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Mark Steyn: Saddam's favorite themes
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | 10/13/2002 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 10/13/2002 8:02:35 AM PDT by Pokey78

Well, I knew this would happen. Saddam Hussein has finally got hold of a Weapon of Mass Destruction. In a dispatch on Tuesday's presidential election in Iraq, the Times of London reports:

''Party officials have chosen the Whitney Houston song 'I Will Always Love You' as the campaign theme tune. The song accompanies the dawn-to-dusk election broadcasts on the three state-controlled television stations, which feature almost continuous footage of Saddam.''

What a guy. All over Baghdad, folks are switching on the radio and there's Whitney ululating ''I will always love you-oo-oooaahooeauooooeeeuoaaaoooo . . . '' And, all over Baghdad, folks in the next apartment are sighing, ''Terrific. Saddam's got those Shiites at No. 23 wired up to the cattle prods again. Might as well forget about getting any sleep tonight.''

But why Whitney? Why not Gloria Gaynor's ''I Will Survive''? The defiant diva's dance floor classic is to my knowledge the only disco anthem about a dictator and his on-again off-again relationship with UN weapons inspectors:

"Oh, now, go!

Walk out the door!

Just turn around now

You're not welcome anymore

I should have changed that stupid lock

I should have made you leave your key

If I'd have known for just one second

You'd be back to bother me

Hey-hey . . . ''

Or what about ''Livin' La Vida Loca''? Or ''Macho Man'' (given Saddam's Village People mustache)? Or--here's one for our Kurdish listeners--''Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.'' Or ''Iraqin' Around the Christmas Tree.'' Or . . .

But, around this point, you can't help wondering, ''Why exactly does Saddam Hussein need a campaign song?'' According to the Times, at his last presidential election seven years ago, the old butcher got 99.89 percent of the votes. As the 0.11 percent foolish enough to write in Pat Buchanan have since been killed, you'd have thought Saddam would do even better this time. But who knows? Perhaps there's a Zogby poll with him plummeting to 99.83 percent. Perhaps Dick Morris has some internal numbers showing Iraqi soccer moms want more spending on education and less on anthrax.

So the guy's out there on the stump pressing the flesh. I mean, as opposed to the flesh he presses with the hot pokers down in the basement. His managers have come up with a snappy campaign slogan: ''Yes, Yes To Our Beloved Leader, Saddam Hussein.'' The agency had toyed with ''Four More Decades,'' ''I'm Pro-Saddam And I Vote,'' ''Guns Don't Kill People. Saddam Kills People,'' ''It's Mourning Again In Halabja,'' ''Ask Yourself Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Centuries Ago?'' and ''It's The Dictatorship, Stupid!''

I have to confess to a sneaking admiration for the old mass murderer. What's happening on Tuesday wouldn't pass the smell test in any functioning polity, even New Jersey. Voters will find one question on the ballot--''Do you agree that Saddam Hussein should remain president?"--and will have to tick either "Yes" or "No." They have to write their names on the ballot, and in case they're tempted to put ''John al-Smith'' or ''Jane bin Doe,'' they have to fill them out in the presence of ''officials.'' It's not the kind of election you really need a campaign song for.

But no doubt Saddam gets his daily intelligence reports and he noticed that the hated President Bush was reeling under a barrage from America's recording artists. The other day, Harry Belafonte dismissed Colin Powell as a slave who was being allowed to live in his master's house just so long as he agrees with everything massa says. (Note to younger readers: If you've no idea who Harry Belafonte is, ask your parents. What's that? Oh, OK, ask your parents to ask their parents. Anyway, I found Belafonte's slave comments so outrageous that I decided to throw out all my Belafonte CDs. Then I discovered I didn't have any. So I rooted around in the attic and came across an old LP and, after some difficulty wedging it into the player, I heard what sounded like a perfect Saddam campaign theme, "The Bananas Vote Song.'')

As if Harry's not enough, Barbra Streisand's piling on. Barbra recently serenaded Dick Gephardt and other Democratic luminaries with a rewritten version of "The Way We Were":

"Mis'ries--seems that's all that fills the news

Blame the fellow in the White House

For the Way We Are . . . "

So Saddam figures, ''OK, so we can't have secret ballots and a choice of candidates, but that's no reason not to have Great Satan-style theme songs." In adopting Whitney Houston, he's neatly distilled the illusion of what the left calls ''multilateralism.'' If by ''multilateralism'' you meant persuading a significant number of the world's democracies to support you, then Bush has already done that--he's got Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Turkey, etc., etc., in his corner. But that's not enough for Barbra, Harry, Ted Kennedy and the Democratic leadership. They've contracted out their position on Iraq to the United Nations: We can only do anything through the UN, so we can only do whatever the UN wants to do. The Church of England's bishops argue that this is the ''moral'' position: a ''just war'' is a war the UN approves.

Well, if you happen to dig the UN, fine. Each to his own. What's absurd is the notion that it provides any kind of ''moral authority.'' The UN represents a dilution of moral authority, in which the voices of the 84 free nations in the world are merged with the remaining 107. Many of those 107 are, like Iraq, not nations in any meaningful sense but simply the personal expression of one man's will. Nevertheless, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, like the Danish ambassador to the United Nations, is a guy in a well-tailored suit who lives in New York and gets chauffeured to work each day. And that's what matters: the suit, not the thug inside it; the veneer, not the reality. The world observes the polite fiction that the Syrian "foreign minister" is a functioning cabinet secretary in the way that the New Zealand foreign minister is. There may be a crude geopolitical necessity in this, but there is certainly no moral component.

And now Saddam has taken this joke of moral equivalence to exquisite new heights, for what could be more delightful than a dictator with no opposition ''campaigning'' to an American pop song? The campaign song is a perfect expression of American democracy, of the requirement that politics be conducted in the popular vernacular. What a shame Barbra's not available to do a fund-raiser for Saddam:

''People

People who need people

Are the luckiest people in the world . . . "

But that's the beauty of the Iraqi electoral system: You don't need people.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: marksteynlist

1 posted on 10/13/2002 8:02:35 AM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...
Pinging the Steyn list.
2 posted on 10/13/2002 8:03:23 AM PDT by Pokey78
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To: scholar; Bullish
Ping
3 posted on 10/13/2002 8:05:33 AM PDT by knighthawk
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To: Pokey78
''Party officials have chosen the Whitney Houston song 'I Will Always Love You' as the campaign theme tune. The song accompanies the dawn-to-dusk election broadcasts on the three state-controlled television stations, which feature almost continuous footage of Saddam.''

Okay, he went to far this time. Making people listen to Whitney is just too cruel. Let the bombing begin.

(can I be on the ping list?)

a.cricket

4 posted on 10/13/2002 8:18:14 AM PDT by another cricket
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To: Pokey78
Another Steyn beauty. Thanks Pokey.
5 posted on 10/13/2002 8:19:02 AM PDT by LisaFab
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To: another cricket
You can & you are.
6 posted on 10/13/2002 8:21:01 AM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
They have to write their names on the ballot, and in case they're tempted to put ''John al-Smith'' or ''Jane bin Doe,'' they have to fill them out in the presence of ''officials.''

Mark Hadiq Steyn.

BTTT

7 posted on 10/13/2002 8:23:34 AM PDT by facedown
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To: Pokey78
"iraqin' around the christmas tree"
LOL
8 posted on 10/13/2002 8:23:34 AM PDT by 1john2 3and4
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To: Pokey78
"Guns Don't Kill People. Saddam Kills People"

Sunday morning coffee spray!

9 posted on 10/13/2002 8:26:52 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78; Howlin
One of those perfect Steyn articles where it's hard to find a FAVORITE line! But I really liked this one:

Anyway, I found Belafonte's slave comments so outrageous that I decided to throw out all my Belafonte CDs. Then I discovered I didn't have any.

I don't even have any Belafonte LPs...

11 posted on 10/13/2002 8:33:17 AM PDT by Amelia
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To: Pokey78
So the guy's out there on the stump pressing the flesh. I mean, as opposed to the flesh he presses with the hot pokers down in the basement. . .

We should send Blahblah Streisand, the singer, Alec Baldwin, the actor, Algore, the inventor, and David Bonior and Jim McDermott, the politicians, to Iraq. These masterminds could drum up the "help" Saddam needs to retain power and get the respect he "deserves."

12 posted on 10/13/2002 8:38:15 AM PDT by nicmarlo
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To: Pokey78
Gotta love Steyn
13 posted on 10/13/2002 8:49:11 AM PDT by thedugal
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To: Davis
From the link you posted:
Steyn can rest his case on the subject of media bias without whining and without tedium. Obviously, he has plenty of access to the sentient public.

We are part of the "sentient public" here on FR. I have been saying since 7 November 2000, that President Bush won the majority of votes of sentient Americans.
14 posted on 10/13/2002 9:02:38 AM PDT by maica
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To: Pokey78; Snow Bunny; Alamo-Girl; onyx; Republican Wildcat; Howlin; Fred Mertz; dixiechick2000; ...
Mark Steyn: Saddam's favorite themes

Excerpt:

Or what about ''Livin' La Vida Loca''? Or ''Macho Man'' (given Saddam's Village People mustache)? Or--here's one for our Kurdish listeners--''Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.'' Or ''Iraqin' Around the Christmas Tree.'' Or . . .

But, around this point, you can't help wondering, ''Why exactly does Saddam Hussein need a campaign song?'' According to the Times, at his last presidential election seven years ago, the old butcher got 99.89 percent of the votes. As the 0.11 percent foolish enough to write in Pat Buchanan have since been killed, you'd have thought Saddam would do even better this time. But who knows? Perhaps there's a Zogby poll with him plummeting to 99.83 percent. Perhaps Dick Morris has some internal numbers showing Iraqi soccer moms want more spending on education and less on anthrax.

So the guy's out there on the stump pressing the flesh. I mean, as opposed to the flesh he presses with the hot pokers down in the basement. His managers have come up with a snappy campaign slogan: ''Yes, Yes To Our Beloved Leader, Saddam Hussein.'' The agency had toyed with ''Four More Decades,'' ''I'm Pro-Saddam And I Vote,'' ''Guns Don't Kill People. Saddam Kills People,'' ''It's Mourning Again In Halabja,'' ''Ask Yourself Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Centuries Ago?'' and ''It's The Dictatorship, Stupid!''

I have to confess to a sneaking admiration for the old mass murderer. What's happening on Tuesday wouldn't pass the smell test in any functioning polity, even New Jersey. Voters will find one question on the ballot--''Do you agree that Saddam Hussein should remain president?"--and will have to tick either "Yes" or "No." They have to write their names on the ballot, and in case they're tempted to put ''John al-Smith'' or ''Jane bin Doe,'' they have to fill them out in the presence of ''officials.'' It's not the kind of election you really need a campaign song for.



Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest ping list!. . .don't be shy.

15 posted on 10/13/2002 9:18:06 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: Pokey78
So Saddam figures, ''OK, so we can't have secret ballots and a choice of candidates, but that's no reason not to have Great Satan-style theme songs." In adopting Whitney Houston, he's neatly distilled the illusion of what the left calls ''multilateralism.'' If by ''multilateralism'' you meant persuading a significant number of the world's democracies to support you, then Bush has already done that--he's got Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Turkey, etc., etc., in his corner. But that's not enough for Barbra, Harry, Ted Kennedy and the Democratic leadership. They've contracted out their position on Iraq to the United Nations: We can only do anything through the UN, so we can only do whatever the UN wants to do. The Church of England's bishops argue that this is the ''moral'' position: a ''just war'' is a war the UN approves.

Well, if you happen to dig the UN, fine. Each to his own. What's absurd is the notion that it provides any kind of ''moral authority.'' The UN represents a dilution of moral authority, in which the voices of the 84 free nations in the world are merged with the remaining 107. Many of those 107 are, like Iraq, not nations in any meaningful sense but simply the personal expression of one man's will. Nevertheless, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, like the Danish ambassador to the United Nations, is a guy in a well-tailored suit who lives in New York and gets chauffeured to work each day. And that's what matters: the suit, not the thug inside it; the veneer, not the reality. The world observes the polite fiction that the Syrian "foreign minister" is a functioning cabinet secretary in the way that the New Zealand foreign minister is. There may be a crude geopolitical necessity in this, but there is certainly no moral component.

As usual, Steyn's humor is razor sharp.

But putting joking aside, the two paragraphs above are a near-perfect summation of the current state of left-wing politics in America, globally and of the U.N.--a window on the big picture state of world affairs in October 2002.

Anyone who thinks the UN represents any kind of moral authority is delusional....even if you're an Anglican Bishop.

This is the best and most insightful line in the whole piece:

The UN represents a dilution of moral authority..

EV

16 posted on 10/13/2002 9:19:54 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: Davis
Thanks. From your link. LOL !....

Steyn follows up this vital question and answer immediately, engagingly, deftly. "How do you do that? Tricky, but this we can say for certain: you'll never be able to manage it with the present crowd--Saddam, the Ayatollahs, the House of Saud, Boy Assad, Mubarak, Yasser."

Just this short list--a list, mind you--is proof of Steyn's invigorating wit, but if any more is needed, consider: "Conservative'' has been carelessly appropriated by the media to mean no more than the side you're not meant to like. Attorney General John Ashcroft is a hardline conservative, but so, according to the press, is the Taliban and half the Chinese politburo and the crankier ayatollahs."

17 posted on 10/13/2002 9:32:20 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
Thanks for the heads up!
18 posted on 10/13/2002 9:45:29 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Pokey78
Ouch! Reading about Saddam's campaign gave me a painful flashback to Clinton's "ownership" of the 1996 US Presidential Elections. Saddam is obviously taking cues from "The Master" (talk about the "Great Satan"!).
19 posted on 10/13/2002 10:20:06 AM PDT by Imal
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To: Pokey78
Does Whitney sing in Iraqeese?
20 posted on 10/13/2002 10:32:48 AM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: Pokey78
All over Baghdad, folks are switching on the radio and there's Whitney ululating ''I will always love you-oo-oooaahooeauooooeeeuoaaaoooo . . . '' And, all over Baghdad, folks in the next apartment are sighing, ''Terrific. Saddam's got those Shiites at No. 23 wired up to the cattle prods again.

LOL, we knew Saddam was into torture, but the UN really out to intervene to stop THAT song being played.

21 posted on 10/13/2002 11:01:08 AM PDT by xJones
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To: Pokey78
bump
22 posted on 10/13/2002 12:01:22 PM PDT by FreetheSouth!
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To: Amelia
Neither do I, but I'll miss watching "Beetlejuice." That "Day-O" scene was the best part of the movie.
23 posted on 10/13/2002 1:35:43 PM PDT by Tony in Hawaii
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To: Pokey78
The UN represents a dilution of moral authority, in which the voices of the 84 free nations in the world are merged with the remaining 107. Many of those 107 are, like Iraq, not nations in any meaningful sense but simply the personal expression of one man's will.

How many African countries fall under this definition?

24 posted on 10/13/2002 2:23:12 PM PDT by Joan912
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To: Pokey78
What's happening on Tuesday wouldn't pass the smell test in any functioning polity, even New Jersey.

Nice job again by the Man From NH.

25 posted on 10/13/2002 2:37:56 PM PDT by RobFromGa
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To: Tony in Hawaii
miss Beetlejuice ?

Nope, ain't gonna happen.

FMCDVCR.

26 posted on 10/13/2002 3:51:49 PM PDT by dread78645
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To: Pokey78
Perhaps Dick Morris has some internal numbers showing Iraqi soccer moms want more spending on education and less on anthrax.

Iraqi soccer moms? This is marvelous!

27 posted on 10/13/2002 6:13:46 PM PDT by Neophyte
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To: joesnuffy
Does Whitney sing in Iraqeese?

Fingernails on the chalkboard transcend the spoken word...
28 posted on 10/14/2002 7:35:59 AM PDT by BlueMondaySkipper
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To: Pokey78
Bump for later analysis.
29 posted on 10/15/2002 7:30:32 AM PDT by 1bigdictator
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To: Pokey78
Nevertheless, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, like the Danish ambassador to the United Nations, is a guy in a well-tailored suit who lives in New York and gets chauffeured to work each day. And that's what matters: the suit, not the thug inside it; the veneer, not the reality

The real reason why most liberals hate Bush IMHO is because they don't want to give up the ridiculous fiction that organizations like the UN can handle world affairs through diplomacy. They talk themselves and everyone around them to death. They back down from direct confrontations when bullies push them around. They are dangerous because they put our country at risk. They chant that they don't want to die for Iraqi oil. Well I don't want to die for liberal naivete and cowardice.

30 posted on 10/16/2002 9:09:58 PM PDT by foreshadowed at waco
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