I am a different man. I am a new and much better man. I have never felt so grateful, though of course I would not have voluntarily had the operation. My captors stormed into my cell and like a warrior I fought them. I struck and kicked and cursed and called them scoundrels and dogs and worse. They were attacking the rightful President of Iraq and, more than besmirching my authority, they were degrading me in the most vile and personal ways. I threatened them with an eternity of suffering. I promised to inflict much of it myself. And that is my final memory until wakening with an unimaginable headache.
Thankfully, the pain daily eased, and early in my recovery I was placed on a regimen of tranquilizers that, in concert with surgery, began to give me a calm and clear state of mind I’d simply never had. Doctors then diligently explained that I’d undergone a novel lobotomy-like adjustment to the front of my brain, a mysterious region known to swarm with violent and obsessive impulses. Thrice weekly private consultations have also been enormously helpful, giving me the opportunity to discuss – and in part exorcise – the childhood beatings I received, as well as the countless acts of cruelty I’ve visited on humanity. My daily group therapy sessions were at first quite difficult since my fellow prisoners tried, it seemed, to impale me with all responsibility for evil deeds. Without attempting to mitigate my guilt, I did politely yet forcefully tell these gentlemen they too were responsible for their acts, and not always correct in asserting I would have killed them if they’d declined to commit crimes I ordered.
No doubt, however, I alone am responsible for a lifetime of being Saddam, and now at last, in the final fifteen years of so of my journey, I am equipped to be something better, something unlike any of you would have expected. I stand here in my claustrophobic cell, in such contrast to the mighty dictator who reigned from so many palaces, and through this radio microphone I tell you I have seen the future, and it is democracy – the mandate of history. In confirmation we must inevitably note that tyranny has foredoomed hundreds of thousands of us to death or mutilation on battlefields of otherwise dubious significance. It has also poisoned the lives of countless terrorized and tortured citizens, and caused us, rightly or not, to be invaded and occupied by a powerful military force. Though the alien presence is undeniably painful, it will end when security and self-determination are at least in healthy infancy.
I tell you, my brave and earnest Iraqi people, that you deserve a better government and a better life. Greatness lies within you. I do not ask you to forgive me for so long suppressing your gifts. Rather, I urge you to exercise your inherent talent. I have unqualified confidence in your integrity and vigor. January thirtieth will soon be at hand. Protect your rights. Embrace this day. Cherish the opportunity to express your will. Vow this Election Day is the first in a permanent procession. I shall be thinking of you. I shall be with you, awaiting your achievement of the peace and happiness I was unable to provide but will nevertheless, from my humble cell, forever share with all free Iraqis.”
The producer turned off the microphone and embraced me. “Magnificent.”
“Did I sound like Saddam?”
“Absolutely, you’re the best Saddam we’ve ever had.”
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