Debate coaches and experts on rhetoric should be paying close attention to the adroit argumentation of Saddam Hussein during his trial. This clever fellow didn't get to be the dictator of Iraq because of a low I.Q. Follow carefully his piercing logic and witty rejoinders and you will recognize his skill at debate. Here are some helpful tips from Saddam:
1. Make Your Opponents Look Like Idiots: During the trial proceedings on Wednesday, Saddam complained that he was brought to the court room against his will from the hospital. Saddam was in the hospital on a hunger strike. Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman resorted to common sense and evidence when he disagreed with Saddam. The judge produced a medical report showing that Saddam was in fine health. It's at this juncture in the debate that Saddam shows his skill: he replies, "I didn't say I was ill; I was on a hunger strike." Boo-yah, judge! You were thinking it was all about being healthy enough to meet the responsibility of attending a court proceeding, but Saddam made you look like a fool! You have to pay attention judge! There's nothing worse than interrupting a man's hunger strike.
2. Make Up Meaningless Credentials: If you let the facts get in the way, you might lose your debate. For example, Saddam never served in the military. He is a politician, and he did appoint himself a general when he took control of Iraq in 1979. But these facts did not keep him from appealing to the court to remember that he is a military man. Of course he made that point to ask for the privilege of being executed by a firing squad rather than hung like a common criminal. This is of course Saddam's way of saying, "You've already made your minds up." Bravo, Hussein. Work on their sympathy. Can you feel the tears welling up?
3. Occasionally Refer to Yourself in the Third Person. During his appeal for a firing squad, Saddam said "You have to remember that Saddam is a military man and in this case the verdict should be death by shooting not by hanging," he told the judge. On a different occasion he protested his court-appointed attorney by shouting, "Is he a lawyer for Saddam Hussein or the prosecution?" It lends a certain authoritative madness to your line of reasoning when you talk about yourself as another person. Bob Dole tried to do this during the 1992 election. But he cannot hold a candle to Saddam who takes it one step further by telling the whole court his name. Take notes and observe: When the judge accused Saddam of inciting violence against Iraqis, he replied, "I am inciting the killing of Americans and invaders, not the killing of Iraqis." He could have stopped there, but that would be no better than a schoolyard quarrel of the "Yes, you are/No I'm not" variety. So, Saddam adds some style and flourish by exclaiming, "I am Saddam Hussein! I call on Iraqis to be in harmony and work on evicting the invaders." Now that seals an argument, right? "I am Saddam Hussein." Just try it when you are in an argument with your spouse.
4. Use Colorful Expressions: Judge Abdel-Rahman is so enslaved to common sense that it is easy to see why he cannot hold his own against Hussein. In reply to Saddam's rant that he is aiming his faithful at Americans rather than Iraqis, the judge asks the obvious question: ""Why are they attacking Iraqis in coffee shops and markets? Why don't they go detonate themselves among Americans?" Whoa! That's a tough one. It seems like point and match to the judge, but Saddam shows his skill by retorting with a very carefully crafted and vivid expression. He replied to the judge, "This case is not worth the urine of an Iraqi child." Slamdunk! There's the phrase that will win any contest. Yet, such phrases have to be carefully thought out. A novice might say that this case is not worth the urine of a adult Swede, but it takes an expert like Saddam to know the relative value of urines.