Hi Saddam,

You don't know me, and we've never met but I felt it was really only right and proper that I should write to you at this time. I know, I know, you've got a lot on your mind at present and I hope this doesn't distract you from anything too important.

I've been taking a bit of a hard look at your history and that of your regime in Iraq, and I've been comparing that with the arguments we've all been hearing about how you need to be removed, and, well, here's what it all boils down to.

You've been leader of Iraq for what, 30 years? Since July 1979, apparently. Now, I think that's quite a long time, but I'm not suggesting that you should simply decide it's someone else's turn or anything.

They - that is, the US and UK governments keep telling us that you're a monstrous dictator and there's plenty of evidence to back that up.

  • You did go to war with Iran.
  • You did gas a whole lot of Kurds way back in 1988.
  • You did (and probably still do) have a lot of your people "disappeared".
  • You did invade Kuwait.
  • You did ruthlessly purge your own party and pretty much put the lid on any kind of democracy in Iraq.

That's all true. However, I've noticed that there's quite a lot of background to a lot of these things that they don't tell us. In order, then:

  • The CIA not only advised you and directed your attacks against Iran (because they were pissed off over losing the Shah), they actually paid you and supplied you.
  • You don't appear to do anything internally that we haven't actively supported you in. Oh, and we actively supported a whole lot of other people doing those things too. Manuel Noriega, Augusto Pinochet, a whole string of Indonesian presidents, basically it seems standard practise for (if you'll excuse the phrase) tinpot dictators and we're used to that.
  • Prior to 1991, you'd been making a lot of noises about reclaiming Kuwait (I personally keep thinking along the lines of rivalry over Gibraltar, it helps me keep track) and you'd been told you could bite off a chunk of it. You got greedy and took it all. Your bad.
  • As for internal politics, we trade with China and they're much worse on that score, both on scale and on level of atrocity.
  • You've done nothing to the Kurds that our Turkish "allies" don't do all the time - ie kill them. Your methods may be nastier but that's a matter of taste, the effect is the same.

But wait, you see, there's more. I don't know how much you keep up with the Western news agencies (probably not all that much at the moment, I expect) but here's what else they've said about you.

I doubt if you're actively building much of anything right now, except maybe bomb-shelters, but obviously i can't speak with much certainty about what was going on before "we" decided to attack you. Mohammed al-Baradei says you have no nuclear capability and were not building any, though, and that's an impartial guy who knows whereof he speaks.

Hans Blix and his guys found some empty shell-casings. Colin Powell showed the world a dodgy powerpoint presentation about how you could be building things on trains and in trucks which is okay in so far as it goes but a) you don't have access to the mobile technologies required - miniaturisation requiring in a lot in the way of very specialised chip design, etc - and b) I could have the Koh-i-Noor up my arse. I just haven't. Anyone could be anything, this is why we have the concept of proof. At least, we do here. At least, we used to. You certainly used to have these weapons. We know. We still have our copies of the invoices.

I don't accept that you're a threat to the rest of the world. To be quite frank, Saddam old son, the rest of the world has been watching you like a fucking hawk for twelve years now. If you fart, we know about it. Difficult to be threatening in that situation. In fact, you're so closely observed along with your whole country (24x7 satellite surveillance is the new black, apparently) that if you had weapons of mass destruction we'd know what colour they were before you ever managed to aim the damn' things.

The last one is just unbelievable. Al-Qaeda - that's Osama's lot - have tried to assassinate you at least twice. You're a closet atheist. Or rather, you're a Saddamist and Mohammed isn't your prophet which puts you on slightly dodgy ground with the Great Beardie Weirdie himself. By the way, is it just me or do you think he looks like Jesus as well? Ask your deputy Prime Minister, he's a Christian. Oh, Osama wouldn't like that either, would he? Infidel-hood by association, I expect.

So, there you have it. You've put me in an awkward position. If only you were a threat, I'd be fine with my country launching unprovoked attacks on your pathetically starved, juvenile and mostly helpless civilians. Maybe.

If only you were as bad as they've made you out to be I'd support your downfall and doom. Whereas in fact, you've won education awards from UNESCO and distributed free fridges with your oil money. You piped water, built roads, improved sanitation and did any number of things that General Musharraf never has, but we love him, don't we? And he's definitely got nukes. Maybe that's why we love him.

No, I think what you did wrong was threefold. You embarrassed the American President's daddy and his friends, you looked like a soft target after all these years of sanctions, and you had lots of oil reserves.

Now, George W Bush needs a war. It's the only way anyone would ever elect him - I nearly said "re-elect" then but we know better than that, I think - what with the economic bubble having burst and Enron and WorldCom and all the rest of it. Does Osama bin Laden moonlight for Andersen Consulting, do you know? Anyway, you're it. It'll probably be Syria or Iran next because they don't think you'll last long enough to keep up the momentum before the next US elections. So, that's why they're attacking you, I think.

It's a cynical unprovoked assault on a sovereign nation state, unauthorized by the United Nations and condemned by very significant portions of the electorate of the countries involved in the attack.

Damn you for making me take your side. You really do suck. You really are a tyrant, you really are a megalomaniac, you really deserve everything you get and damn us for doing this all the wrong way.

Having got that off my chest, we must look to the future. A United Nations which exists merely as the US's rubberstamp. Illegal invasions of any perceived threatening nation. An endless, unwinnable "War Against Terror" and the restrictions on our lives and liberties that that entails. If we win.

It has slowly dawned on me that this is a war we cannot actually afford to win. You have to. So, I am going to tell you how. I do not for a second expect that I am the first person to mention these things to you. You are many things, but nobody has ever said you were incapable or stupid. Far from it. But just in case, I shall reiterate them here.

  1. You have no hope on open ground.
    You have no hope where your soldiers are recognisable as such. Get them out of uniform.
  2. Place them in the cities.
    You need to prevent that bombing and there's only one way to do that. Put your garrisons in schools, mosques, churches, synagogues, put them in hospitals, universities, orphanages and in ancient monuments.
  3. Go VietCong.
    Watch every movie and read every book you can lay hands on concerning the Vietnam war. You need to turn this into a guerrilla action.
  4. Get lightly armed and mobile
    Dump your tanks, they're useless. Dump your missiles, they pinpoint your location. Go with the classic AK-47 (it's indestructible) and a bandolier of grenades on every soldier.
  5. Foment as much nationalist, anti-western sentiment as you can.
  6. If you can, recruit ex-Taliban or other veterans of the Afghanistan debacle. A superpower can be beaten. There's your example.

But please, for the sake of all of us in the rest of the world, please win. Or else we have no hope of ever getting rid of people like you without becoming people like you.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Bryant

    A couple of Notes for Readers Without Enormous Thick Black Moustaches

A couple of people have sent me /msgs saying stuff along the lines of "I'm sorry, you need to do more research. You're misinformed".

The answer to that is "No, anyone who watches the News (especially Fox News) is misinformed. I've done my research. Now do yours."

Others have said "You want all our brave boys to die! Evil! Evil!" or words to that effect. No, actually i don't. I want (in the words of Mark Thomas) "the troops out of Iraq and back on Blue Peter where they belong". Or in US terms back in the Land of the Free finding out exactly how much freedom they have left after the PATRIOT Act sinks in. Oh, and I want all the black ones voting in Florida if they think they can.

Oh, and one more list.

Given that these three facts demonstrate an immense false presumption in the writeup below, how much of the rest of it can possibly be reliable?

"Soft white hands". Heh.

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