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Power, Memory and Spectacle on Saddam Hussein’s death Essay

Hussein’s background

Saddam Hussein was born in Tirkrit in the year 1937. He later got married and had three children three of which were girls and two boys. His academic profile is quite impressive despite the hardship of his academic story.

He finished his secondary education in Egypt in 1962 and later he joined a school of law in Cairo where he studied law. He furthered his studies and his studies and received an honorary degree in master of Art in military science. He also received a doctorate in law at the University of Baghdad.

These achievements were fundamental in launching his career in the political scene and most importantly in the global political arena. His political career began with the Arab Baath Socialist Party ‘A.B.S.P’ in 1956 (Lucy & Mickler, 2006). While he was still a student, was in prison for at least six months. This was due to his involvement in political activities that were in rebellion to the then regime.

Abdul-Karim Qassim was the Prime Minister by then and the revolt intended to oust him from power. Saddam was actively involved in this operation and consequently arrested for his role in the revolt. Saddam received gunshots severally by the prime minister’s bodyguards and nursed serious wounds. He was later sentenced to death although he was not yet in the custody police (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

Read this led to his sentence in absentia. He was to be detained later in Iraq later for his leadership in Baghdad but while in prison, he continued with his studies and completed his first year’s study (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

He was chosen to be the leader and later the secretary general of the Arab Baath Socialist Party while still in prison. In 1967, Saddam Hussein escaped from police custody and resumed his role in the revolt against Ahmed.

Rise to power

Saddam holds the record for being the best known but most hated Arab leaders for the last few decades. He was the leader of Iraq for at least two decades and the Iraq government under his leadership was characterized by acts of terror (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

His government was most feared by its citizens than by the rest of the world and he used violence to maintain his political influence in the region. Saddam was one leader who would do anything just to remain in power no matter how much it would compromise the well-being of his people.

The best word that best described his style of leadership was a dictator (Lucy & Mickler, 2006). His approach of inflicting fear on the people scared away the human rights activist and silenced the media (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

These helped him advance his influence since no one within his boarders would dare speak negatively about his governance lest they lose their lives. Immediately he gained power and became the president of Iraq, President Hussein’s first action was to eliminate all of his rivals. His rational was that the only way to unite the country was to eliminate the elements of division who in his opinion were the opposition.

He maintained that his actions had the best interest of the country but in the real sense, his actions were driven by a personal vendetta fueled by greed for power. Saddam’s solution for political dispute eliminated simple and clear the enemy. His terror rule was far much, beyond what a country could take and his influence was quite enhanced.

While he was still hated for his terror even to his own people, Saddam was still admired for his defiance of the western influence and resisting the Israeli. These things gave him great support from the Arab people. However, globally he was a terrorist. The war against Iran was another factor that gave Hussein a great following within his borders although some protested against his actions severely.

Saddam’s strategy for rising to power was by killing and eliminating anyone who threatened his autonomous and dictator rule. Saddam rose to power as fast as he was promoted as the general in the Iraqi armed forces in 1976 (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

His role became even more prominent with the condition of the then head of state Ahmed Hassan. Being unable to perform his duties as the leader of government, Saddam quickly assumed responsibility as the head of sates under de facto terms.

Maintaining power

Cleverly, Saddam while serving as the vice president under General Ahmed Hassan crated a secret security force that was always in the gap while the government and the armed forces were in conflict.

This gave Saddam great support within the military and hence he was able to influence military actions against the prime minister. He was capable of overthrowing the government anytime he wanted to and had the necessary resources to do so (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

Through his security forces, he was able to stabilize the government in a period when the country was very prone to coupes from different rebellions. He nationalized oil resources and all the financial institutions were under his authority.

With the rich oil deposits in Iraq, the country was quickly recovering from the war and the money they remitted through the exportation of oil as quit useful in rebuilding the government (Lucy & Mickler, 2006). With all the financial muscles of the country under Saddam, he was able to take control of the country in all departments (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

By this time he was acting as a de facto head of state under the authority of the then ailing president. Nonetheless, he had already mounted significant support from the military and the citizens already besides his control over the country’s financial systems. In 1979, he was officially the new president of Iraq taking over from General Ahmed Hassan.

In his de facto headship years, Saddam had suppressed many militias and groups who wanted to overthrow the government while the general was ailing. His actions proved advantageous when he rose to power because he had already reduced these groups into powerless organizations hence they did not pose a threat to him or his government.

Government support

It was not until the aftermath of the September 9/11 did the world come to the knowledge of Saddam’s associations with the Al- Qaeda terror group (Kellner, 1989).

Government officials maintain that an extremely enigmatic connection existed between ex- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the drastic Islamist revolutionary group Al-Qaeda. Through a succession of meetings allegedly connecting the Iraqi Intelligence Service, the government received intelligence

Support from the terror group. In the lead up to the Iraq War, U.S. President George W. Bush suspected that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and combative faction al-Qaeda might scheme to instigate revolutionary attacks on the United States hence the government justification to go to war. Iraq attacked Iran, first violating Mehrabad Airport of Tehran and then toward the inside of the oil-rich Iranian land of Khuzestan.

The elimination of Saddam Hussein from authority in Iraq was, in the approved manner, was one of the most important goals of the U.S. government. In view of the fact that the assault of Kuwait in August 1990, the United States saw Saddam as a violent, daring, and megalomaniacal leader.

Steadiness and harmony in the state could not be built but in his absence. Saddam was a dictator and a difficult leader who did not have respect for the rule of law.

He was entire in support of militia groups and the terror organization. Saddam’s supporters were mainly the Arabic countries and the Muslim populated countries around the world such as Libya and Egypt. He was forced to let some of his detained opposition leaders free due to the cutting edge sanctions imposed on Iraq by the international communities.

Leadership model

Entirely, Saddam’s policies were meant to modernize and develop his country. The only problem was that he was using measures that were quite brutal violating other people’s rights (Bromley, 2004).

He was responsible for formulating policies that gave more rights to women, which was a positive gesture on his leadership. Nevertheless, unfortunately, he also sanctioned the murder of ethnic minorities in the country dividing the state into tribal lines (Kellner, 1989).

Dividing the nation brought unimaginable harm to the natives and violence broke up leaving the country in civil war (Bromley, 2004). The Kurds were the greatest affected ethnic group of killed in thousands using chemical weapons. These actions were direct orders from the president himself.

He also had the ambition to take over Iran through military action although the Iranian government was very prepared to oppose him. He lost the battle to conquer Iran. Even after Saddam offered a cease-fire to the Iranian government during the war, they declined and continued the war. They wanted to go on fighting to see that the Saddam administration was overthrown (Bromley, 2004).

By that time, Iraq was still occupying a large portion of the Iranian land but the Iranians were determined to fight Saddam off their land. Saddam’s model of leadership therefore is a confrontational style of governance. His name in effect to that means “the one who confronts.”

When he ordered his troops to take over Kuwait, the Americans responded in defense of Kuwait (Kellner, 1989). The war was very expensive in expressions of the public dead, infrastructure damaged and the amount outstanding acquired, mutually for the two countries (Kellner, 1989).

Iran’s fatalities numbered at in excess of millions while Iraqi fatalities were apropos half a million and this is not together with an anonymous figure of nationals’ deaths. Iran and Iraq both acquired amount overdue of in excess of 600 billion US dollars, and a great deal of Iraq’s oil manufacture infrastructure were in a wreck (Kellner, 1989). In addition, all of this was for nil defensive expansion for each country.

Political repression

The Iraqi government led by Hussein allowed and supported the country’s division along tribal, religious and ethnic grounds. Saddam’s influence was supported by the Sunnis while. His ambitions saw him initiate nuclear enrichment, which became a major concern of the United States (Bromley, 2004).

The Americans were not very comfortable with the reality that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons, which led to the conflict between America Iraq. Iraq under Saddam Hussein became a world enemy.

The Americans mobilized the world against Iraq and its leader and consequently this led to sanctions that brought the country’s economy down (Kellner, 1985). The united nation enforced sanction against Iraq and the dire measures the country suffered greatly.

Saddam had various political pursuits one of them being to capture Kuwait. However, the Americans were keen to question his ambitions and they were restlessly monitoring his military actions against Kuwait (Kellner, 1985). Politically, it was questionable. Both sides maintain they had victory in the war.

Saddam had fruitfully seized in Basra all the way through the conflict and Iran had beaten the original Iraqi assault and if they had conquered the Battle for Basra, would have achieved to cease Baghdad (Kellner, 2003).

Both sides were unsuccessful to attain their affirmed objectives. In Iran, the Islamic rebellion had developed ever more radicalized over the path of the conflict (Kellner, 2003).

Their leaders by no means stopped thinking about US support of Saddam, blaming it for devouring them of conquest (Kellner, 2003). Saddam Hussein dangerously miscalculated the Iranians. The Iraqi bombardment moved forward profoundly into Iran, both countries cities in danger of nightly bombing raids.

On March 20, 2003, alliances of nations, guided by the United States, launched a major martial operation against the government of the Iraqi tyrant, Saddam Hussein (Kellner, 1985).

Branded an alliance of the willing by the community association advisors in the authority of the US administration, merely three nations, the US, the UK, and Australia, in the accounted 49 affiliates of this league, dedicated considerable armed forces to this preliminary variance of “emancipation (Baudrillard, 2003).

Even though the administration of the three nations were unwavering in their longing to attack Iraq and oust Hussein (Kellner, 2003). Their conclusion flashed the biggest pacifist remonstration from the time when the disorderly period of the Vietnam battle (Baudrillard, 2003). A number of survey coverage showed as many as 70 per cent of the inhabitants of the UK and Australia is different to an independent “martial exploit.”

In a mode comparable to the misinformation crusade that came with many of the conflicts of the 20th, governments struggled to give good reason for their position, looking for a way to encourage rather doubtful public of the inevitability of distribution military to a “pre-emptive” conflict (Bromley, 2004).

Relations with the Middle East

Politicians from all nations spoke by means of equally persuasive confidence and polemical strength, discuss Iraq’s management of armaments of mass obliteration in addition to the probable intimidation that Iraq masquerades to both its instantaneous neighbors as well as to the Western world (Kellner, 1985). Communal globe transversely filled the world with descriptions of anguished Iraqis (Kellner, 1985).

The media were a combat zone, with the principles all over in search of purchase inside the intellectual, scientific engine that assist to define the world past the territory of instant occurrence (Baudrillard, 1996).

Both antiviolence politicians as well as the neo-conservative advocates of the assault were engaged in a clash of representation supervision, in parable making and strengthening, chasing one of the basic goals of government, the influencing of approval (Baudrillard, 1996).

While the circumstances in Iraq have changed considerably since then for the most part unsuspecting and victors’ manuscript circulated by the conventional commercial media in the months straight away foregoing and subsequent to the attack, the recitation media performance of early 2003 was just the subsequent episode of a story first fashioned in 1991 (Baudrillard, 2003).

Entitled the Gulf War, at least by the Anglophone information media, this disagreement assisted to institute the moral standard, and the visual modus operandi. This was to be used by the international media in elucidating the 2003 Iraq combat to audiences, portraying a lot of the same leading role and environmental settings, and employing comparable edifying codes of excellence and wickedness (Kellner, 2005).

Although the prompt for this prior divergence were debatably quite unlike those that were initiated by the union attacks 12 years later, audiences of the 2003 Iraq War were by now proverbial with the border and reportage techniques. The tag of a lunatic of the Middle East and “megalomaniac” are repeatedly attached to Saddam but no confirmation or proof he suffered from a psychotic problem (Baudrillard, 1996).

He is not reckless, only acted after well thought-out deliberation, and could be tremendously enduring. Indeed, he used time as a bat (Baudrillard, 1996). While he was sensitively in touch with authenticity, he was often politically out of stroke with reality (Kellner, 2005).

Saddam’s humanity analysis was thin and indistinct; furthermore, he had negligible knowledge outside of the Arab world. His only persistent familiarity with non-Arabs was with his Soviet armed forces advisors, and he apparently had merely gone outside of the Middle East on two occurrences, a concise trip to Paris in 1976, and one more trip to Moscow (Kellner, 2003).

In addition, toadies, frightened by Saddam’s well-founded status for viciousness, encircled him and who are scared to disagree with him (Baudrillard, 1996). He had brutally eliminated superficial intimidation to his power and associates censure with treachery.

When he completely assumed the reins of Iraqi headship, one of his first acts as earlier noted was to put to death 21 high-ranking officials whose allegiance were questionable (Baudrillard, 1996).

The staged meeting was captured on film while the officers were being executed and Saddam himself was in a luxurious room watching the proceedings while smoking cigars (Lucy & Mickler, 2006).

Subsequent to the forced declaration of guilt by a planner whose family had been detained, the remaining higher-ranking officials produced the effecting squads. In 1982, when the war with Iran was going very badly in Iraq and Saddam desired to end the warfare, Khomeini, who was personally absorbed on Saddam, insisted there could be no tranquility until Saddam was detached from the authority (Baudrillard, 1996).

At a cabinet assembly, Saddam asked his ministers to give their recommendations honestly. The Minister of Health recommended Saddam to for the time being to step down, to take up again the government after tranquility had been established.

Saddam purportedly thanked him for his frankness and prearranged his arrest. His wife beseeched for her husband’s return, demonstrating that her husband for all time had been dedicated to Saddam. Saddam assured her that her husband would be brought back home. The following day, Saddam her husband’s dead body was brought back in her home in a black canvas paper bag, sliced into bits.

This mightily enhanced the awareness of the other ministers who were indisputably in their persistence that Saddam should stay in power. Sometimes he wanted forthright recommendation, but it is hard to tell at what time he beyond doubt means it.

The careful penchant was to give him the counsel that he would most probably want to hear (Baudrillard, 1983). Saddam had a propensity to harm people and once his mind was made up, nothing would make hike him think otherwise.

The effect of his actions made the leaders to be afraid of him and they rarely would offer candid counsel even when he truthfully needed (Baudrillard, 1983). Misguided counsel mainly caused his gross miscalculation of political agreements from the panel of intimidated cabinet members. He was a psychopath and would do anything as long he found pleasure in doing it.

He disregarded other people and thought only about himself. His greed and pursuit of power was beyond a normal human understanding capacity. His personal belief was that he was destined to lead the country by GOD and that he was the destiny of the country.


The attempts by the Americans to oust the reign of Saddam leadership were successful although it took quite a long time to find him. This only shows how the leader was well connected and had utmost support. This leaves the question in the face of the anti-terror commitment.

Assuming Saddam Hussein was getting support from other countries, which countries are these (Baudrillard, 1983). In the effort to fight terrorism, I believe finding and fighting the supporters of Saddam Hussein is vital for national and international security.

However, the challenge could be more than meets the eye. The countries and heads of states that supported the insurgent Iraqi president could have had a valid reason to do so (Baudrillard, 1983).

Considering his behavior and rational, Hussein could have threatened his supporters and blackmailed them into complying with his demands. This is a possibility since his actions were clearly evil to all human standards. The world may never ever experience such a reign in future thanks to the American invasion into the country and bringing the dictator to justice.

The great Saddam Hussein will always remain on the books of history but with the dominant factor being his insurgency. Very little or none at all can be remember of the fallen hero or the east. His death alone is the worst way of death that has ever been witnessed for a leader of such magnitude.

What does the future hold for Iraq with the death of its longest serving leader? Things are moving forward in better trend although some people argue that Saddam was instrumental in creating a national defense force to defend his country.

Many people fear that Iran might take control of Iraq soon with their nuclear technology since the Saddam backed military was almost swept away by the American troops during the invasion to apprehend the insurgent leader. The country is prone to attacks from the surrounding nations Iran proving to be the immediate threat to the peace in Iraq.


Baudrillard, J. (1983). Simulations. Semiotext, New York.

Baudrillard, J. (1996). The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. Power Publications, Sydney

Baudrillard, J. (2003). The Spirit of Terrorism and Other Essays. Verso, London.

Bromley, M. (2004). The Battlefield is the Media: War Reporting and the Formation of National Identity in Australia – From Belmont to Baghdad. In S. Allan & B. Zelizer, Semiotext, New York

Kellner, D. (1985). Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and the Politics between the Modern and the Postmodern, Routledge, London.

Kellner, D. (1989). Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond. Polity Press, Cambridge.

Kellner, D. (1992). Persian Gulf War TV War. Westview Press. Oxford.

Kellner, D. (2003). Jean Baudrillard. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), the Blackwell Companion to Major Contemporary Social Theorists, Blackwell, Oxford.

Kellner, D. (2005). Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder.

Lucy, N., & Mickler, S. (2006). The War on Democracy: Conservative Opinion in the Australian Press, University of Western Australia, Crawley.

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"Power, Memory and Spectacle on Saddam Hussein's death." IvyPanda, 22 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/power-memory-and-spectacle-on-saddam-husseins-death/.

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IvyPanda. "Power, Memory and Spectacle on Saddam Hussein's death." January 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/power-memory-and-spectacle-on-saddam-husseins-death/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Power, Memory and Spectacle on Saddam Hussein's death." January 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/power-memory-and-spectacle-on-saddam-husseins-death/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Power, Memory and Spectacle on Saddam Hussein's death'. 22 January.

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