Does the defendant believe in ghosts?
Watch that language, Mr. Hussein. I’ll grant the screen; however, I’m denying the prosecution’s request that the witnesses be given a free throw with rotten vegetables. Just because the man won’t act with dignity doesn’t mean we should waste food.
Sure, if you insist, we’ll have it served to you for supper.
“Your honor, the first witness saw his entire family and home town tortured and wiped out because the community’s mayor passed gas while Saddam’s motorcade passed by.”
“But Judge, Saddam had nothing to do with that! He was far away when those events took place and, by the way, those events didn’t take place! It can’t be proven that he had anything to do with a single death while he was in power.”
So the buck never stopped with him, huh? I thought he was supposed to be the supreme authority in this country.
Yes, “buck”. It means you may be excused for not knowing when a water line breaks or a traffic light goes out, but if you’re in charge when innumerable men, women and children are tortured and killed, it’s kind of hard to believe nobody ever gave you a clue.
“Um, well, just the same, the prosecution will not be able to prove that Saddam had any connection with the alleged deaths.”
Alleged. Okay. Mr. Prosecutor, how many witnesses to alleged acts in Iraq are on your witness list?
“Three hundred fourty-two thousand and sixty-three, your honor.”
And how many of them claim to be able to connect high officials in Saddam’s administration to the alleged acts?
“Seventy-three thousand, four hundred and five.”
And who was in charge of Iraq when these alleged acts were allegedly done?
Well, I haven’t seen such a six degree of separation thing since Kevin Bacon.
“Still, there is no proof of responsibility –“
No responsibility? Not with the hundreds who died in missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and Israel? Not with the thousands of Kurds who were massacred because they dared to stand up to him? Not with the tens of thousands who died after he invaded Kuwait? Not with the hundreds of thousands killed as a result of the Iran-Iraq war? You know what, Mr. Hussein – you’re right.
Yes, you are. This is an unjust court. The just thing to do would have been to gather the friends and relatives of all your victims into a big circle, and put you into the middle of it. But I’m just a judge – sometimes I have to do what’s legal, rather than what’s obvious and right.
So I am going to make sure of one thing: Everyone is going to have their say. Everyone is going to be heard, no matter what legal maneuverings your defense team does, and no matter how much of a fool you make of yourself. If you yell, I’ll gag you; if you fight, I’ll cuff you; if you so much as roll your eyes, I’ll put you in a corner with a dunce cap on your head. You’re had decades to do what you want – now it’s the time of the Iraqi people to tell you what they think of those decades. Any questions from the defense?
“Um … could we request a delay?”
Request denied. It’s time to move on.