Internet offers deals mocking Iraqi leaders

Merchandise lets public `join in the war' by buying

War In Iraq

April 20, 2003|By Roy Rivenburg | Roy Rivenburg,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For souvenir hunters, the next best thing to looting one of Saddam Hussein's palaces is scrounging for war curios on the Internet.

The list of trinkets ranges from Bomb Saddam hot sauce and Iraqi Road ice cream to Hussein pinatas and "Shock and Awe" underwear.

The biggest cache of merchandise is on eBay, with about 3,000 war-related items, mostly Iraqi coins and bills, but also such novelty products as Hussein condoms, puppets and voodoo dolls; "Pave Iraq" wristwatches; terrorist body bags; and wacky T-shirts.

Why buy this stuff? "It's an attempt, as civilians, to join in the war," psychiatrist Mark Goulston says. "The thing all these items have in common is that they ridicule Saddam Hussein. People intuitively understand that the one thing that psychopaths and narcissists like Hussein can't stand is to be humiliated."

Some of the items are recycled from 1991's Persian Gulf war, but 2003 originals include:

Talking dolls: A 12-inch-high action figure of Iraq's most famous optimist, Information Minister Mohammed Said Sahhaf. Push a button and he utters such trademark phrases as "There are no infidels in Baghdad. Never!" and "Our initial assessment is that they will all die." They cost $36 at www.hero- builders.com, which also offers a talking Bush doll, Osama bin Laden in a pink dress, Hussein wearing a sadomasochism outfit and -- on the home front -- Michael Jackson dangling an infant from a hotel balcony.

Bomb Saddam Mad Blast Habanero Hot Sauce: This weapon of mouth destruction features a tiny black beret that fits over the bottle cap. Available from www.gourmetmikes.com.

Soap on a rope: Hussein's mug graces this bar of glycerin soap, suspended with twine so you can "hang him in your very own shower." Also available is the five-bar Security Alert Soap Set. At www.sweetsoaps.com.

Iraqi most-wanted playing cards: The military created playing cards emblazoned with 52 of Iraq's "most-wanted" leaders. Hussein was the ace of spades. The company that made the cards for soldiers is offering them to the public at www.greatusa flags.com. The images can be downloaded free at a military Web site, www.centcom.mil.

Roy Rivenburg writes for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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