With some blind partisans mourning what one leading Democrat, Congressman Charlie Rangel, called an “assassination” of Saddam’s sadistic sons, it is only appropriate that we take a moment to eulogize the not-so-dearly departed.
In many ways, Uday and Qusay Hussein were more dangerous than their despotic daddy. With Saddam’s heirs out of the picture, the only thought crossing the minds of the Iraqi people is that their newfound freedom may actually last for good. But since some Americans are concerned about the demise of the bloodthirsty brothers, let us take a moment to recount the lives and times of Uday and Qusay Hussein.
Reared by Saddam to follow in his father’s footsteps, Uday did not disappoint. With Uday in charge of the Olympic team, Iraq’s top athletes lived in fear of the man who would whip them with metal cables after a losing effort. For good measure, the prison guards would throw salt into the open wounds to preserve the scars. A former soccer player, Emmanual Baba, told the Washington Post, “The players would start crying… They would tremble with fear.”
A renowned “playboy” who fancied fast cars and flashy clothes, Uday developed a very public reputation for random violence. He was known for carrying weapons into large public gatherings and opening fire without warning. But his rage was not just directed at Olympic athletes or complete strangers.
In 1988, Uday savagely murdered one of Saddam’s favorite bodyguards in full view of horrified guests at a posh party—by some accounts with an electric carving knife. Seven years later, Uday stormed into the home of his uncle, Watban Ibrahim, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Though he only wounded his uncle, he killed several others. Even those close to Uday were on the receiving end of his uncontrollable rage. His first wife, at the end of the three-month marriage, was described as being “half black-and-blue.”
Saddam’s older son developed his penchant for violence early on. In his younger years, Uday kidnapped a girl who spurned his advances. After three months of raping and torturing her, he fed her—while she was still alive—to his dogs.
Defiant to the end, Uday responded to President Bush’s 48-hour ultimatum before the start of the war by saying that his military forces would make the mothers of U.S. troops “weep blood instead of tears.” But Uday was so unstable that even Saddam thought he was too maniacal to succeed him.
Born two years after Uday, younger brother Qusay had become Saddam’s heir apparent. Though less flashy and erratic, Qusay was no less brutal. Charged with defending Baghdad and Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit against the advancing U.S. soldiers, Qusay was also the head of Iraq’s expansive intelligence operations. It was not the first time his father trusted him with an extremely important task.
When the first team of UN inspectors was crisscrossing Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction, Qusay was spearheading the game of hide-and-seek. But before that bloodless activity, Qusay had engineered the mass murder of untold thousands of Shi’a in southern Iraq.
At the end of the first Gulf War, Qusay, then 25, oversaw the crackdown of the Shi’ite rebellion in the south. People from that region still remember the days from 1991 when their friends and loved ones were piled onto rickety, old buses and driven away. They heard shots off in the distance, and then the buses returned, empty. After American forces liberated Iraq, the surviving family members searched through mass graves to see if they could locate the brothers, fathers, and husbands they had lost more than ten years ago.
With proof—in the form of photos of the reconstructed bodies—that Uday and Qusay are no longer around to torture and torment the Iraqi people, those who had lived under the thumb of Saddam’s tyranny for more than two decades need one more thing before their minds can truly be at ease: that Saddam join his sadistic sons.