Dear Dirty America


Former Iraqi Dictator Lives: Saddam Hussein Seen Zipping Around Los Angeles

Former Iraqi Dictator Lives: Saddam Hussein Seen Zipping Around Los Angeles
November 11
15:56 2013

It’s for good reason that Southern Californians overwhelmingly believe that Saddam Hussein, the former gluttonous dictator of Iraq, is still alive and haunting unsuspecting Los Angeles neighborhoods. I even saw the former CIA-backed Iraqi ruler swerve past the city bus in which I was riding. Of course, because I’m a rational human being who mostly takes the United States government at its word, I figured I’d hallucinated seeing Hussein speeding along Olympic Boulevard in a clunker car, with his hairy arm hanging out the open window.

Call it luck or providence, but I saw Hussein again. This time he was marooned in another beater of a car on a side street in a bourgeois Los Angeles haven called Larchmont Village. A well-dressed local stumbled upon the scene as he walked home, and we both happened to witness the supposedly dead Iraqi dictator slamming his fists against the steering wheel of a battered old two-door Honda.

You might remember watching a grainy video of a man who appears to be Hussein swinging from a rope around his neck. America rejoiced upon hearing news that Hussein had been executed for crimes against humanity, and then America turned back to follow their leader, George W Bush, who continued to wage his war in Iraq and bomb innocent men, women, and children.

Saddam Hussein was one of those geopolitical, US-sanctioned stinkers who seemed to be in power solely to create an unstable Middle Eastern region, and if one scratches into history a little deeper, through the finely sifted topsoil of dates and accepted historical narrative, we find Hussein had very powerful handlers, which is why he took the green light from George Bush Sr and attacked Kuwait, only to find America condemning his actions.

How could Hussein ever imagine he’d been set up by the US, who would then use his invasion of the tiny sea-side country to launch a major offensive in the Middle East? After all, he’d shaken the hand of political rockstar, Donald Rumsfeld.

Meanwhile, the Honda had stalled in the quiet backstreet of Larchmont Village. Blue smoke dissipated in the breeze. The car was a darker shade of blue, but rust had eaten choppy bites around the wheel wells, and the hood was a shabby maroon color. The driver’s side door, also suffering from a bit of rust, was a faded yellow. And behind the wheel a distinguished Middle Eastern man, very old but animated, cursed under his breath.

The car roared back to life. It jerked forward with a squeal of its tires. The car abruptly halted. The wheels locked up and the car’s frame jolted on its short springs. Its engine died.

You might consider me more imaginative than most, or perhaps I’m just enamored with stereotypes, but I couldn’t help but see a man in the embarrassing situation of being unable to control his wild beast. No matter how loud he hollered the orders or jammed his fists into its back, the beast would not cooperate. Both man and beast were going to get ruthless any second, and that is the moment I think both me and the gentleman walking home were waiting for.

Isn’t that Saddam Hussein? I asked the man. He was a couple decades older than me. He’d stopped a few paces on the sidewalk behind where I stood, holding my coffee and watching the Honda buck and snort and squeal.

“My God,” the man said. He came to stand next to me. “Looks just like him.”

I’ve heard other people say they could have sworn they’d seen Saddam roaring around Los Angeles in a tin can car, but I just thought they’d been suffering from the typical American syndrome that all foreigners look alike, I said. You know how people can’t tell the difference between Asian folks, or Middle Easterners, and so on.

Hussein’s Honda sputtered, and the engine turned over. Then it killed before he could put it into gear. He grabbed the steering wheel at ten and two and tried to jerk it out of its socket.

“He’s even got those two moles on his cheeks. I remember those moles from 60 Minutes,” my new friend said. “See, just above the cut of his beard.”

I saw the marks he pointed at. They were made apparent by the harsh light of the sun. You know, I said, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the United States special army forces snatched him out of Iraq in the last minute and had a regular platoon of Marines stumble upon one of his body doubles hiding in a cellar. It was rather odd how they just came upon the Iraqi dictator, anyway. The whole thing was probably a set up. The CIA has always been Hussein’s fraternity, anyway, going all the way back to when they handed him satellite locations of Iranian troop deployments so he could mustard gas them with more accuracy.

“It’s a pitiful secret past,” my friend said. “I’ve read about that, too. It’s all admitted, which is the damnedest thing about it. Declassified and the public still doesn’t believe it.”

Right, I said, so when Obama wants to punish Syria’s Assad, even though both the Al Qaida rebels and Assad, too, had used chemical weapons, American citizens should have been unable to get a good night’s rest with all the blatant hypocrisy. As if the leaders of the USA have ever been against using chemical weapons.

An ear-piercing squeal pealed out from under Hussein’s Honda. The car lurched forward again. The engine chugged and it seemed Hussein might have had it under control for a second, but then he killed it, and the wheels screeched along the pavement.

“So the CIA or some secret group let him live,” my friend said, shifting his weight to his other leg. “They must not have given him much money. Not a very nice gesture to a man who served them well over the years.”

Maybe none at all. Maybe he’s selling Herbalife like former Los Angeles mayor Villaraigosa, except Saddam thinks he’s above petty selling, which is why he’s no good at it, which is why he drives a car that’s ready to fall apart around him. Plus, when he goes door-to-door in wealthy neighborhoods selling caffeine-laden health products, he reminds all those people of Hussein, even though they can’t put their finger on just who he reminds them of, subconsciously, they’re turned off.

Soon, it looks like he’ll be sitting in the middle of the street on that torn up seat cushion with the doors, tires, and rotted chassis in pieces around him. The palace days are long over.

“He probably thought he’d live out his last days wining and dining with the Bush family,” my friend said.

Barbara, George Jr, the whole clan, I said, agreeing. Would have been nice to have access to all that wealth and comfort. Some of these US puppet dictators think they’ll be included in the bigger geopolitical plans of the ruling elite, but really they’re just a higher level of cannon fodder like the rest, I told him. Look at Gaddafi. Friend of the US, until he wasn’t any longer. These boys think they’re on the winning team, until they realize they’re going to be pinned to history as menacing, violent dictators that randomly grabbed power and had to be deposed by a benevolent United States military intervention.

“It’s all a racket,” my friend said. “It’s all a big game. And everybody goes along with it, because CNN reports it that way. America good, Saddam Hussein bad. But never do they tell us how they are linked, or how they are complicit in the killings of probably millions of people.”

Finally, Hussein noticed we were watching him. We’d taken a few steps each time the car flung itself fifteen feet ahead and halted. “What are you looking at?” he asked. His lips pulled back. His teeth were on display. We’d caught him in a vulnerable moment.

Just think, I said quietly to my friend, a very powerful dictator of the Middle East condemned to live out his last days an embarrassingly poor and defunct human being. I feel like I should reach out to him. A gesture of goodwill. Maybe hand him this cup of coffee, I said.

Saddam was still staring at us. My friend spoke up. He lifted a hand to wave and said, “Nothing much. Just two concerned citizens having an informed conversation.”

A white Dodge Charger turned onto the street and raced ahead. The car had two orange racing stripes from front to back. The driver could not be seen behind the tinted windows. He honked and swerved around Hussein’s stranded vehicle. The former dictator shook his hairy fist out the open window and laid a string of invective as shamelessly as IBM’s supercomputer, Watson.

We’d better get out of here, I said to my friend. It’s a damn shame I don’t have my phone with me, so I could take a picture of this and send it to the State Department.

My friend also did not have his phone on him, so we parted ways, both of us unsettled yet giddy to know there’s more merit to the unceasing Southern California rumors that Saddam still lives in his own personal hell, never again a man of power, but no doubt at least slightly thankful he’d escaped the noose.

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