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Saddam's toiletries speak volumes about him

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Friday, Dec. 19, 2003

After Saddam Hussein finally was apprehended by U.S. troops last weekend, two indisputable facts emerged: A historic turning point had occurred in the Iraq conflict, and the fallen dictator absolutely adored Western grooming products.

During his eight months on the lam, you might assume Saddam had learned to travel lightly. Au contraire. He was nabbed with virtually an entire Rite Aid aisle in his possession.

The items found in the squalid hut in which he was residing reveal a man conflicted. While attempting to hold on to the last vestiges of luxury to which he was accustomed, Saddam was undergoing a radical and forced transition to a more simple lifestyle.

The most obvious link to his past was the bottle of Lacoste Pour Homme on top of the mini-fridge.

This upscale cologne, according to the Lacoste Web site, is designed for a man "who is choosing to approach life with a rediscovered sense of panache. It's an attitude that favors having fun and breaking conventions -- but always with an intelligent air of elegance and sophistication."

During his time on the run, Saddam doubtlessly attempted to recover the panache he displayed while plundering his nation. But it's difficult to maintain a sophisticated air while sucking stale air in a subterranean hiding space.

Saddam evidently was comfortable enough with Palmolive natural soap instead of one of the Palmolive niche brands such as antibacterial or aromatherapy. This is not to suggest he was afraid to use a specialty product when necessary.

A bottle of Dove Moisturizing Shampoo, which works extremely well on dry and damaged hair, was found in the hut. Saddam's regime might have long since toppled, yet he somehow remained able to procure a shampoo that intensely hydrates dry hair without weighing it down. Impressive.

Apparently still hidden somewhere in or around Saddam's hut is his supply of Grecian Formula for Men, a popular men's product that gradually restores lost color to graying hair.

Saddam reportedly told his interrogators that he doesn't use the stuff. Come on. The guy is 66 years old, yet only his since-shaved beard was graying. He's been getting some help for the hair on his head.

Although the Grecian remains missing, our military forces shouldn't be unduly criticized for failing to locate it.

They never found Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. How could they have been expected to recover all of his toiletries?

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