House of Saddam: Where are the Mass Graves and Torture Chambers?

Anyone hoping HBO's new miniseries House of Saddam will make anti-warriors reconsider their stance on the Iraq invasion will be disappointed.

No Oil for Food scandal mentions. Little talk of mass graves or torture chambers beyond a casual reference or two during news reports spliced into the story.

Saddam, a joint venture between the pay cable giant and BBC Films, spends far more time dissecting the dynamics of the Hussein family than detailing his innumerous crimes against humanity.

That's not unforgivable for an entertainment channel project, especially since the miniseries includes a number of gripping sequences that bring the late leader to inglorious life.

The four-part miniseries airs its first two installments tonight at 9 p.m. EST on HBO (Dec. 7). The final two chapters air the same time next Sunday (Dec. 14).

Comparisons to HBO's The Sopranos are inevitable, even if Tony's New Jersey haunts look nothing like the sand-blown stretches of Tikrit. Saddam took heat from his outspoken mother, dealt with a seriously disturbed, under-achieving son, and considered loyalty the highest of all attributes.

He also considered marital fidelity an optional part of the wedding vows and could have shed a few pounds.

But the stakes are so much bigger than what Tony and co. dealt with on that HBO series.

The story opens during the summer of 1979, as Saddam forces Iraq's president out of office and takes the position for himself. Those officials who disagree with his muscular coup are assassinated in a quick but brutal sequence. Clearly, dissension demands the death penalty, a theme which will haunt Saddam's political legacy.