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Beast of the Month - August 2003
Uday & Qusay Hussein, Saddam's Wacky Sons
"I yam an anti-Christ..."
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
It would be psychologically satisfying to pretend that, in the case of "Operation Iraqi Freedom", the victims of US unprovoked imperial aggression in defiance of world opinion were led by a noble, sympathetic group of do-gooders. It would be psychologically satisfying, but it would be untrue.
If there's one thing the pro-war brigade had going for them in the lead-up to Iraq, it was the compelling argument that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. "He gassed his own people!" may be a phony and hypocritical declaration of outrage from the Bush Mob (especially considering that it was Donald Rumsfeld himself who met with him to reestablish diplomatic ties while Saddam was doing this) but that doesn't invalidate that he gassed his own people. And though it is increasingly apparent the claims of WMD were bogus, the Butcher of Baghdad nonetheless was among the most worthy men for bogeyman status this side of Osama.
Still, focusing on Saddam is sooo 20th century: newer and fresher bogeymen are always needed to keep the masses in a state of panic. Until last month, Saddam's sons Uday & Qusay Hussein (The Konformist Beasts of the Month) were getting primed up for major bogeyman status themselves.
In many ways, Uday (the Ace of Hearts in the Pentagon's most wanted Iraqi card deck) and Qusay (the Ace of Clubs) were the Iraqi answer to Shrub and Jeb (with Saddam stepping in for George Herbert Walker.) Uday, like Dubya, was the older, reckless son who took his special status at birth for granted, and then generally proved he was not up to snuff as his daddy's replacement. (Unlike in the US, however, the Iraqi establishment got the clue and passed on promoting the empty but unstable shell of a man.) Qusay, meanwhile, was the quiet competent one, who did all the dirty but respectable work while his brother made an ass of himself partying. If they were a buddy cop team, Qusay would be Mr. By-the-book to Uday's Loose Cannon.
Unfortunately, the Hussein brothers were no buddy cop team. While their names sound like a gag from Dave Letterman's failed Oscar hosting (Uday, Qusay, Qusay, Uday) the deeds of the pair is no comedy schtick.
Uday (who had a somewhat eery resemblance to Freddie Mercury during Queen's "We Will Rock You" phase) became infamous for his creepy depths he'd go to get kicks, being the more outwardly psychopathic of the pair. Prostitutes and fast cars just weren't enough: he had an insatiable appetite for torturing and snuffing men and women. He is reported to have personally killed at least six women, all among his countless rape victims. One woman was reportedly "stripped naked, covered in honey and killed by three starving Dobermans." His victims also include numerous men, many of them top Iraqi athletes during Uday's cruel reign as head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee. (Like Georgie Boy, he dabbled in sports management unsuccessfully.) Both ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated have documented his deranged tortures, which includes beatings with iron bars, canings on the soles of feet, chainings to walls for days in contorted positions, dragged on pavement until bloodied, then dunked in sewage to ensure infections. He also used electric cattle proddings and urinated on his victims.
One person that Uday may regret having made a victim: Kemal Hana Gegeo, a servant of his father. In 1988, angry at Gegeo for arranging sessions between Saddam and his then mistress and future wife - which Uday felt was an insult to his mother's dignity - he went Norman Bates on Kemal at a party for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's wife, beating him to death in front of horrified guests. Uday was never popular in Saddam's court after that. A failed 1996 assassination attempt against him was never solved, as the list of suspects with strong motives was too numerous.
The torch was passed on instead to younger brother Qusay, who was appointed Saddam's heir to the presidency in 2000. Though not as overtly psychopathic as his brother, he likely has even more blood on his hands. He led the bloody crushing of the Shiite uprising that followed the 1991 Gulf War. He is also is accused of personally ordering the slaying of thousands of political prisoners as head of the Special Security Organisation, Iraq's secret police.
(And least you think all this is mere right-wing anti-Iraq propaganda, the dirty deeds of the pair have been well documented by human rights organizations.)
On July 22, it allegedly all came to an end for both men. Uday and Qusay, each with a $15 million dollar price tag on their head, were apparently ratted out and whacked by the US military in true gangland style. 200 American troops (which included military special forces and CIA agents) bumped them off, along with two others, one a fourteen-year-old boy believed to be one of Saddam's grandsons. While there wasn't much sympathy for the pair, the grisly style of the killing - and the lack of any attempt to capture and bring them to justice - seemed to underscore the contempt for international law held by Team Shrub.
For trivia buffs out there, Uday and Qusay are the first BOTM winners to receive the prize after they have died. That is, if they have died. For what it's worth, rumors have been circulating in Iraq that the pair are actually in Monte Carlo, gambling their looted money with women and booze, and that their death was faked as part of a secret deal. (Along these same lines are rumors that Saddam is chillin' it in Tel Aviv.) To combat the insistent rumors, the DOD released photos of the supposedly dead pair, which did little to stop them (the bodies, conspiracy theories alleged, are either plaster replicas or of the numerous Uday & Qusay body doubles) but further fueled the disgust at Dubya's disregard for international legalities (the public display of the dead bodies in photos is a Geneva no-no.)
Whether or not Uday and Qusay are dead or alive, their spirit lives on. Like their father, as much as they are both despised, they both have developed a large cult of personality, cults which have become only larger due to their Butch and Sundance ending. Their romanticized deaths appears likely to only spur the increasingly violent resistance to the US occupation, which so far has averaged over one fatality per day to American troops. According to the US military, the resistance to Team USA consists mainly of well-trained and devoted members of the Iraqi Republican Guard and the guerrilla Saddam Fedayeen militia. It is curious to note that the Republican Guard was headed by Qusay and Saddam Fedayeen by Uday. That said, even if Uday and Qusay are gone from this Earth, they may get the last laugh in hell.
In any case, we salute Uday & Qusay Hussein as Beasts of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, dudes!!!
"Conspiracy Theories Abound As Uday-Qusay Pics Shown"
Ned Parker, AFP July 24, 2003
Saddam's Rival Sons
"The horrors of Saddam's 'sadist' son"
Tom Farrey, ESPN.com December 22, 2002
"Son of Saddam"
"His Sons Are Dead but Saddam Lives."
Thanks to Rotten.com & Wikipedia as well.
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