- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2002

BAGHDAD Libya's Moammar Gadhafi has his "Green Book." China's Mao Tse-tung had his "Little Red Book." Now, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has a pocket-size, white-bound pamphlet filled with his words of wisdom.
The pamphlet includes such advice as, "Don't be attracted to easy paths because the paths that make your feet bleed are the only way to get ahead in life."
Earlier this year, the Iraqi Information Ministry brought out "Saddam Hussein: Great Lessons, Commandments to Strugglers, the Patient and Holy Warriors." Most Iraqis were already familiar with the free pamphlet's contents: 57 quotations drawn from speeches made by Saddam, including one in 2000 marking the 12th anniversary of the end of the Iran-Iraq war.
Since 2000, selections from the 57 commandments have been painted on school walls, carved on statues, printed in Iraqi newspapers, splashed across huge billboards, framed and placed on the walls in government offices, printed in Iraqi newspapers all of which are controlled by the state, Saddam's Ba'ath party or Saddam's son, Odai.
The Muslim call to prayer is broadcast on state television in Iraq, and after every call five times daily a few of the commandments are read.
Saddam's commandments cover all aspects of life. He advises against making decisions in anger or humiliating enemies after defeating them. He calls for doing good, depending on brains as well as brawn, ruling fairly, planning well, keeping people's secrets and learning from others' mistakes.
At Baghdad's Al-Quds Elementary School, the commandments are painted in black and red on the walls of the entrance and in the classrooms.
"Who is going to recite for us one of the leader's commandments?" Al-Quds Principal Khawla al-Ani said after introducing a reporter to a class of earnest little girls.
Seven-year-old Ilaf Marwan raised her hand, then stood and recited confidently: "Keep your eyes on your enemy and be faster than him."
The principal called Saddam's commandments "lessons from the heart to the heart."
Such praise for Saddam is common in Iraq, where criticism of him can bring jail or worse. The United States may consider him a stockpiler of weapons of mass destruction who gives terrorists a haven and leads an "axis of evil." But in Iraq, according to a blurb on his pamphlet, he is a "great son" of the Arabs.
Sabih Fakher, an Information Ministry official who helped compile the pamphlet, said the commandments are "very important lessons to the people of Iraq in the shadow of the continuous aggression and the unjust siege."
The United States has threatened to topple Saddam's government if he does not cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors who resumed their search for weapons of mass destruction last month for the first time in four years.
Iraq denies that it has such weapons. The United States and Britain insist Saddam is hiding some.
If Saddam is seeking advice as the standoff intensifies, he might turn to Page 11 of his pamphlet:
"Don't provoke a snake unless you have the intention and power to cut off its head."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide