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Spinning Out of Control

Top 10 tales from the surreal Baghdad Bob

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Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, nicknamed Baghdad Bob, The Persian Rush Limbaugh, and Comical Ali, developed a reputation for his eccentric spin on the Iraqi war. A website devoted to his brand of verbal lunacy became so popular, it had to be shut down. But his notoriety reached new heights last week when website Herobuilders.com offered a talking "Iraqi Dis-information Minister Action Figure Doll" for $35.95.The doll comes with four digitally sampled phrases from al-Sahhaff's repertoire, but, sadly, none of the sayings are on my personal Top Ten Baghdad Bob Pronouncements list (please note that not one of these is made up):

10. "It has been rumored that we have fired Scud missiles into Kuwait. I am here now to tell you, we do not have any Scud missiles and I don't know why they were fired into Kuwait."

9. "I can say, and I am responsible for what I am saying, that they have started to commit suicide under the walls of Baghdad and I encourage them to increase the rate of suicide."

8. "The cruise missiles do not frighten anyone. We are catching them like fish in a river. I mean here that over the past two days, we managed to shoot down 196 missiles before they hit their target."

7. "They are a superpower of villains. They are a superpower of Al Capone."

6. "We made them drink poison last night and Saddam Hussein's soldiers and his great forces gave the Americans a lesson which will not be forgotten by history. Truly."

5. "There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad. There is no presence of the American columns in the city of Baghdad at all. We besieged them and we killed most of them." (Said to journalists on the roof of the Palestine Hotel as gunfire echoed a few hundred yards away).

4. "They are sending their warplanes to fly very low in order to have vibrations on these sacred places . . . They are trying to crack the buildings by flying low over them."

3. "They started throwing booby traps on the Iraqi villages and townships. Do you know what are the booby traps? Pens and pencils. The authority of the civil defense issued a warning to the civilian population not to pick up any of those pencils because they are booby traps. They have started throwing those pencils, but they are not pencils, they are booby traps to kill the children."

2. "Don't repeat the lies of the liars. As our leader Saddam Hussein said, God is grilling their stomachs in hell. I think we will finish them soon."

And the number 1 quote from (former) Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf is:

1. "Iraq will not be defeated. Iraq has now already achieved victory -- apart from some technicalities."

Al-Sahhaf's whereabouts have been unknown since the fall of Baghdad.

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