House of Saddam. Although I only caught a few episodes, here are my preliminary thoughts on the series.
Accurate Information in the Fog of War
Alex Homes, one of the researchers for the series, shares the difficulty in finding accurate information on Saddam’s life.
Sally and I started by reading all the biographies that had been written over the years. The first thing that struck us was how the accounts of Saddam changed over time. Fuad Matar’s biography, written in 1981 and containing extensive face to face interviews with Saddam, could not be more different that those written by Western journalists after the 1991 invasion of Kuwait. Finding incontrovertible facts was going to be a problem.
The context in which this series is written is essentially crucial, as the American electorate still struggles with a highly controversial conflict that they are still uncertain over why they are there. The infamous 2003 USA Today poll indicated that 70% believed Saddam was behind 9-11.
What We Won’t Hear Much Of
Biographical entries that will likely be glossed over or omitted from the series include how the CIA helped put Saddam in power in the first place, and helped him create lists of names for his mass graves,
In 1959, there was a failed assassination attempt on Qasim. The failed assassin was none other than a young Saddam Hussein. In 1963, a CIA-organized coup did successfully assassinate Qasim and Saddam’s Ba’ath Party came to power for the first time. Saddam returned from exile in Egypt and took up the key post as head of Iraq’s secret service. The CIA then provided the new pliant, Iraqi regime with the names of thousands of communists, and other leftist activists and organizers. Thousands of these supporters of Qasim and his policies were soon dead in a rampage of mass murder carried out by the CIA’s close friends in Iraq.
They will probably also overlook that the American administration helped arm Saddam with WMDs, and disregard the remarks by (Canadian born) U.S. ambassador April Glaspie, the State Department, and Assistant Secretary of State John Kelly over the Kuwaiti invasion.
These inner corners of American politics, and how this knowledge affected the psyche and perspectives of Saddam, will be deliberately omitted.
As a reult, the series will eventually go down in history as a well-designed propaganda piece for an illegal war that destabilized the world for decades.