Image: Woman photographs statue of Saddam Hussein's head.
Ed Reinke  /  AP
Lynda Jackson of Morganfield, Ky., photographs the head of a damaged statue of ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, on Friday at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville.
updated 8/21/2004 5:02:54 AM ET 2004-08-21T09:02:54

The head from a damaged statue of Saddam Hussein is on display at the Kentucky State Fair, piquing the curiosity of many tourists but angering some who say it’s in poor taste.

The bust, about a foot and a half high, is from a statue that was damaged last year by U.S. forces. It’s not from the statue that was toppled by jubilant Iraqis in one of the defining images of the war.

Kelly Barron, a tourism director, said the “quiet, simple display” has attracted many people eager to snap pictures of the deposed Iraqi dictator. Alongside the glass-encased bust is a small Iraqi flag and description of how soldiers captured the statue. The display also includes photographs of the intact statue and tank fire striking it.

The bust was first shown for Independence Day at the George S. Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor at Fort Knox, and will return there after the fair.

Henry Penn, exhibit specialist at the museum, acknowledged receiving criticism that the display is in poor taste but said the statue is a historical item.

“It’s a symbol of the end of dictatorship,” he said.

Some find display in poor taste
Francene Cucinello, a Louisville talk-radio host, said a state fair is not the appropriate place for a war relic “that represents so many American and Iraqi deaths in the quest for freedom.”

“A museum has the reverence that’s necessary. It’s too important to have on display at a fair,” said Cucinello, who said her callers are about evenly split on the issue.

“How would we feel if another country was gloating over its wartime successes? America’s too good for that,” she said.

The fair runs through Aug. 29.

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