But many people are hesitant to put Saddam in Pandemonium's echelon [Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc] - why? Possibly because he has the characteristic of a comic figure, a cliche, a ridiculous man whose most visible crimes seem to be sins against our notions of good taste. He builds gilded gaudy palaces; he wears silly hats; he fires rifles in the air; he does the obligatory dictator-swimming-in-cold-river bit to prove his virility. He looks almost goofy when he smiles. His rhetoric is larded with mythic grandiosity that amuses the jaded Western ear. Simon from "American Idol" would cut him to shreds: "first, lose the moustache; we're not shooting a porno movie and it's not 1979. Second, I don't believe your gestures. I believe you believe them, but that hardly counts. I don't hear passion. I don't hear hate. I sense hate, but I don't feel hate."
Perhaps this is why so many oppose his ouster by military means - why, it's like bombing a McDonald's to get the Hamburglar.
Lileks really hit it dead-on: Saddam looks /silly/. It's darned hard to take him seriously. Send our /army/ out to take him down? That's like sending the army to my apartment to kill all the ants. (Hm, now there's a thought...)