February 27, 2003

Yo, Saddam. . . Debate

Yo, Saddam. . . Debate This!

Apparently, there are some people out there, presumed to be living in a doped up world of la-la land, who actually think a debate between Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush would actually accomplish something. To those people I ask, "How much dumber are you willing to allow yourself to be?" Simply because Dan Rather glommed onto the only intelligible piece of nonsense from his much-hyped interview with Hussein doesn't mean the Iraqi dictator intends to do anything but stall even further.

And, even if Hussein is serious, let's put his offer into context by looking at how the Hussein/Rather interview was conducted. If this is the standard Iraqi practice for conducting Hussein interviews, I ask you, in all seriousness, if it makes any sense at all to put Bush and Saddam up against each other in what amounts to a political version of really bad reality TV.

(CBS) This interview was taped on February 24, 2003, by Iraqi TV crews, as is standard practice for Hussein, and the Iraqis delivered a tape that combined all three cameras into one composite feed. However, as far as we can determine, the content of the interview is intact. There are places in the tape where two people are talking at once and there are repetitions. This is a transcript of that composite tape and we apologize if it is confusing in places.

In places? This whole freaking interview is one giant jumble of "what the fuck?" But, don't take my word for it:

Rather: I want to ask questions in two categories, please. Category one would be those questions that I think many, if not most, of Americans would like to have answered about the news of right now. And in category two, more philosophical questions.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: The news are with you. News are almost (UNINTEL) (Editor's Note: "UNINTEL" refers to a sound or word that the transcriber finds unintelligible.) different way. But the facts news are there, with you.

Makes perfect sense to me. "Luke, the news are with you. I am your father." Is this how a Bush/Hussein debate would start, with a jumbled mess of unintelligible garbage? And remember, this is the content after CBS did it's damndest to translate and piece together what the Iraqis ALLOWED CBS to have. Can you imagine what the Iraqi people were allowed to see? But, let's continue:

Rather: Mr. President, do you intend to destroy the Al-Samoud missiles that the United Nations prohibits? Will you destroy those missiles?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: We have committed ourselves to Resolution. We're implementing that resolution in accordance with what the United Nations wants us to do. It is on this basis that we have conducted ourselves, and it is on this basis that we will continue to behave. As you know, it a-- is allowed to produce - r- r- land-land rockets, with a range of up to 150 kilometers. And we are committed to that.

Rather: I want to make sure that I understand, Mr. President. So, you do not intend to destroy these missiles?

If Rather can't even understand what the heck is going on, what the hell chance do we run-of-the-mill Americans have? But aside from that, we also see how Saddam avoided the question all together, saying that Iraq is working for compliance while sidestepping the obvious question about destroying missiles.

Rather: Mr. President, I do appreciate your agreeing to spend an hour, because I want to ask questions in two categories, please.

What just happened? A skip in the tape, and all of a sudden Rather is thanking Saddam for his time? What about the missile question?

Rather: So, you do not intend to destroy these missiles?

Okay, I guess we're back. But, really, WTF?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Which is that? Which missiles are you talking about? We do not have missiles that go beyond the prescribed ranges, by the…U.N. The inspection teams have been here. They have inspected every place. And if there is a question to that effect, I think the question should be addressed to them.

What? If I understand correctly, instead of asking Saddam Hussein about his own weapons, Dan Rather should be asking the weapons inspectors. Apparently, it's just too much for the Iraqi dictator to remember all the trucks he's had loaded with WMD and carted around the country. So, please, ask the inspectors.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: I think the United States and the world also knows that there is - I think the U.S. and the world know that Iraq is - no longer has the (UNINTEL)-- weapons. And--

Translator For Saddam Hussein: You have started your questions with the sort of (UNINTEL) and (UNINTEL), but not with the - However, you're free to (UNINTEL) whichever way you'd like.

Well, if you're free to UNINTELL and UNINTELL, then by all UNINTELL, go ahead and UNINTELL. This reminds me of the Smurfs, where everything was a smurf or just smurfy.

Rather: B--

Translator For Saddam Hussein: May I translate?

Rather: Yes, please.

At this point, I think, the translator must have realized that he was abou four hours away from a freshly slit throat, so he started translating out of his ass.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Thank you. The President says, the United States - the world - knows that there is nothing in Iraq of… whatever the noise has been made about. And I believe that that noise and the fleets that have been brought around and the mobilization that's been done were, in fact, done partly to cover the huge lie that was being waged against Iraq about chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Oh, THAT noise.

And it was on that basis that Iraq actually accepted Resolution - accepted it, even though Iraq was absolutely certain that what it had said, what the Iraqi officials…had kept saying, that… Iraq was empty, was void of any such weapons, was the case. But Iraq accepted that resolution… in order not to allow any misinterpretation of its position.

And, indeed, in order to make the case absolutely clear that Iraq was no longer in possession of any such…weapons. Iraq accepted to agree to deal with that resolution. That is why, when you talk about such missiles, these missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations in Iraq.

Well, except for those pesky missiles the inspectors accidently turned up awhile back that were designed to carry chemical warheads. How DID they miss those?

These missiles were des - missiles that were proscribed - have been destroyed and are no longer there.

Thank Allah for swift moving trucks staying one step ahead of inspectors.

Rather: What do you consider to be the core issues? You said that I had started - and indeed, I started with the news of the day. But what do you consider to be the core issue, the basic issue?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: In all divine religions, god, the Almighty, has reiterated to man in all his Holy Books and to humanity, in general, that there are two basic, most important things in life, that is, after the issue of the creation and of the issue of faith.

These two important things are food and peace. This is in Islam, this is also in Christianity and in all the other religions. So, the most important thing for man in his life and the preservation of his life and preservation of the lives of others is to establish peace and security for himself and, through that, his right to life.

Not only to obtain food, but also to obtain - to insure peace, and so that man can exercise his right in life and exercise his role towards others in the same way as he would like others to exercise their roles.

Food and peace? Can you imagine if, in our Constitution, instead of the pursuit of "Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness," the framers had opted for "Food and Peace?" Kind of leaves a lot of room for translation, to say nothing of torture and fear and summary execution. I get a kick out of the variation of the golden rule at the end there. So, how, I wonder, does Saddam validate his invasion of Kuwait. Was he exercising his role towards Kuwait in the same way as he wanted Kuwait to exercise its role? I wonder.

Rather: Mr. President, do you expect to be attacked by an American-led invasion?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: We hope that the attack will not take place. But we are bracing ourselves to meet such an attack, to face it. I'm sure you've observed the general life in Iraq. You've been here for a few days now. We hope that such a possibility doesn't take place, but you've been here. You've been here for a few days, and you've seen how the people live. They live normally. They get married. They establish relationships. They visit each other. They visit their neighbors.

They get arrested. They get tortured. They watch their loved ones get tortured. They get gassed. They die by the thousands during Saddam's reign, with the death toll numbering over one million so far.

They travel around Iraq. They are enjoying life in the manner that life is provided. But at the same time, they also hear the news…because the officials in the United States keep talking about attacking Iraq, about the possibility of attacking Iraq, which is why the people are in Iraq, which is only natural - that they get prepared for such a possibility.

Even though, God Almighty invites us…and we hope that -- we pray to him that -- the Americans will refrain from such an eventuality -- to avoid both the Americans -- to spare the Americans from committing such a mistake -- and also to spare Iraq and the Iraqi people from being involved in such an experience. And those who would like to ride the bandwagon of evil, it's up to them.

Just for the record, I'd love to see a parade featuring a float entitled, "The Bandwagon of Evil." I think a good Wagner tune would complement that nicely.

Rather: Are you afraid of being killed or captured?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Whatever Allah decides. We are believers. We believe in what he decides. There is no value for any life without imam, without faith. The believers, while taking caution and care and trying to veer out and avoid any dangers and any traps that may be prepared by his enemies, in order not to fall on them, the believer still believes that what God decides is acceptable.

Of course, it helps if you have loyal bodyguards, an arsenal of personal weaponry, and you haven't actually appeared in public for over five years, but, overall, the will of Allah prevails.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: When we were--

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Bear with me. I - my - my answers are (UNINTEL) long.

Rather: Mr. President, I have all night. (LAUGHTER)

Nothing like a good belly laugh with a despotic dictator to ease tensions.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: When we were young, ordinary people in… Iraq, before, the Iraqi people had suffered a lot of deprivation and backwardness. People did not even find - many people did not even find.

Male Voice: Are you satisfied with translation?

Because, you know, if you're not, we could have him killed or something.

Rather: Yes, no, the translation is excellent. It's superb.

And now for a butt-load of patting himself on the back.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Did you - people - generally did not even find - shoes to wear, in those days. And - people in the countryside were deprived of most essential things in life. And people even in the city were deprived of the most basic - requirements for a decent life. For a simple life.

We, those days, decided to place ourselves to the service of our people, and I'm not going to indulge in a story about what we did for our people and the sacrifices that we made and the dangers that we went through in order to insure for our people the dignity that our people deserve, because this is a story well known, and I am not going to indulge into that.

But in those days, we did not ask the question whether we were going to live or die, but we simply relied on Allah and we moved ahead. We relied on God because we decided that what Allah brought will be acceptable.

The important thing, the basic thing, is that whatever Allah accepts will be in the service of the people and now, after having achieved all this march, having reached what we have reached, now we've become leaders of the country. Some of my comrades are ministers and vice presidents and the rest. We're not going to ask ourselves now whether we should change our course or whether we should ask about life and death.

MALE VOICE: It's morally unacceptable to ask such a question.

It's morally unacceptable? So much for freedom of speech, even for Saddam Hussein apparently.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: How could we ask such a question when we, basically, as freedom fighters, did not ask it at the beginning? The people accepted us and accepted the fact of our revolution and the principles of our revolution, and they have committed themselves to them. And I do not believe that any officials in this place now should ask a question whether he's going to live or die.

The question should be how deeply in strength he remains to his commitment to the people, to the basic principles from which we proceeded. And whatever the will of God is, then the will of God will be there. Nothing is going to change the will of God.

Male Voice: (UNINTEL) to- to the - Iraqi people, and humanity in general, also.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

There's much, much more, and you can read it all here. There's some interesting tidbits about Osama bin Laden and Al Queda.

But, in my mind, Hussein would have nothing more to say in a Bush/Hussein debate than he did with Dan Rather. He's simply trying to saddle himself with protestors who are too incensed about war, and too lazy to do research about how repugnant Saddam actually is. He knows this is his final hour (hopefully) and he knows the Bush administration will call his bluff at every turn. His time has come and gone, and there's no room for additional debate.

Posted by Ryan at February 27, 2003 03:28 PM
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