The Rage of George
Rattling of Sabres
The Gods of War
In the Clouds
The Tyrant Flees
Out of Order
Doing the Patriot Act
The Little Prince
Ichor of the Gods
The Price of Peace
Dead or Alive
Across the Border
Summer in the City
Wolf and Jackal
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back in Iraq,
The brothers Hussein settle in Mosul.
Though a stronghold of the Kurds,
A cousin owns a mansion there, owes them favors.
His home is their selected safe house,
With tall walls and palace-like construction.
They make quite the pair, these
Brothers grim, bound by family ties.
Neither chose to return, theyíve been ordered
By Saddam. Udai, wheelchair bound
Finds life difficult and brings a bodyguard.
Qusai, physically fit, brings along his teenage son.
Their cousin Nawaf al-Zidanís a braggart,
Proud of his connection to Saddam.
He flaunts his wealth around town, until
Americans arrive and make new rules.
Zidanís future income may be threatened,
Thirty million for the brothers starts looking good.
The brothersí mission to Iraq is rather simple:
The retrieval and conveyance of currency.
U.S. dollars, many millions, have been
Buried deep in a dozen locations.
The brothers have been told where it is hidden,
Saddam trusts no one else to dig it up.
The family has completed
All the necessary arrangements:
Excavation equipment, trucks for hauling,
Border guards paid off, airplanes chartered.
With guidance from the brothers,
At most itís one weekís work.
Zidan, reluctant host to smugglers,
Carefully considers all his options. He likes
His house, but 30 million will buy another,
He likes his town, but London is acceptable.
He likes his life, but what is life without risk?
Besides, Udai is a miserable whiner.
And so it is that on Tuesday, July 22,
Zidan takes his family out to lunch. A
Small cafťís their choice. Zidan soon leaves
Alone, while his family stays behind and eats.
Meanwhile, the Hussein brothers remain
Inside Zidanís stately home.
Zidan makes the fateful phone call.
He contacts U.S. command, tells them
That two brothers, sons of Saddam,
Are holed up in a house, Zidanís, in Mosul.
For 30 million dollars he will show them.
They readily agree and drive across town.
U.S. troops pull up across the street
From Zidanís grand home. Stone walls
Line its perimeter, construction solid.
The soldiers ring the doorbell, ask
For surrender, unusually polite for an invader,
When shots ring out, they respond with force.
Two hundred soldiers lay siege,
Backed by attack helicopters, fully armed.
A three-hour shoot-out ensues, home destroyed,
Though how four men, one crippled,
Hold off a small army remains a mystery
As does the necessity of such violence.
Riddled by bullets, upper floors destroyed,
The homeís walls collapse. The dust settles,
Sounds of battle fade, a contingent
Of U.S. soldiers enter. Within a bathroom
And bedroom across the hall, four
Bloodied bodies lie sprawled in the dark.
Identificationís tough, thereís too much blood.
One body is a teen, not Saddam's sons.
Another, a stocky man, fits no description.
The other two, unmoving save the pooling blood,
Are full bearded, their injuries severe,
Indications are itís Wolf and Jackal.
Udaiís face is smashed and twisted,
A huge gash runs from below his left eye,
Travels down his nose to his right cheek,
Betraying Udai Husseinís human side.
Where once there was that ruthless smile,
Broken teeth and smashed lips grimace coldly.
Qusai, more handsome than his brother,
Taller, stately, by all reports quite charming,
Though spared the facial wounds, still suffers
Mortal injury. His body pierced by munitions,
Thrown against walls by rocket concussions,
He lies eyes open, staring at eternal darkness.
The deaths are speedily announced,
A fine distraction from stories of uranium.
The streets erupt in gunfire, displays of jubilation.
Despite the mixed feelings about U.S. occupation,
Most Iraqis fear Saddamís regime more,
And exclaim their joy with bullets.
Some donít believe itís true, suspect
The dead are body doubles. Iraqis won't
Be convinced unless the bodies are shown,
So the U.S. uses of photos of the dead,
Pictures of the boys in all their gory glory,
Displayed on CNN and NBC.
The mangled face and ragged beards
Make public recognition too hard. Two
Days later, new photographs are shown
Of the brothers' reconstructed shaven faces.
A line of stitches forms a ďVĒ below their collars,
As though heads had been affixed to new torsos.
Itís not revealed who squealed, though neighbors
Suspect Zidan, who watched it all, his
House bombarded, walls collapsed, sitting
In a Hummer sipping iced tea like a tourist,
Like a man without a care, completely unworried,
Windows up, cool in the air conditioning.
L. Paul Bremer makes a prediction: The demise
Of Saddamís sons will result in fewer U.S. deaths,
Or perhaps more. True to his amazingly
Astute evaluation, within days the U.S.
Suffers its week of highest casualties,
Four soldiers killed in ambush on just one day.