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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Essay on Saddam Hussein's Character and Personality

Saddam Hussein’s personality was once described as a malignant narcissism.  He was described as suffering from malignant narcissism in view of the following core personalities.  First, Saddam Hussein exhibited dreams of grandiosity. He was an over-confident leader who was self-absorbed about his dreams and ambitions.  As a result, he became incapable of sympathy.  He lacked the capacity to feel and understand the pain and suffering of other people.  It is this lack of sympathy that drove him to committing the monstrous acts not only against his enemies but even against his allies.

Saddam Hussein also showed that he was anti-social.  He was so overpowered by his dreams that he had become capable of violating all social rules and norms to achieve his lofty goals.  In fact, as a young boy, he thought that it was his prophesy to be rule Iraq and to free Iraq against foreign domination and control.

He also exhibited signs of paranoia.  During his reign, Saddam Hussein executed a number of relatives and allies whom he thought were his enemies.  His paranoia drove him to committing monstrous acts.  Among the individuals he had executed in the past were his two cousins.  Moreover, in 1979, as soon as he had formally assumed leadership in Iraq, one of his first acts was to execute his twenty senior officials whose loyalty he doubted. (Jerrold Post 3)

He was also ruthless, sadistic and without any control.  Because of his hatred for the British government which imprisoned his uncle who cared for him, he developed anger against any kind of foreign domination and control.

Despite these psychological characteristics, Saddam Hussein led Iraq for several decades.  He was able to convince his people that his actions had purpose and that he had legitimate reasons for committing the monstrous acts he had just committed.  He had numerous supporters even at the time he was executed by the United States for his crimes against humanity.  In fact, when the United States occupied Iraq after the execution of Saddam Hussein, many soldiers of the United States were killed by Iraqi supporters who used their body as weapons against the soldiers.  They would strap explosives to their bodies and sacrifice themselves in an attempt to show the United States that they were against foreign control.

This only shows that despite his uncontrolled aggression and violence against his people, he was loved by many.  In fact, he was able to justify his acts of violence as a necessity for protecting the people of Iraq.  In one of his messages of victory to his people, Saddam Hussein said that:

“This is the only way to deal with these despicable Croesuses who relished possession to destroy devotion...who were guided by the foreigner instead of being guided by virtuous standards, principles of pan-Arabism, and the creed of humanitarianism....The second of the legitimate newborn child of the struggle, patience and perseverance of the Kuwaiti people, which was crowned by revolutionary action on that immortal day. The newborn child was born of a legitimate father and an immaculate mother. Greetings to the makers of the second of August whose efforts God has blessed. They have achieved one of the brightest, most promising and most principled national and pan-Arab acts. Two August has come as a very violent response to the harm that the foreigner had wanted to perpetrate against Iraq and the nation. The Croesus of Kuwait and his aides became the obedient, humiliated and treacherous dependents of that foreigner...What took place on 2 August was inevitable so that death might not prevail over life, so that those who were capable of ascending to the peak would not be brought down to the abysmal precipice, so that corruption and remoteness from God would not spread to the majority...Honor will be kept in Mesopotamia so that Iraq will be the pride of the Arabs, their protector, and their model of noble values.” (Jerrold M. Post 3)

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History is replete is stories about military leaders who rose to prominence because of their ruthlessness.  One such leader was King David.  During his reign, King David invaded many territories.  In the course of these invasions, King David made sure that the soldiers he fought against were entirely decimated by his armies.  He made sure that the attacks were not only ruthless but violent.  He wanted to ensure that people from other territories will learn about his accomplishments and the manner he destroyed all his enemies.  It was his goal to sow fear among all his enemies.  For him, fear was a friend which will ensure his victory against all his enemies.

Thus, in all his battles he made sure to annihilate the entire armies he fought against.  All soldiers were ruthlessly killed.  He made sure that the territories he conquered will not have the opportunity or the capacity for future insurrections and rebellions. For a while, King David was able to conquer numerous territories using this strategy.  Yet, despite his violence, King David is known now as a great military leader.

Saddam Hussein who was familiar with the military feats of past conquerors like Nebuchadnezzar emulated these military leaders in the hope of expanding the influence ofIraq.  Like the military leaders before him, he instilled fear among his enemies.  He used his ruthlessness so that everybody will fear him.  He also sought to eliminate any enemy that may be considered as threat to his leadership.  Saddam Hussein has shown that loyalty was the only thing that could keep any person alive.  He had shown that any act that may cause him to question the loyalty of his allies will lead to their death.

It is easy to think of Saddam as a crazy lunatic in Iraq.  He sees himself as one of the greatest leaders of all time ranking himself in the likes of Ho Chi Minh and Mao Ze Dong.  He had one of the grandest dreams for Iraq similar to the time when military leaders used to conquer other countries for purpose of territorial expansion.  He also used violence and aggression as his primary tool to achieve his goal.  However, the actions of Saddam will reveal that he was more than a madman but a shrewd tactician.  He was a cautious man who will stop at nothing to achieve his ambition.  He was a man who eliminated any kind of threats to his leadership even his allies.  He was also the man who outsmarted the United States and the rest of the world for decades.

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