It's Official: Saddam Wins!
"Mosul Mick" Mosher, April 1st
BAGHDAD, APRIL FIRST (PoliSci Fiction News Service)-- Many are suprised that Iraq's election has led to Saddam Hussein as Prime Minister, but few have watched the process unfold longer and more closely than US Army Captain William X. "Billy" Baathgate, 35. The plain-spoken and thoughtful soldier from Rustbelt Rapids, Michigan has served as Saddam's bodyguard and driver throughout the tumultuous Iraqi election campaign. "Saddam's a cruel sonuvabitch and a lot of people here hate him, but the American forces realized if this election was going to be truly democratic, we had to let him travel around Iraq campaigning too."
Despite the dangers usually faced by US Army vehicles, Saddam's poster-plastered campaign Hummer drove around Iraq unmolested, usually followed by an Al-Jazeera uplink truck and camera team. At every stop there are messages from former Baathists sending regrets for being "occupied with duties elsewhere". Sometimes tomatoes were thrown by survivors of families who had members killed or imprisoned by Saddam's regime. Surprisingly, in Kurdish regions, Saddam's gotten a reception more politely indifferent than hostile. "He'd as soon gas the Kurds as he would the Iranians--and he did!--but the Kurds figure he's the devil they know, who pretty much kept his hands off them after the first Gulf War."
Saddam's campaign has gotten a boost from Cheb Abd East Falloojah's song "He Shot Missles Into Israel and Will Again", its western-style dance beat throbbing from radios at every whistle stop. Capt. Baathgate doesn't like the track, for he has cousins who write software in Haifa. "When I asked Saddam about it, he shrugged 'Hey, that's my last shred of cred on the Arab street."
Yet, as Baathgate explains, it wasn't Arab votes that put Saddam over the top this week. No sooner had US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice opined that the nation of warring ethnicities and sects needed "a Tito-like strongman" to unify it, than she immediately realized that's exactly what they had in Saddam Hussein before the US-led invasion. As the Shi'ite-dominated Parliament debated among its factions and power brokers, something became frighteningly clear to Karl Rove back in Washington: President Bush's devout Christian supporters might desert the Republican Party if they became angered to learn their sons and daughters had died to establish the Holy Islamic Republic of Iraq. Consequently, Rove and the White House decided that the secular Saddam was the lesser evil, and a man with whom--as in the 1980s--they could do business.
Following a swearing-in ceremony in Baghdad, Saddam was flown this week to Washington for briefing and an official reception. Though little noted by American commentators, Saddam's quip at the White House is considered hilarious throughout the middle east and south Asia, and is now ubiquitous on Al-Jazeera TV and many websites. Iraq's new but familiar-faced Prime Minister wished President Bush "a long lifetime of good health, and the same to Mrs. Bush and your lovely daughters Uday and Qusay." At this, Captain Baathgate shakes his head, for "That's their sense of humor over there. Somehow, through it all, I sort of thought ol' Saddam would have the last laugh."
Mosher aspires to the job of Iraq's Minister of Satire, or until then, Bad Subjects'.