Whither Saddam?

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead. Oh, Wait, No, He's Not. Sorry. Soon Though. Promise. And Repeat.

Every generation has its seminal memory. That indelible instant that defines us Americans and the change about to affect our times in one solitary frozen moment. 9/11, of course, is the ultimate. For my parents, the big one was "where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked?" For us Baby Boomers it was the moon landing and, "where were you when Kennedy was shot?" To which the correct response is "which Kennedy?" For Gen-Xers, it's "when Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire and he screamed 'Tito, Tito' like a castrated lamb?" And in these ever increasing days of chaos, I'm confident I will experience many more.

For instance, I'll never forget where I was when I heard the US had killed Saddam Hussein. March 20th, headed south on a country road on the way to a gig in Charlottesville, Virginia. The newscaster proudly chirps, "Pentagon officials confirm: Saddam Hussein is dead." That was the first time I heard the US had killed Saddam Hussein. The second time I heard the US had killed Saddam Hussein was April 7th. I was watching CNN over a plate of Penne Pollo Carbonara at the Daily Grill on 16th and M streets in D.C.. Memories I will cherish the rest of my life, and the best part is: I'm not done. No, not even close. It's going to happen again, and again and again. Maybe a couple dozen times. I envision it as one of the greatest running memories of my life. "Ding Dong, the witch is dead. Oh, wait, no, he's not. Sorry. Soon though. Promise." And repeat.

According to evidence recently obtained by American Intelligence Agencies, (and hasn't that turned into a deliciously ridiculous phrase recently?) Saddam is still alive and bouncing around the borders of Syria and Iraq like a flesh covered pinball. Uday and Qusay too. Torn between hiding and clandestinely sizing up unsuspecting soccer teams to manage and torture, I'm sure. One source of this new information is Abid Hamad Mahmoud al-Tikriti, who was Saddam's top aid and ranked behind only Saddam and his sons in regime importance. Ranked. Makes it sound like these guys are seeded and about to take Center Court to face each other in the International Bad Guys Open Senior Doubles Tournament.

Mahmoud's information is considered credible even though I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him mainly because he favors Hussein physically, albeit younger and smilier. And I'm sure this isn't what you call your politically correct, but has anybody else noticed, every male in that entire country looks exactly like Saddam, not to mention a few of the women. Now call me naive, but that's something I would assume might prove to make him that much harder to detect. Like being in Memphis on Elvis' Birthday, when everyone in the entire 901 area code resembles the King. Early, late, skinny, fat. Including his famous "Sideburns down to his knees and pregnant wearing a tank top" period.

As it turns out, its the same deal with Chemical Ali. Apparently he's not dead either. You heard of the Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight? We got the Military that Couldn't Program Their Smart Bombs to Fall Straight. And forgive me for sidetracking here, but how the hell do these people get these nicknames? Chemical Ali. Dr. Germ. Velvet Fog. The Butcher of Baghdad. Surely these aren't holdovers from playground days. "I'll tell you one thing, that little Assboil of Akaba is going to grow up to be quite a handful." And are they aware of the nickname? Or do they stumble upon it by accident. You know, reading the Sunday Times in bed with coffee, Danish and your sweetie. Come across this article about this heinous excuse for a human "Ali Hassan Al-Magid hey, wait a minute. That's me! I'm Chemical Ali? Cool. Honey, look." Cuz everybody knows, the ladies love the nicknames. From now on, just call me, Will "The Hammer of Doubt" Durst.

But not Negative Nellie. I'm sure we'll eventually find the Hussein Boys, the same way we eventually found bin Laden. Oh, wait, bad analogy. And I understand it's got to be awfully hard on our troops with them already focused on finding those darned elusive Weapons of Mass Destruction. Hey, there's an idea, maybe when we dig up those WMDs, we'll dig up Saddam & Sons at the same time. 4 birds under one rock. Quick, somebody call Haliburton, and tell them we're amending Plan B.

The Hammer of Doubt is appearing at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 1st.


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