Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Saddam Hussein execution– a 6-part starter kit for budding conspiracy theorists

Look, I’m not saying any of the events listed below happened. In fact, I can 100 percent guarantee (or your money back) that these things absolutely did not happen.

But any time you get anything so weird and brutal as an execution or an assassination, conspiracy theorists and truth deniers are likely to pop up like weeds in a cow plop-enriched pasture.

The truth? Feh! Truth doesn’t matter. Suspicion and an unfounded but insistent conviction that evil forces are at work behind the scenes are everything.

So let’s get right to it with Saddam Hussein, the execution, the cell phone videos, the whole ripe-for-conspiracy-theory shebang. Remember, if you can convince enough people that what you imagine is true, you get to write a book, go on well-paid speaking engagements, build a following or even become famous. So pay attention, folks. Here are some seedling conspiracy theories to hang your hat and your future on.

1. SADDAM ISN’T DEAD. THAT WAS HIS DOUBLE. Remember, before and just after we invaded Iraq, there were TV reports that public “appearances” by Saddam were actually appearances by somebody who looked like him? That’s the poor bastard who got hanged, while Saddam was being spirited out of the country so he can set up a regime/operation/insurgency (pick one or more) in exile.

The reason the room was so badly lighted and shaky cell phones were used instead of video cameras was so that we couldn’t get too clear a look at the hanging victim on the gallows or his corpse afterwards. Taunts against “Saddam” were created merely to throw us off course. Iraqui Baathists can use this theory to rally the troops. Rightist American wingnuts can also use it to convince us that the war has to go on forever because Saddam is still “out there.”

2. SADDAM ACTUALLY WAS HANGED, BUT ONLY AMERICANS WERE INVOLVED. This theory can be used to absolve any Islamist of any stripe – Shia or Sunni – from bearing the guilt. That’s the reason all the executioners wore masks – so we wouldn’t recognize the Yank hangmen. Umm, let’s expand this and call them hangmen and women. Or to be politically correct, hangpeople.

The shouted epithets in Arabic were really tape recorded days earlier on the streets of downtown Bagdad, between IED explosions. Some poor schnook of an Iraqui policeman will be arrested and falsely accused of the camera phone videos, to throw the world off the scent of America. He will end up occupying a cell in a prison – American run, of course – next to Lindy England’s cell.

3. NO NO, AMERICA DIDN’T DO IT. ISRAEL DID IT. You want proof? Well, they hanged Eichmann, didn’t they? And they had a motive because Saddam once fired missiles at Israel, sometimes with deadly effect. So what more evidence do you need? This is a handy one especially for Iranian heads of state whose names begin with the letter A, but also for Palestinians and other “anti-Zionists.” Another variation of this theory is that it was the Israelis acting in concert with the Americans. Take your pick.

4. SADDAM WAS HANGED – BUT BY SECRET AL QUIAIDA OPERATIVES EAGER TO INFLAME THE ARAB STREET. Once again, the hooded hangpeople are all the evidence you need. This theory can be used to absolve the United States for turning Saddam over for execution in the first place.

5. SADDAM HANGED HIMSELF – IN HIS OWN CLEVER VARIATION OF SUICIDE BOMBING MARTYRDOM. He figured, “Why rot in a cell when I can inflame the whole Arab world, certain political segments in Europe and who-knows-who-else by appearing to be a martyr? That’ll teach Bush to monkey with me! Forever after, I will be known as Saddam the Martyr and people will attack America in my name.”

Suicide bombing was of course out of the question while Saddam was held prisoner. But he bribed the judges and the courts and the police and everybody else to find him guilty and get him to the gallows on time so he could be a martyr quicker. This is a good one for Iraqis and Americans in search of absolution for the hanging.

6. THERE WAS NO HANGING. THE WHOLE THING WAS PHOTOSHOPPED BY A REALLY BAD RETOUCHER. Conspiracy theorists can review the videos under a microscope, do pixel-by-pixel analysis, and “discover” nearly invisible insets, erasures, a blackened-over klieg light and other “evidence” that the photos and movies are fakes. Why else does his head appear at a funny angle, twisted out of shape?

Over to the rest of you, fellow Conspiracy Theory-Mongers. Write your own theory, or feel free to embellish on mine. Remember, there’s no lie like a big lie.

Unless it’s a bigger one.


Buce said...

Brings to mind the meeting of Saddam body doubles, after reports that he had been killed in a bombing.

--The good news: he's still alive.

--The bad news: he lost an arm.

New York Crank said...


This just in from a reader, via e-mail:

"One more thing now that Hussein is dead: What happened to the multi-million dollar reward that was offered by the U.S. for information leading to his capture? Last I heard, we were reneging on it, stiffing the man who lead to the discovery of Saddam's spider hole."
--Richard, New York City

Sounds to me like the makings of another conspiracy theory, Richard. For example: "We hanged Saddam because he knew who turned him in, and we didn't want Saddam blabbing. Otherwise we'd actually have to pay the whistleblower, when we could instead use the money to line the pockets of those wonderful folks at Haliburton and Bechtel.
--The Crank