“[I]f you read this book, you will understand how delicate and tender he really is,” she says. The name of the book? Get Out of Here, Curse You.

Naturally, she thinks it’d make a great musical:

Hirata believes the current novel, issued in a cover patterned with violets, was written by Saddam and has a melodic clarity to it that suggests it could be adapted to the stage.

“I really think this book should be made into a musical,” she said. “And once this is done, it should play in the heart of his enemy’s country, on Broadway.”

Koichi Chikaraishi, editor-in-chief at the Japanese publishing house that’s putting it out, adds reassuringly, “People here don’t think Saddam is totally bad, as they do in places like America, so there are people who will be interested in hearing his side of the story.”

The proposed musical, about a group of mischievous, singing-and-dancing cats who are systematically raped and gassed, is set to hit 42nd Street sometime in 2008.