Outstanding Questions


Nick asks some of the questions Dan Rather didn't in his interview, but before we leave behind the issue, I've got some followup questions. Why, when Saddam claimed to get 99.6 percent and 100 percent of the vote in two elections, and that "even if you take out whatever portion you want to take out of that, then the ratio would remain high in favor of reelecting Saddam Hussein," was there no followup to that? Leave aside that Saddam's actual level of support is of more than incidental interest to America right now; I just want to know what math he's using. What if you take away a portion of 99.6 percent? Does he believe that a certain percentage would favor him even if their ballots were not monitored? What percentage would that be? Does he let Tikritis vote freely, but control the vote everywhere else? What does he estimate would be his margin of victory in a secret ballot? Clearly, he seems to believe that he does have some amount of popular support; his comment about taking away a portion indicates that—and tacitly acknowledges that the vote is a fraud and therefore fungible.

Anyway, I wouldn't mind if Rather had passed on this line of questioning, but what really bothers me is how any journalist could come face to face with Saddam Hussein and not ask him about the Koran written in his own blood.