National Cartoonists Tour: Washington DC, Kuwait, Iraq


October 13 & 14, 2010



Flying into Baghdad. We saw an awful lot of this.



Dave M. & I got to ride in the cockpit when landing in Iraq - I never want to fly coach again.



Once we landed, we were driven to where we would be staying. The area was on the outskirts of Baghdad and there was plenty of beautiful (but artificial) lakes. The sad part was Saddam had all the lakes created by taking away the irrigation systems of the local farmers. Kind of a jerk, eh?



Here we are at our new home - Saddam's hunting palace. What did he hunt, you say? Evidentially he had plenty of exotic animals shipped in so he and his buddies could run around the countryside and blow 'em away. Where's PETA when you need them?


The Hunting Palace is situated on a former resort complex about 3 miles from the Green Zone, which is now referred to as the International Zone or IZ. The complex contains many villas and smaller palaces now known as Camp Victory/ Camp Liberty. It is currently one of the largest US/Coalition bases in Iraq.



Here's Bill relaxing in one of the palace's parlors. Saddam liked to decorate in "Early Arabian Gaudy".






At least he had good taste in plumbing accessories. Although the drinking fountain on the left was awfully low to the ground.



One of the palace's many bedrooms. We were told that this was the room President Obama stays in when he's in the area. Don't tell the Secret Serice, but I short-sheeted the beds.



Before we headed out to do some more drawing for the troops and see some of the sights, we took the opportunity to relax in some of Saddam's more modest furnishings. Apparently he wasn't an IKEA fan.




The princess always gets the biggest chair.



This is our veiw from the veranda of the hunting palace - It's the AL FAW palace. The palace contains over 62 rooms and 29 bathrooms. Many of the rooms have now been converted to serve as offices, and since 2004 the Palace has been used as the headquarters for the Multi-National Force, along with the Joint Operations Center. The artificial lake surrounding the palace that has a special breed of large (and creepy) bass dubbed the Saddam bass, as well as large carp.



Dave M., Mason & Rob



They didn't want me in the picture with them.



Evidently they didn't want Tom in the picture with them either.



One of the first places we were taken to soak up some of the local flavor was this place. Saddam's army tried to hide a few tanks from us at the beginning of the war by burying them. We found them.



This is the entrance to the "Victory Over Iran" palace Saddam had built. The round things decorating above the door are helmets from dead Iranian soldiers. Like I said earlier, Saddam was a jerk.



Bill in front of the "Victory Over America" palace. Sadly, it was under construction when we bombed the snot out of it. You should never count your camels before they've hatched.



Just down the road from the Victory Over America palace is a strange conglomeration of buildings appropriately named "Flintstone Village".



Apparently Saddam was bucking for "Grandpappy of the Year" so he had this large amusement park built for his grandkids. It consists of many rooms and corridors twisting and turning all over the place and it really does look like something out of the Flintstones.. It must have been quite a sight in it's glory days. However, over the years it has turned into an eerie shell of surrealism.



Saddam's two daughters and sons-in-law fled to neighboring Jordan when they feared Saddam and his sons (Uday & Qusay) were getting too dangerous to pal around with (go figure). But Saddam was somehow able to convince the sons-in-law to come back for a nice little chat over some tea and scones. They must have insulted his scones because shortly after they returned he had them excecuted...



...but Saddam still wanted his daughters to come back to his loving arms, so as a heartfelt apology for slaughtering their husbands, he promised to build a Flintsone Village for the grandkids if they returned. Believe it or not, they actually did - but he didn't kill them - he was good to his word and built the village.


Ain't it great when stories have happy endings?



The interior of some of the rooms have taken on a bit of a Berlin Wall sort of feel. So who are we to fly in the face of history? We added to it!



Dave M. ironically drawing Fred Flintstone.



Ed adding his touch.




I swear this was already here when I got there! I would never vandalize!



Dave C. and I leaving the scene of the crime before the cops arrive.



Actual street sign outside the Flintstone Village - no foolin'!


(photo by Mr. Ed Steckley)



This was one of the last unvandalized images left of Saddam Hussein...



...until now.