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Saddam's Home Videos

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press) -- Home videos of Saddam Hussein shot many years ago show fleeting glimpses into the private life of the longtime dictator and his first wife, Sajida. The four tapes, showing benign scenes of Saddam's private life in the late 1980s, were obtained earlier this week by CNN from an Iraqi who said he took it from Sajida's house.

More disturbing to U.S. officials, however, was a trio of videocassettes found Thursday and shown on Fox News that depict another, darker dimension to the deposed Iraqi leader.

In the first video, Saddam is seen addressing a contingent of advisors and military personnel when suddenly, an object -- thought by State Department analysts to be a golf ball or quite possibly a colorless rock -- strikes the Iraqi dictator in the groin. Saddam then falls to the ground wailing in agony, as his advisors suppress chuckles. Moments later, Saddam looks off camera. "Did you get that, Odai?" he says in Farsi, apparently to his eldest son behind the camera. "Saget's $10,000 prize will be mine at last."

A State Department official, speaking on conditional of anonymity, said the video could have been a message from Saddam to stiffen resistance among his top loyalists or a message to Iraqi citizens to warn them against assisting U.S.-led coalition forces. "Or he could be trying to get on America's Funniest Home Videos, the official added.

In the second videotaped aired by Fox News, Hussein sings a passable rendition of "You Light Up My Life," adding a particularly tremulous vibrato on the refrain. "Let us see the infidel Simon Cowell use his forked tongue to defile that performance," the Iraqi leader remarks, in what appears to be some sort of audition tape.

The most chilling of the three videos features Hussein meeting with advisors and planning a chemical gas attack on Kurds in an apparent attempt to recreate a stunt he saw on Jackass. A spokesman for Viacom, which airs Jackass on MTV, noted that the show usually contains several disclaimers reminding viewers that the stunts on Jackass are performed by trained professionals and that the episode featuring a VX nerve gas attack was no exception.


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