Tape Shows Exhausted, Confused Saddam
In what is purported to be his last known wartime speech — a video never before televised — Saddam Hussein appears exhausted, at times confused and seemingly resigned to defeat, but he tells Iraqis that God, somehow, will help them expel the American-British occupiers.
In the videotaped speech, Saddam — nearing his 66th birthday, and wearing his familiar open-necked olive drab uniform and black beret — appears deeply fatigued, like someone who had slept little. The bags under his eyes droop more heavily than before. His speech is abnormally slow, and he seldom raises his eyes from the text to look into the camera.
Twice he repeats a sentence of the speech — not for emphasis, but out of apparent confusion. He seems on edge, not surprisingly for someone whose government has been under devastating air and ground attack for three weeks.
As he prepares to begin the speech, in a generic room with a backdrop of pink-and-orange drapes, he says to aides, "The sooner we finish it, the better."
Then, at the end, Saddam adds an uncharacteristically human note of uncertainty. "How was my reading as a whole?" he asks people off camera, and then adds, "It's OK."