As much as there is to dislike about The New York Times, they do happen to have some great reporters. John Burns is the best of the lot and in a just world would be on track for the first Iraqi Freedom Pulitzer. Today he reports on the strange behavior (or more accrurately, the lack of behavior) of the late Butcher of Baghdad:
But what has added to the mystery since Thursday is that Mr. Hussein, normally inclined to issue long, grandiose statements at times of crisis, has simply disappeared.
All he has left to Iraq's 24 million people at a time of crisis is the five-minute, disjointed, hand-lettered denunciation on Thursday of the "criminal little Bush," and his vow to Iraqis that "these days will add to your glorious history."
Today, attempts by reporters to gain some elucidation met with a blank wall. At a news conference, an American reporter asked when Mr. Hussein would be making another address on the war to the Iraqi people.
"Next!" the information minister, Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, said sharply, beckoning to another reporter for a new question.
Moments later, a different reporter tried again. Had the minister seen Mr. Hussein in person at any time in the last few days?
"Next! Next!" Mr. Sahhaf replied, still more testily, then demanded: "Please ask something reasonable."