Release Date: November 20, 2002
Eric Margolis, c/o Editorial Department, The Toronto Sun
333 King St. East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3X5
Fax: (416) 960-4803 -- Press Contact: Eric Margolis

An Offer Saddam Can't Refuse

by Eric Margolis

A favorite terror technique of the Soviet secret police during the great purges of the 1930's was to arrest a suspect at 3am, and drag him into an interrogation room at the dreaded Lubyanka prison. A blank piece of paper and pencil were put on front of the trembling prisoner. `Write down each and every one of your crimes, and names of all your fellow conspirators,' warned NKVD interrogators. `We know everything you have done. If you omit even one crime in your confession, you and your entire family will be shot.'

The Bush Administration - behind the fig-leaf of UN inspectors - is using the same old Soviet technique on Iraq: `list all your hidden weapons of mass destruction (wmd's) and scientists who made them. Leave off even one site or name and we will immediately go to war against you.'

Iraq is being an impossible task: to prove a negative. Baghdad must show evidence it does not possess weapons of mass destruction. If the Bush Administration claims a particular site is used for wmd's, yet it does not appear on Baghdad's confession list, then Iraq, according to the US-written rules of this rigged game, has automatically committed a `material breach' of the UN resolution, and the US will attack.

Baghdad December 2002 Presidential Bunker #27

`Oh Saddam, Light of the Euphrates, Sword of Islam, Lord of BabylonÉ'

`Yes, yes, what is it, Gen. Hamid?'

`The Americans are insisting Dairy Plant #12 is a nerve gas production facility. It's not on our confession list.'

`Is it a nerve gas factory? I thought we only made nerve gas in baby food plants?"

`No, Oh Radiance of the Tigris, it's just a milk plant. But if the Americans don't find poison gas there they will claim we are lying and then start the war.'

`We can't have that. Quick, general, get some machines over there and begin making poison gas so we can admit we are guilty so the Americans won't attack. Do this by dawn or you will be demoted to private third class in my glorious Suicide Commandos.'


Baghdad, May, 2003. US II Corps Commander Lt Gen Delmar Creech to Military Governor of Iraq, General Tommy Franks. `Dear Franks of Mesopotamia (thought you'd like to know what the boys call you), we've searched this whole miserable little country high and low but can't find any weapons of mass destruction, except for a few old, rusted drums of stale mustard gas from the 1980's. My orders are to find wmd's. What should I do?

Franks to Creech. `Delmar, you squirrel-brained dimwit, if you can't find any wmd's, then make some. The Commander-in-Chief says Saddam's got 'em, you've got to prove him right, or you're on permanent latrine detail in Alaska. We invaded this camel farm because there were supposed to be wmd's hidden here. Do it like we use to make moonshine back home: just mix up some ol' chemicals that stink real bad - try floor wax remover, ammonia, anchovy paste and garlic powder - let'em marinate in the sun a few days, then call a press conference. Those dumb journalists won't know nerve gas from hair tonic.


`Oh Great Saddam, Second Saladin, Sword of the ArabsÉ' `Yes, yes, what is it now?' `Phone call from Carlyle Group in Washington.' `Isn't that the company owned by the Bush's and their Pentagon business cronies? `Yes, your sublime Iraqiness, it is.'

`Hello, President Saddam, this is Frank Carlucci, CEO of Carlyle Group. No, no, not Chief Espionage Officer, Chief Executive Officer. No, I'm not under federal indictment for stock fraud. No I'm not seeking asylum in Iraq.

`Listen, we've costed war against Iraq and it comes in around $200 billion. Now here's the deal. We'll buy you out of Iraq for $174 billion, half cash, half paper, with a $3 mil monthly retainer, use of our corporate jets, a Fifth Avenue coop apartment, fresh flowers daily, a secretarial staff, golf club memberships, and season tickets to the NY Mets.'

`I've checked with the White House. Take this deal and you'll be re-classified from Dangerous Dictator to Freedom-Loving Ally. You'll also get a genuine enameled American flag pin for your lapel to prove you're not an evil Muslim.'

`This is an offer you can't refuse, Mr. Saddam. As President Bush says, `you're either with us or against us.'

`I spit on your $174 billion. Do you take me for the Father of Fools? The net present value of our oil reserves is $6.8 trillion dollars. And didn't I just see the bullying villain in Walt Disney's cartoon `Beauty and Beast' use the same `with us or against us' line?'

`So what. The president has a wide range of interests. How about your own TV talk show, `Ask Saddam,' and a Miami Beach condo?'

`Now, you're talking. But who will run Iraq for you?

`We're hoping you will, as a senior consultant for Carlyle Group. After all, no one knows how to manage this crazy country better than you, Oh Light of the Fertile Crescent!'

`Throw in Kuwait, and you've got a deal!'

[Eric Margolis is a syndicated foreign affairs columnist and broadcaster, and author of War at the Top of the World - The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet which was reviewed in The Economist, May 13, 2000]

Copyright © 2002 Eric Margolis - All Rights Reserved
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