Saddam Hussein the Dictator of Iraq

  January 30, 2022   Read time 1 min
Saddam Hussein the Dictator of Iraq
Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, was known to his people by many names—the Anointed One, Glorious Leader, Direct Descendant of the Prophet, Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, field marshal of the armies, doctor of Iraq’s laws, and greatuncle to all of Iraq’s peoples.

In public, Saddam wore a general’s uniform decorated with medals and gold epaulets, even though he never served in Iraq’s armed forces. In his private life, he enjoyed living in his many homes and palaces, each with its own swimming pool—a sign of wealth and success in a desert country like Iraq. In fact, Saddam’s palace on an island in the Tigris River near Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, was adorned with gold doorknobs.

Fresh food was flown in for him twice a week. He ate lobster, shrimp, and fish. He made sure to get plenty of fruit, vegetables, and dairy products, too. His food was prepared for him by European chefs, after it had been x-rayed and tested for poison. Sadly, these luxuries were enjoyed in spite of a United Nations study in 1999 reported that thousands of Iraqi children were dying of malnutrition.

Saddam liked American literature, especially works by Ernest Hemingway like The Old Man and the Sea. He is even an author himself, and he found the time in recent years to write two romances—Zabibah and the King and The Fortified Castle. His 19-volume official biography was once required reading for Iraqi government officials.

In the evening, he liked to watch CNN, al-Jazeera (the Arabic cable station), and the BBC. He enjoyed movies about intrigue: The Day of the Jackal, The Conversation, Enemy of the State, and The Godfather. A six-hour movie about his own life was made, edited by Terence Young, best known for directing three James Bond films.

There were times, though, when things were not so good for the Anointed One. On the night of January 16, 1991, B-52 bombers took off from the United States carrying conventionally armed air-launched cruise missiles. It would take them 11 hours to reach Baghdad. More than 160 U.S. aerial tankers orbited outside Iraqi early-warning radar range and refueled hundreds of aircraft. Shifts of RC-135, U-2RI, and TR-1 reconnaissance aircraft maintained 24-hour orbits to provide intelligence coverage. Powerful radars probed deep into Iraq. U.S. crews watched their glowing screens for Iraqi reactions.