Saddam defeats … well, no one, really.

NEWS FLASH: Saddam Hussein won the ballot tuesday in Iraq with 100 percent of the vote, according to this article in the New York Times. As the headline yesterday on said: “U.S. skeptical.”

I should say so! Regular readers — both of you — will recall I reported on this last week and talked about the reasons for holding the referendum now. But what’s most interesting to me, for some odd reason, is that Saddam got 99.96 percent of the vote in 1995, and 100 percent now. Perhaps the war threat from America has rallied Iraqis around their leader?

But a better question is this: What happened to the 0.04 percent — about 3,600 people, according to the Times — who voted “no” in 1995? Were they suicidal or just stupid? No doubt they have paid for their mistake.

Of course this was hardly a free and fair ballot, and I should think that every person on the planet, except maybe those living under the North Korean regime, can see through this sham. But it’s an interesting phenomenon that Saddam feels the need to legitimize his rule of fear.

“With a leader such as this,” asked a Bedouin tribal elder at the end of the Times piece, “how could Iraqis want to say anything but yes?”