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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's megalomaniacal goal.

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

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

"The antiwar demonstrations across the world reflect a new chapter in the global balance of power," Babel's blood-soaked propagandists opined. "Everyone has noted that a new multipolar world is emerging. Iraq, with its oil, its resistance, its wise leaders and its strategic vision is an 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 Royal Cultural Center in Amman, Jordan. His speech that day is typical Saddam, a foul mix of shrewdness, Fascist-inspired Baath Party rhetoric and utter blindness. It's also one of the few windows to Saddam's strategic assessments prior to the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The shrewdness and blindness it displays, as well as the megalomania, remain relevant.

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

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

That change was the end of the Cold War (November 1989). Saddam continued with a rambling suggestion that America was "fatigued" and would fade, but "throughout the next five years," the United States would be unrestricted.

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 States entailed 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," Saddam said, "does not become big nor does the great earn such a description unless he is in the arena of comparison or fighting with someone else on a different level." (Translation: If a minor-leaguer wants to move up, he takes on the majors.)

Saddam has proclaimed himself the new Nebuchadnezzar, the next Saladin, the heir of Hammurabi. (Check your history books -- they're Mesopotamian big-leaguers.)

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

Frustrated leftists (Marxist fundamentalists who know Old Karl couldn't be wrong) and the usual bevy of malcontents jealous of American success (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. He concluded taking Kuwait would mean he'd set the global price of oil, and thus put him in the Bigs. Desert Storm checked him. U.N. weapons sanctions were a further check, for in Saddam's estimate, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are another means of reaching the Bigs. Little men with such weapons can menace continents.

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

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

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