In a startling development, Attorney General John Ashcroft has announced that he will seek a plea bargain deal with Saddam Hussein. In exchange for telling his interrogators, private contractors hired from a number of IT firms that have made serious contributions to the Bush for President campaign, what happened to the WMDs, he will be released and sent into exile at Gstadt, where a luxurious villa will be waiting for him. "All is forgiven," Ashcroft said. "Just tell us where they are."
Saddam Hussein’s defense lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, has confirmed that the negotiations for the deal are under way. "I have no doubt," Dershowitz said at a press conference held at his office at Harvard Law School, where he is a professor, "that should my client go to trial, he will be acquitted. The evidence against him is flimsy and there are no witnesses prepared to testify. This deal will satisfy the interests of justice and the national security needs of the United States."
"Is this a tougher case than Klaus von Bulow?" a reporter asked.
"It’s not that it’s tougher. It’s just that it will be harder to cast Saddam Hussein in the movie than von Bulow. Jeremy Irons was perfect."
"How about Harrison Ford?"
"Could be. With some makeup and a false nose and moustache. You could be on to something there."
"Would it be called ‘Reversal of Fortune Two’?
Dershowitz smiled back at the reporter: "I like ‘All Is Forgiven.’ It has some compassion to it."
"Has your client discussed the WMDs with you?"
Dershowitz glared: "That’s a matter of attorney-client privilege. But if the deal goes through, he will provide all the information that he has available. Most of his files were destroyed in the bombings and he has been having serious memory problems related to the trauma. We have a team of neuropsychiatrists to testify to that."
Another reporter from The New York Times, a woman with large glasses questioned: "Have you spoken with Attorney General Ashcroft?"
"Yes. By phone."
"How would you characterize the conversation?"
"It was cordial. Quite cordial. The attorney general wants this case disposed of as quickly as possible."
"For one thing, he would be comfortable there. There is good medical care, and lots of wealthy people, like himself."
"But they wouldn’t talk to him."
"He will have his entourage to keep him company. He plans on taking up skiing."
"How would the deal actually work?" a small reporter from the Washington Post asked.
"Saddam Hussein would sign the agreement to tell all he knows. Then he will be flown to Gestaadt, where he will be interrogated at his villa."
"We know about attorney-client privilege," the Post reporter pressed, " but what is Saddam Hussein likely to say about the WMDs?"
"To be honest, I’m not sure of that. As I said, his memory is faulty. But I think he will be honest. I think he will say, in all probability, that he destroyed all of them but that he doesn’t remember when. That’s the catch. By saying that, he makes it possible for Bush to say they existed up to and after the invasion."
"OK, OK," the Post guy continued. "Is that the basis for the deal? That it bales out Bush and shuts up Paul O’Neill?"
"That’s a question for Ashcroft. I’m Saddam Hussein’s lawyer. My job is to get him the best deal possible."
"You wrote a book called ‘The Case for Israel.’ Don’t you see a contradiction in representing Israel’s greatest enemy?"
"Not at all. Everyone is entitled to legal representation. If I paid attention to the character of my clients, I would be reduced to representing Mr. Rogers."
"But he’s dead."
"Exactly the point."
"And don’t you think it’s wrong to let this terrible dictator get off so easy?"
"Hey" Dershowitz grinned, "Bush is the guy who is getting off easy."
"Exactly. If there were no WMDs and he lied, he could be impeached. This way, he will be reelected."
"And that doesn’t bother you?"
"I’m a liberal. Everyone knows that. But my main concern is for my client. That’s how it goes. That’s how it works. My role as a lawyer comes first."
"Even if it means that the worst dictator gets off and the worst president gets reelected?"
"Whoever said this was a perfect world?"
Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, The Immortalists, as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, and the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is writing a new book, The Road To Baghdad — The Money Trail Behind The War In Iraq.