Babies Bite Back: The Ballad of Uday and Qusay
By Leilla Matsui
The Bush administration may be crowing publicly over their
spectacularly botched raid on the lair of Saddam's lion cubs
Uday and Qusay Hussein during Operation Kill'em, Shoot'em
and then Shoot 'em up Real Good all over again. But the recent
release of gruesome footage displaying the bloated and stitched-up
remains of the deposed Iraqi leader's unpopular sons has made
it obvious that the Pentagon's victory yodels still ring as
hollow as the collective cranial voids that hatched this plan
in the first place.
Uday and Qusay's bullet-riddled corpses - the crown jewels
of the carnage - were meant to serve as powerful symbols of
the US's humanitarian aims in bringing about democracy to
Iraq. Instead, the images seem to be reflecting the Dorian
Grey truth behind the group portrait of team George W.
In typical Marvel comic fashion, the neo-con hawks went
for the big kaboom overkill - laying waste not only to Uday
and Qusay Hussein but the administration's unravelling-by-the-second
justification for the latest invasion of Iraq. In case you
don't remember, this was all about weapons of mass-you-know-what;
the very things that were meant to bring about Armageddon
in the time that it takes Tony to satisfy, or at least, impregnate
Cheri Blair. If anyone knew anything about the inner workings
of Saddam Hussein's cavernous sanctum, it would have been
the fanged and whiskery offspring of the Baghdad Lion King
himself. After all, who else would have had the master keys
to the Hussein clan's liquor cabinet, not to mention the invisible-ink-drawn
maps leading to all those bio-weapons labs?
The dwindling number of Americans who actually believe that
these deadly programs really do exist must be scratching their
heads by now over the Bush administration's latest act of
self-immolation. It would seem that the appointed president
has cut off his proverbial penis to spite his proverbial testicles
(a shame, really when you think about how buff they looked
bulging out of his flight suit.) Still, it doesn't take a
dickless wonder to connect the dots and reveal the tortured
logic behind the administration's latest bungling.
The neo-con hawks who perch on the shoulders of puppet generals
have splattered their poop all over the war plans in a desperate
bid to conceal their part in financing and generally supporting
the regime of their former head prefect, Saddam Hussein. What
else could explain 200 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division
blasting their way into the house where Uday and Qusay H.
were holed up (with presumably only a bottle of scotch and
a Penthouse centerfold for company) and the orders that were
given to silence the pair with bullets? Surely, there must
have been a more cost effective and less collaterally damaging
way of making these two cough up the missing yellowcake.
The Bushies, contrary to the village idiot visage of their
leader, are extremely well-versed in the tactics of promoting
illiteracy to educate the public. Since the start of his reign,
George the Second has relied on the power of visual language
to convey his agenda in the stark terms of black and white,
good vs. evil as if his policies were divined from Power Rangers
reruns on the Cartoon Network.
First it was the statue - the bronzed look-a-like of Saddam
Hussein pledging his allegiance to his former bosses, and
the endlessly looped footage of the 24-hour topple-ganza that
followed, as the ousted leader's likeness was given the heave-ho
off its pedestal. After doing their own number crunching,
Rupert Murdoch's rivals came to this conclusion: Americans
prefer the Tom and Jerry-esque hijinks of clear cut villains
and heroes to the more sedate format of word driven analysis.
They also seem to have an undiminished appetite for the sight
of rented Kurdish dancers waving their shoes around. The simplistic
narratives laid out by this administration continue to be
whittled down to porno-flick standards of plotline by the
media outlets who are undoubtedly delighted by soundbites
they can package to look like the trailers for a Daredevil
Saving Private Jessica the Vampire Slayer from the humanitarian
aid of her Iraqi doctors was the next phase of Operation Create
a Hollywood Blockbuster from a Botched and Bungled Military
Exercise of Monumental Inconsequence. The visuals to back
up the military's claims that they had performed a feat of
unrivalled heroism by storming a hospital ward where the friendly
staff were waiting to hand over their patient were, unfortunately,
Surprisingly few people have raised an eyebrow over the
latest administration claims to have the dirty Polaroid proof
of the Hussein brother's bacchanels, which according to the
latest reports, had them feeding their enemies, Gladiator-style,
to caged and snack-deprived lions. Notice how the debauchery
mercury always shoots up into the stratosphere whenever public
support of the US's kill-'em-first-and-ask-questions-later
policies show signs of flagging. This is not to say that the
dim-bulb duo were undeserving of their fate as fertilizer.
One look at their art collection was enough to know that their
crimes against interior decorating were legendary.
A surplus of cynicism is perhaps justified here; especially
if you consider the fictitiously tiny victims of Saddam Hussein's
rampaging armies in Kuwait 12 years ago. While Uday and Qusay's
impaled heads are making the rounds of Baghdad via closed
circuit television, those tube-feeding Kuwaiti babies-in-a-bubble
keep rearing their non-existent and ugly little heads.
In 1991, Incubator Babies (IB's) were like WMD's - a reductive
term used to describe things that don't even exist. It might
be necessary to go back and dust the cobwebs off Bush One's
lexicon of lies: Flagrantly Filthy Fibbing Factoids - Volume
One to refresh one's memory of the most blood-chilling chapter
of the first Gulf War. I'm talking, of course about the one
that never even took place.
Public outrage over Incubator Babies went into full throttle
in the months leading up to the first Gulf War after a Kuwaiti
nurse identified only as "Nayirah" appeared before a congressional
committee on October 10th, 1990 claiming to have seen the
helpless creatures torn from their tubings and tossed out
of their incubators during a looting rampage by Iraqi soldiers.
Fewer still seem to remember the disclaimer imbedded in the
fine print some years later when it was revealed that the
'nurse' was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador
to the United States who had agreed to take on the weepy role
of the heroine. Needless to say, the budding star had never
even set foot inside the hospital where this was all meant
to have taken place.
The Kuwaiti government-in-exile, in cahoots with the US
administration, had enlisted the well-connected and funded
PR firm Hill & Knowlton to launch a $10.7 million PR blitz
aimed at rousing something more than the tepid response Americans
were giving to the Kuwait crisis before Congress finally authorized
the use of force on January 29th. Of course, it was merely
a coincidence that the President of Hill & Knowlton was none
other the senior Bush's chief of staff when he was Ronald
No one could argue against infants, the Masterminds reasoned
correctly, and thus the plot to hatch Incubator Babies went
into motion, triggering the predictable outbursts of rage
and indignation against Iraq's latest breach of human decency.
Up until then, the sufferings of Kuwaitis had failed to stir
much public sympathy. American taxpayers were justifiably
skeptical about a country founded on the opulently non-Democratic
principles of a dynasty suddenly needing their money to bail
them out of a crisis. It seemed an awful lot to fork over
just so a few indolent tyrants could maintain their Gulfstreams
and golf courses.
Incubator Babies seized the headlines and airwaves, thanks
to Hill & Knowlton's skillful manipulations which included
the coached testimony of false witnesses before the UN. The
US went on to make their case for war before the Security
Council with the visual aid of an H&K produced video featuring
more damning evidence of Iraqi atrocites. Then, as now, journalists,
anxious to seize upon something they could 'sex up' into a
front-page feature, ran with it, not even bothering to substantiate
any of these claims on their own. Now, as then, the media
is only too willing to dispense with the grunt work of raising
an eyebrow, opting instead for the less-labor intensive option
of taking dictation.
For Gulf War Two - The Sequel, the junior-league Bushies
have Viagra-tized yet another flagging Imperial campaign with
even cruder voodoo props than the previous George-led administration.
The shrunken-to-fit heads of Uday and Qusay on closed circuit
television is just the latest installment in a series of hack
and paste story boards embellished with blood and chicken
feathers; by-products of the violently puritanical impulses
of America's ruling elite.
This time the Bushies have pulled out all the stops to construct
a narrative that plays on the naive yearnings of the soft
and dimply bums that settle themselves into Cineplex seats
waiting for the celluloid-based steroids to kick in. It's
become clear that this is what the present administration
is doing by featuring bit players like Uday and Qusay in this
latest snuff flick shot on location in Iraq. In the post 9/11
landscape, incubator babies draw less box office. They've
become relics of a 'kinder and gentler' Imperialism - one
that sought to starve the Iraqi people slowly through sanctions
rather than waste them wholesale.
As the latest narrative unravels, it's become come clear
that the Bushi'ites have again cannibalized their own inner
demons for what could be best described at this stage of the
game as Gladiator-meets-Boogie Nights: The Final Showdown.
This is where the moustachioed villain, sire of the sinister
siblings, takes refuge in a cave and unleashes his weapons
of mass destruction - hypnotic gamma rays that turn the population
into guerilla fighters resisting their liberator's noble mission
to transform their camels into cigarettes and their mosques
into shopping malls.
Most Americans may not even object to the White House's
version of The Bachelor(s) hogging primetime, either but it
begs the question of how dead American soldiers have become
somehow irrelevant to this conflict. After all, they too live
fast, die young, and don't leave particularly pretty corpses
behind. Would the war supporters continue cheering on the
slaughter if the atrocity exhibits on display included some
kid from North Carolina?
It's probably safe to assume that many US military personnel
would rather watch Donald Rumsfeld's head on a stick making
the rounds of Baghdad over anything FOX or CNN are offering
up at the moment. I wonder if anyone has told them yet that
all those weapons-of-mass-whatever they were risking their
lives defending us from were manufactured in Santa's Washington
Workshop. Or that the "intelligence" linking Iraq to al-Qaeda
was yet another urban legend. And knowing now how they've
been hoodwinked into serving an indefinite term of hard labour,
you imagine they'd be savoring the phantom flavor of a Rummy
Raisin popsicle right about now. That would certainly go down
quite nicely after the blood soaked banquet of Uday and Qusay's
carved up remains.