Saddam Hussein is delusional and he really doesn't know what's going on in the world outside his prison. According to some of the soldiers who guarded the former dictator, he even expects to return to power.

Sean: "But he wanted to be friends with them. Towards the end, he was saying that he doesn't hold any hard feelings and he just wanted to talk to Bush, to make peace with him."

Jesse: "He thought that Bush could forgive and forget about what has happened. 'He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he'll never find them.' "

Based on my understanding of Arab culture (poor at best), Hussein wants to make "friends" with President Bush because in his experience power is built and maintained through personal relationships with other powerful people. Arab governments are not ruled by laws, but by the whims of individual "power brokers" who conspire together to stay on top (much like mob bosses). They promote and reward people who are loyal to them personally and punish dissenters. When threatened, they resolve the issue by either killing the boss who's threatening them or making "friends". Hussein was never the only power in Iraq, but he stayed on top because he knew who to make friends with and who to kill. He knew how to play all the other sides against each other, and he made it profitable for other ambitious bosses to fall in line rather than fight him. Hussein probably thinks that if he could talk to President Bush they could reach an arrangement of some sort that would put Hussein back in power. Think Sopranos.

A final thought: all bureaucracies work this way to some degree. The benefit of rule-of-law is that it reduces the ability of the wielders of public power to use that power for their own benefit. Loyalty to a person is undermined by loyalty to an ideal, the law, which in and of itself does not hand out favors or punishments based on personal ambition. This idea is why, for instance, I'm so opposed to the lack of enforcement of our immigration laws. When laws are only enforced based on the whims of the individual enforcers, a society will eventually decay into a feudal bureaucracy.



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