Proving once again that his inside access as a journalist is unparalleled, Bob Woodward,¬† appearing today with Larry King, discussed his exclusive interview with Saddam Hussein — conducted just moments before the deposed Iraqi dictator was hanged for his crimes.
Wearing the black hood of the executioner to conceal his identity, a trick he learned during Watergate days from Deep Throat, Woodward extracted truly remarkable revelations from Saddam, even as Woodward placed the noose around the doomed man’s neck.
The transcript released by Woodward reveals that Saddam was strongly opposed to the U.S. invasion, but was reluctant to publicly criticize the Bush Administration, according to the longstanding protocol of honor among thieves.
Hussein also confesses to Woodward that although he always despised Bush 41 for kicking him out of Kuwait, he subsequently developed a grudging respect for the old man, especially after witnessing the rank incompetence of his son, who he referred to as the “not so great Satan.”
“In fact,” Saddam added, “I could empathize with George the elder, since I also had to suffer the indignity of two idiot sons.”
The disgraced Iraqi strongman also reminisces about his famous 1983 and 1984 meetings with Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad: “I felt a strange kinship with the man, and sensed we shared common values, but even after his words were translated, I still didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about.”
Saddam also told Woodward that he was puzzled by the American system of government, “where it appears that it is the Vice President who exercises absolute powers.”
Hussein did boast, however, that he was able to “control the religious nuts in my country, something that the current Administration is unable to do, in either the U.S. or Iraq.”
But ironically enough, Saddam reserved his greatest praise for Woodward himself, stating that “people in my country feared me, but I never had the power to make my rivals just mysteriously disappear, like you did with the infidel Jew Bernstein.”
Woodward concluded his appearance on Larry King by noting that “some people may dispute the¬†role I played in Nixon’s demise, but they¬†can never doubt that I literally brought down Saddam.”
On Saddam’s execution, Glenn Greenwald on the Iraqis’ “legal workarounds.” Who says ya’ can’t teach Shiites GOP tricks.
BuzzFlash’s Hypocrite of the Week: Robert Gates.
The Nation: Change the World, via Crooks & Liars.