Stop the presses: Saddam captured
The column prepared for this week had to do with “Jane Bond.” But the capture of former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, demands a “stop-the-presses” commentary.
Every morning for the last eight months, this observer switched on the Fox News Channel hoping to see a report of Saddam’s capture or demise. In fact, this retired soldier had “Walter Mitty” dreams of being back on active duty and commanding the troops finding Saddam. In one scenario, Saddam bolted and I had the honor of sending his miserable soul to whatever special Hell the Almighty reserves for the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. In another scenario, I ejected all of the rounds from my service pistol save one, handed it to Saddam, and withdrew until he did the honorable thing and took his own life. Of course, the best scenario is to turn Saddam over to an Iraqi tribunal for trial. Perhaps, that is what Walter Mitty would have done.
Back to reality: Saddam was captured by troops of the 4th Infantry Division and U.S. Special Forces in Task Force 121. Not a shot was fired, and Saddam was captured unharmed. Now, for the good news, bad news aspects of this major event of the early 21st Century:
Saddam’s capture is extremely good news for the people of Iraq. It is good news for President George W. Bush and British Prime Tony Blair, the two world leaders who, despite severe criticism, led the Coalition to rid the Iraqi people of one of the world’s most brutal dictators and his two sadistic sons.
This is good news for the 4th Infantry Division commander whose command terribly mishandled the case of Lt. Colonel Allen B. West by docking West’s pay for the Colonel’s harmless intimidation of a POW who has withholding information bearing on the safety of Colonel West’s troops.
But Saddam’s capture and what the world will learn about the brutality of his regime are very bad news for many people. French President Jacques Chirac must be wetting his pants because Saddam is likely to spill the beans on the depth and scope of their personal financial dealings. Coalition forces must carefully safeguard Saddam lest Chirac order his DGSE (Direction General de Securite Exterieur ) to do a “Jimmy Hoffa” on Saddam. Our forces must also guard against the smuggling of a cyanide capsule into Saddam.
You read it here first: Attempts will be made to kill Saddam. No matter the cause, if any harm comes to Saddam while in our tender care, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the London office of Amnesty International will blame the United States.
This, of course, is bad news for the Germans, the Russians and all the other countries that went out of their way to prevent the toppling of the Saddam regime. As the Iraqi tribunal lays out the enormity of Saddam’s crimes against humanity, many political figures will want to crawl into the spider hole from which our troops pulled Saddam.
This is bad news for the Democrat presidential candidates and members of Congress who opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom. It will be interesting to watch them try to say they actually wanted Saddam deposed, but under the auspices of the United Nations. For anyone who thinks the United Nations can do anything other than stage expensive cocktail parties at your expense, I have a bridge linking Brooklyn and lower Manhattan available for a bargain price.
In a perfect world, Saddam will be tried in an open and very public court of law by the people of Iraq and maybe even by the World Court in The Hague. What fate has in store for Saddam remains to be seen. But you can take it to the bank that the ACLU and Amnesty International will be burning the midnight oil trying to get Saddam acquitted or, at worst, given a sentence that will allow him to live out his life at your expense and mine.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy by William Penn – two novels about terrorist attacks against the United States and it allies.
© 2003. William Hamilton