Incubator Babies Bite Back
The Ballad of Uday and Qusay  
by Leilla Matsui

August 4, 2003

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The US administration may be crowing publicly over their spectacularly botched raid on the lair of  'Saddam's lion cubs', Uday and Qusay Hussein during 'Operation Kill'em, Shoot'em and then Shoot 'em up Real Good all over again.'  The release last week of the gruesome footage displaying the bloated and stitched up remains of the deposed Iraqi leader's unpopular sons has made it obvious that the Pentagon's victory yodels still ring as hollow as the collective cranial voids that hatched this atrocity in the first place. 


Uday and Qusay's bullet-riddled corpses - the crown jewels of the carnage - were meant to serve as powerful symbols of the US's humanitarian aims in bringing about democracy to Iraq.  Instead, the images seem to be reflecting the Dorian Grey truth behind the group portrait of team George W.


In typical Marvel comic fashion, the neo-con hawks went for the big KABOOM overkill - laying waste not only to Uday and Qusay Hussein but the administration's unravelling-by-the-second justification for the latest invasion of Iraq.  In case you don't remember, this was all about weapons of mass-you-know-what; the very things that were meant to bring about Armageddon in the time that it takes Tony to satisfy, or at least, impregnate Cheri Blair. If anyone knew anything about the inner workings of Pere Hussein's cavernous sanctum, it would have been the fanged and whiskery offspring of the Baghdad Lion King himself.  Afterall, who else would have had the master keys to the Hussein clan's liquor cabinet, not to mention the invisible ink drawn maps leading to all those bio-weapons labs?


The dwindling number of Americans who actually believe that these deadly programs really do  exist must be scratching their heads by now over the Bushi'ites latest act of self-immolation.  It would seem that the appointed president has cut off his proverbial penis to spite his proverbial testicles - a shame, really when you think about how primed and buff they looked just weeks ago bulging out of his flight suit.  Still, it doesn't take a dickless wonder to connect the dots and reveal the tortured logic behind the military's latest bungling.


The neo-con hawks who perch on the shoulders of puppet Generals have splattered their poop all over the war plans in a desperate bid to conceal their part in financing and generally supporting the regime of their former employee, Saddam Hussein. What else could explain the 200 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division blasting their way into the house where Uday and Qusay H. were holed up (with presumably only a bottle of scotch and a Penthouse centrefold for company) and the orders that were given to silence the pair with bullets?  Surely, there must have been a more cost effective and less collaterally damaging way of making these two cough up the missing yellow cake. 


The Bushi'ites, contrary to the village idiot visage of their leader are extremely well-versed  in the tactics of promoting illiteracy to educate the public.  Since the start of his reign, George the Second has relied on the power of visual language to convey his agenda in the stark terms of black and white, good vs. evil as if his policies were divined from  'Power Rangers' reruns on the Cartoon Network.


First it was the statue - the bronzed look-a-like of Saddam Hussein pledging his allegiance to his former bosses and the endlessly looped footage of the 24 hour topple-ganza that followed as the ousted leader's likeness was given the heave-ho off its pedestal.  After doing their own number crunching, Rupert Murdoch's rivals came to this conclusion: Americans prefer the Tom and Jerry-esque hijinks of clear cut villains and heroes to the more sedate format of word driven analysis.  They also seem to have an undiminished appetite for the sight of rented Kurdish dancers waving their shoes around. The simplistic narratives laid out by this administration continue to be whittled down to porno-flick standards of plotline by the media outlets who are undoubtedly delighted by soundbites they can package to look like the trailers for a 'Daredevil' sequel.


Saving Private Jessica the Vampire Slayer from the humanitarian aid of her Iraqi doctors was the next phase of Operation Create a Hollywood Blockbuster from a Botched and Bungled Military Exercise of Monumental Inconsequence. The visuals, unfortunately were sorely lacking to back up the military's claims that they had performed a feat of unrivalled heroism by storming a hospital ward where the friendly staff were waiting to hand over their patient.  Still, the West Virginian native was awarded the Bronze Medal and the dubious celebrity stature of someone who will one day be flogging handbags of her own design in an infomercial.


Surprisingly few people have raised an eyebrow over the latest Bush led government's claims to have the dirty polaroid proof of the Hussein brothers’ bacchanals, which according to the latest reports, had them feeding their enemies, 'Gladiator' style to caged and snack-deprived lions. Notice how the debauchery mercury always shoots up into the stratosphere whenever public support of the US's kill-'em-first-and-ask-questions-later policies show signs of flagging. This is not to say that the dim-bulb duo are undeserving of their fate as fertilizer.  One look at their art collection was enough to know that their crimes against interior decorating were legendary. 


A surplus of cynicism is perhaps justified here; especially if you consider the fictitiously tiny victims of Saddam Hussein's rampaging armies in Kuwait 12 years ago.  While Uday and Qusay's impaled heads are making the rounds of Baghdad via closed circuit television, those tube-feeding Kuwaiti babies-in-a-bubble keep rearing their non-existent and ugly little heads.


In 1991, Incubator Babies (IB's) were like WMD's - a reductive term used to describe things that don't even exist. It might be necessary to go back and dust the cobwebs off Bush One's lexicon of Lies: 'Flagrantly Filthy Fibbing Factoids - Volume One' to refresh one's memory of the most blood-chilling chapter of the first Gulf War.  I'm talking, of course about the one that never even took place.


Public outrage over Incubator Babies went into full throttle in the months leading up to the first Gulf War after a Kuwaiti nurse identified only as 'Nayirah' appeared before a congressional committee on October 10th, 1990 claiming to have seen the helpless creatures torn from their tubings and tossed out of their incubators during a looting rampage by Iraqi soldiers. Fewer still seem to remember the disclaimer imbedded in the fine print some years later when it was revealed that the 'nurse' was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States who had agreed to take on the weepy role of the heroine.  Needless to say, the budding star had never even stepped foot inside the hospital where this was all meant to have taken place. 


The Kuwaiti government-in-exile, in cahoots with the US administration, had enlisted the well-connected and funded PR firm Hill & Knowlton to launch a $10.7 million PR blitz aimed at rousing something more than the tepid response Americans were giving to the Kuwait crisis before Congress finally authorized the use of force on January 29th.   Of course, it was merely a coincidence that the President of Hill & Knowlton was none other than the senior Bush's chief of staff when he was Ronald Reagan's vice-president.


No one could argue against infants, the Masterminds reasoned correctly and thus the plot to hatch Incubator Babies went into motion, triggering the predictable outbursts of rage and indignation against Iraq's latest breech of human decency.  Up until then, the sufferings of Kuwaitis had failed to stir much public sympathy.  American taxpayers were justifiably skeptical about a country founded on the opulently non-Democratic principles of a Dynasty suddenly needing their money to bail them out of a crisis. It seemed an awful lot to fork over just so a few indolent tyrants could maintain their Gulfstreams and Golf courses.


Incubator Babies seized the headlines and airwaves, thanks to Hill & Knowlton's skillful manipulations which included the coached testimony of false witnesses before the UN.  The US went on to make their case for war before the Security Council with the visual aid of an H&K produced video featuring more damning evidence of Iraqi atrocites.  Then, as now, journalists, anxious to seize upon something they could 'sex up' into a front-page feature, ran with it, not even bothering to substantiate any of these claims on their own.  Now, as then, the media is only too willing to dispense with the grunt work of raising an eyebrow, opting instead for the less-labor intensive option of taking dictation.


For Gulf War Two - The Sequel, the junior-league Bushi'ites have Viagra-tized yet another flagging Imperial campaign with even cruder voodoo props than the previous George-led administration.  The shrunken to fit heads of Uday and Qusay on closed circuit television is just the latest installment in a series of hack and paste story boards embellished with blood and chicken feathers; by-products of the violently puritanical impulses of America's ruling elite.


This time the Bushi'ites have pulled out all the stops to construct a narrative that plays on the naive yearnings of the soft and fleshy bums that settle themselves into Cineplex seats waiting for the celluloid-based steroids to kick in.  It's become clear that this is what the present administration is doing by featuring bit players like Uday and Qusay in this latest snuff flick shot on location in Iraq.  In the post 9/11 landscape, incubator babies draw less box office.  They've become relics of a 'kinder and gentler' Imperialism - one that sought to starve the Iraqi people slowly through sanctions rather than waste them wholesale.


As the latest narrative unravels, it's become clear that the Bushi'ites have again cannibalized their own inner demons for what could be best described at this stage of the game as Arabian Boogie Nights: The Final Showdown. This is where the mustachioed villain, sire of the sinister siblings, takes refuge in a cave and unleashes his weapons of mass destruction - hypnotic gamma rays that turn the population into guerilla fighters resisting their liberators' noble mission to transform their camels into cigarettes and their mosques into shopping malls.


Most Americans may not even object to the Whitehouse hogging Primetime with their own version of 'The Bachelor(s)'.  Television is, after all, the dumping ground for all our testosterone driven fears of sexually tainted 'otherness'; the repository of our primordial fascination with the ritualized violence of a spectacle.


Still, the question remains of why dead American soldiers have been left out of this war's latest sideshow attraction.  After all, they too, live fast, die young and don't leave behind particularly good-looking corpses. Would the flag wavers continue cheering on the slaughter if the atrocity exhibits on display included some kid from North Carolina?  Probably not, which I guess is entirely the point the Pentagon is making by stepping up their efforts to divert public interest away from mounting American casualties.

It's probably safe to assume that US military personnel would rather see Donald Rumsfeld's head on a stick making the rounds of Baghdad over anything FOX or CNN are offering up at the moment.  I wonder if anyone has told them yet, that all those weapons-of-mass-whatever were manufactured in Santa's Washington Workshop. Or that the 'intelligence' linking Iraq to al-Qaeda was yet another urban legend. And knowing now how they've been hoodwinked into serving an indefinite term of hard labour in the blistering desert heat, you can imagine they'd be savoring the phantom flavor of a 'Rummy Raisin' popsicle right about now. That would certainly go down quite nicely for the rest of us, too after feasting our eyes on this blood soaked banquet slab.

Leilla Matsui is a freelance writer living in Tokyo, Japan. She can be reached at: catcat@s3.ocv.ne.jp


Other DV Article by Leilla Matsui


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