[SPORK] Who would have thought that Bush needs advice from Saddam

Jeff Bone jbone at deepfile.com
Wed Apr 30 15:19:33 PDT 2003

Comments from the person that sent me this:

I have been following Friedman's columns in the NYT for a long time now.
He has been following the same format since the discussion of Iraq
started months ( a year?) ago: "Well, we did it wrong,
but this is what we should do to correct it".  The first
rationale for attaclomg Iraq, the case in the UN, the war, when he war 
when the looting, now that the "war" is practically over...

His last tactic to get Bush's attention: pretend to be Saddam.

I think the column is exceptional, the new format: a revelation!



Dear President Bush, by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Memo to: President Bush, the White House
From: Saddam Hussein, in a Baghdad basement

Well, you sure ruined my birthday. . . . O.K., you won, and your prize 
Iraq. Are you ready for it? I don't think so. Truth is, I hope you fail.
But because my people have suffered enough, I'll give you a few tips on
how to run this place, before you make a total mess:

(1) Yes, Iraq was the way it was, in part, because I was the way I was —
and I was a bad boy. But what you're seeing now is that I was the way I
was, in part, because Iraq was what it is — a very difficult place to 
without an iron fist. You see, I know the Iraqi people didn't want me. 
you will soon discover they don't want you. The big question here has
always been: Do they want each other? Can Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis 
find a
way to live together without an iron fist holding them together? Maybe,
but they're not going to find it on their own. They are going to need a
firm hand guiding them. You need to have a very clear idea of where you
want to take this place, because, trust me, if you don't, others will.

(2) If you want to build a self-governing authority here, you had better
understand that "shock and awe" is not just for war-making. It's an
everyday tool for running this place. Why did it take you two weeks to
throw out that bozo who declared himself mayor of Baghdad? What about 
the others? You now have armed gangs or Shiite clerics grabbing control
all over the country. You thought that you were just going to decapitate
my army and then rely on it to run the place for you. But the whole army
collapsed instead, and you don't have enough troops here to fill the
security vacuum. So when a few of your guys come under fire, they panic
and start shooting up the place. I ran Iraq with an iron fist. You're
trying to run it on the cheap with an iron finger. No way. This ain't
Norway here, pal. Your powerlessness will scare people here much more 
your power.

(3) When you broke my army, you broke the most important secular
institution in the country, and the clerics are rushing to fill the 
Some are O.K., and some are bad news. Since the Shiites make up 60 
of Iraq, if you're going to let the people here rule, that means the 
important question for you is: Who dominates the Iraqi Shiite community?
Not only is the future of Iraq at stake in the answer, but also, to some
extent, the future of Iran.

How so? Remember, the real academic and spiritual center of Shiism is 
Iraqi town of Najaf, not the Iranian city of Qom. Qom is a backwater 
became religiously important only because I crushed my Shiites, while
Khomeini created a Shiite theocracy in Iran.

Most Iraqi Shiite spiritual leaders in Najaf have long opposed 
notion that Shiite clerics should be in power. They think this has
corrupted the clergy in Iran, angered the people and driven young 
away from their religion. You've now set off a fight for control of 
between those Iraqi Shiite leaders who believe in the separation between
mosque and state, and the pro-Iranian clerics who want to run Iraq
Khomeini-style. That's why the Iranians are so concerned about what's
happening here. They know if Najaf re-emerges as the center of Shiism —
and if it's dominated by Iraqi ayatollahs who don't believe that the
clergy should be in politics — the claim of the Iranian clergy to remain
in power will be weakened.

This is the most important power struggle in the Middle East today. For
now, the Iraqi Shiite clergy in Najaf are weak. They don't have many
senior clerics. I kept it that way. But you can't just install your own
Iraqi Shiite leaders. They will have to emerge on their own. You need to
create the conditions in Najaf whereby students can come back and the
natural Iraqi-Arab Shiite traditions can flower again to counter the

(4) Always remember: This is an Arab country. Iraqis want to be
first-class Arabs, not second-class Americans. If you want to build a
legitimate, moderate political center here, you need to enlist some 
and some cover, from Arab states and the U.N. Iraqis will eventually 
their parties and leaders legitimized by the Arab world and media. They
won't want to be seen as U.S. stooges. They don't watch Fox News here.

Mr. Bush, I know you're wondering why I did not do more to avoid this 
which ended my political life. What in the world was I thinking? Who 
was I
listening to? The answer is: I was listening only to myself. Don't make 

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