A hell of a coup

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New York

And now for Rosebud, the single childhood incident that will illuminate us as to why Saddam did what he did. His was the kind of life Freudian complexes are made of, except for the fact old Saddy had no complexes. If I were to guess, I imagine some North American Man Boy Love Association member abused him when he was tiny in Tikrit. If I were Saddy I'd use that defence in a jiffy. It's got everyone else off the hook, so why not him.

Mind you, I haven't seen such chest-banging over his capture since Uncle Sam victoriously invaded the Grenadines, or was it Grenada? Let's face it, even for those who were against the war, like myself, catching Saddam is a hell of a coup, especially as he was the one who personally ordered the Saudis to fly the planes into the World Trade Center. (We know that because the convicted embezzler Ahmad Chalabi has told us so.) Now all we need is to find and capture the rest of the gang who played footsie with Saddam during the Eighties. People like Fahd, Bandar, Bin Laden, Bin Drinkin, Bin Smokin, Bouf Kaka, Donald Rumsfeld, and others too insignificant to mention.

The trial, needless to say, will be a disappointment. Nothing will emerge because Saddy knew very little to begin with. The only thing he possessed was brutality, and a certain peasant cunning. Let's not forget that he fell because he advertised he had weapons he never had. His thieving minions took him to the cleaners, and the Americans finished the job. For certain, weapons will be found, but just before next year's American elections. Saddam's hero was obviously Nero. While the Roman fiddled as the city burned, the Iraqi wrote a novel while Baghdad did a Br'nnhilde. Not even Hitler played it that cool. The Iraqis, of course, should be the ones to try him.

Some Belgian child-molesters are already making noises about an international trial, and let's not forget the egregious social climber Baltazar Garcon in the land of bullshit and bullfighting. The Greeks, for once, are keeping their mouths shut. A good Greek buddy of mine in the oil business always claimed he knew Saddam. He told me that the Iraqi was extremely paranoiac about safety, but very civil and polite when up close. I am also told that Lavrenti Beria was quite civil, even when drunk. One thing is for sure: if he's allowed to talk in an open tribunal, lotsa people will find it embarrassing, although very few will believe anything he comes up with. He proved he was a fool when he didn't use the gun on himself. The only thing that bothers me is that he styled himself as a novelist after Ernest Hemingway, as big an insult to Papa as Papa's marriage to the egregious Martha Gellhorn was.

But enough about the sad sack. President Bush will now liberate the rest of the world from non-democratic leaders, starting with China, Saudi Arabia, all of Africa, Monte Carlo, Liechtenstein and Brunei, where the Sultan follows the noble tradition of the Saudis in taking it from the ground and investing it in hookers, yachts and palaces.

And speaking of the Sultan of Brunei, the new owner of Asprey's, Lawrence Stroll, gave some party here in the Bagel. Two giant topiary elephants dominated Fifth Avenue as the beautiful people rushed in. Admittedly, Asprey's is one of the most beautiful stores this poor little Greek boy has ever seen. Designed by Norman Foster, it doesn't even sway when people walk in. Later, at a dinner for 300 at the Four Seasons organised by Serena Boardman, I made a fool of myself when seated next to the wife of Stroll's partner, Silas Chou. 'You like New York?' I asked the kind Chinese lady, speaking very slowly. 'Especially at this time of year...' came the answer in perfect English. And it got worse. Spotting a pretty blonde, I chatted her up for a bit, and then asked her to leave her husband and live it up for a change. We spoke in French, as the lady was Belgian. She turned out to be Mrs Stroll, my hostess, but what's a faux-pas or two between friends?

Fergie, who had been flown over for the occasion, made a very dumb speech, asking her host where he came from, and repeating the question to Silas Chou. My excuse is that I had paid for my own taxi, but had I been flown over by Mr Stroll I would at least have bothered to find out that he's a Canadian and a very generous host at that.

And to finish on a Canadian note. As my friend Bob Tyrrell wrote, 'Pile on! is our battle cry.' Never have I seen such unfair vituperation against our proprietor Lord Black. Saddam almost gets off lightly compared to Black. The worst came from a newspaper owned by one Arthur Carter, a shadowy figure who owns the paper in order to shower abuse on those he considers better than him, which is hundreds of millions, give or take a mil. The language used was as vicious as it gets, which of course I won't repeat. Then the penny dropped. Carter is the man who had shaken hands and had agreed on a price with Conrad Black, only to change the numbers the next day as they sat down to sign. Carter was also once a partner of Ivan Boesky. Need I say more. As the old saying has it, judge a man by his enemies, not by his friends.