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16 December 2003

Things that make me suspicious

And I am not even sure of what. The Sunday Times (London, not NY) had a cover story about Saddam's fourth wife, Samira. In an interview in Beirut, where she is currently in hiding, she claimed that she received weekly phone calls from Saddam. This was published just hours before it became known in the UK that Saddam had been captured the day before. (When I read this, it was about 9 am, and the TV news began reporting it about that time here. It would have been 4 am EST so the news was available in the US but most people were asleep.) At the time, I thought to myself that there must be a connection between these stories. But to my surprise, the Samira story just vanished from media consciousness. The Telegraph says only:
"It is unclear how Saddam communicated with his followers. There was no confirmation that he was in regular touch with his wife, as was reported over the weekend, or that he spoke by satellite telephone with his sons, Uday and Qusay, before they were killed." And that is the only reference to that story I can find on Google News.
OK, that's fine. The only basis for believing the weekly phone call story is Samira's word, and she seems, from the rest of her interview in the Times, to have a high facility for comforting self-delusion. But still, doesn't a connection between the tracing of the mysterious wife, whose photograph has never been published, and the discovery of the hiding husband, at least suggest itself and seem worthy of discussion?
Or maybe I am just sick of hours of pointless speculation about "Saddam's fate" in the guise of news, and would rather see some speculation about things that may or may not have happened, rather than about things which in any case cannot happen yet. This just tickles another of my pet peeves about the UK: about 90% of the "news" is about the future, and sometimes they seem to just let the present go by in a blur.

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