Saddam's lawyers call it quits
SADDAM HUSSEIN had 1,100 defense attorneys. But they've all quit because they were worried about being killed. How unlucky for Saddam is that?
I mean, when you are one of the biggest mass murderers in history you'd be lucky to get just one lawyer to defend you. But Saddam somehow bamboozled 1,100 lawyers into trying to save him. I covered courts for many years and never heard of a defendant having more than 1,000 attorneys. I'm not even sure how you'd divide up all that legal muscle. The first couple of hundred attorneys would handle cross examination of the prosecution witnesses. Another couple of hundred would build the defense's case in chief. A hundred will make runs to Starbucks? You still have several hundred lawyers sitting around waiting for stuff to do. O.J. Simpson managed to get by -- and get off -- with only five attorneys.
It doesn't matter for Saddam. Two lawyers representing his co-defendants were assassinated and so all of his 1,100 lawyers have decamped. They wanted the trial moved to a country with a lower attorney-assassination rate. One member of the defense team said "you can't have a trial in a country where there is absolutely no authority."
Yeah, there's no authority because Saddam killed thousands of people and that drove his country into a war that he lost. For Saddam to decry a lack of authority is like a kid killing his parents and then throwing himself on the mercy of the court because he's an orphan.
And why is Saddam mounting such a vigorous defense, anyway? It's not like he's afraid to die. After all, he would be a martyr and have 72 virgins waiting for him in paradise. Maybe Saddam realizes that getting 72 virgins isn't all its cracked up to be. Hey, he had 1,100 lawyers and look how that turned out.
Saddam talks a good game when it comes to this martyrdom business. But he seems a bit skeptical on the outcome. Maybe he's inspired by the Iraqi woman who tried to blow herself up with her husband in an Amman, Jordan, hotel last week. Male suicide bombers allegedly get 72 virgins. What does a female bomber get? A microwave oven and a box of chocolates? That could explain why the wife didn't actually blow herself up. She had "technical difficulties."
Yeah. Right. I think she pulled a fast one on her hubby. ( "Push the button, honey. I'm right behind you. Really. Enjoy the virgins. Adios to you and your microwave oven, smart guy.")
Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org