The Real Uday

In 2003 — after the fall of Iraq in the 2nd Gulf War, but before the Husseins had been captured and killed — TIME published an article that outlined in astonishing, horrifying detail the crimes of Uday and Qusay Hussein. It’s a terrific read, and gives a clear window into Uday’s character in the play.

Here’s a brief excerpt — I strongly suggest reading the whole thing, HERE.

It has long been known in Iraq and beyond that as venal and vicious as Saddam Hussein was, Uday was worse. Now that the regime has fallen, the quotidian details of the son’s outrages are beginning to emerge. With Iraqis free to speak more openly, it has become clear that the malignancy of Uday’s behavior actually exceeded that of his reputation. At the same time, new hints are emerging about his psychological state. Uday, now 38, suffered not only from the anguish of Saddam’s disapproval—the son was too unprincipled even for his father—but also often from physical pain as a result of the 1996 attempt on his life. {…}  Uday demonstrated an insatiable sexual appetite. Five nights a week, some two dozen girls, all of them referred to him by his friends, were taken to the posh Baghdad Boat Club on the bank of the Tigris to meet Uday, close associates of his confirm. After drinks, music and dancing, the young women would be lined up like beauty queens for Uday’s approval, and all but one or two would be dismissed. Those who stayed would join Uday in his bedroom at the club and leave with a gift of 250,000 dinars ($125), gold jewelry or sheer lingerie. “He never slept with a girl more than three times,” says a former butler. “He was very picky.” Uday took two days a week off from girls. {…}  A chef at Baghdad’s exclusive Hunting Club recalls a wedding party that Uday crashed in the late 1990s. After Uday left the hall, the bride, a beautiful woman from a prominent family, went missing. “The bodyguards closed all the doors, didn’t let anybody out,” the chef remembers. “Women were yelling and crying, ‘What happened to her?'” The groom knew. “He took a pistol and shot himself,” says the chef, placing his forefinger under his chin. Last October another bride, 18, was dragged, resisting, into a guardhouse on one of Uday’s properties, according to a maid who worked there. The maid says she saw a guard rip off the woman’s white wedding dress and lock her, crying, in a bathroom. After Uday arrived, the maid heard screaming. Later she was called to clean up. The body of the woman was carried out in a military blanket, she said. There were acid burns on her left shoulder and the left side of her face. The maid found bloodstains on Uday’s mattress and clumps of black hair and peeled flesh in the bedroom. A guard told her, “Don’t say anything about what you see, or you and your family will be finished.”

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