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Saddam Hussein Captured Alive


[December 14] Saddam Hussein, former ruler of Iraq, has been captured alive in or near Tikrit by US forces, apparently assisted by Kurdish guerilla forces. President Bush has announced the capture of Saddam. At a press conference that began this moment in Baghdad by the US provisional government, Paul Bremer announced "Ladies and Gentlemen - We got him."

Saddam was captured hiding in an underground hole near a house near the village of Aghwar, not far from Tikrit. He was disguised in a beard and long hair (apparently real) , at about 8:30 PM local time on Saturday, December 13, in operation "Red Dawn" following intelligence tips apparently provided by Kurdish guerilla forces. Saddam was found with two Kalashnikovs and $750,000 in cash. He was not injured in the capture and is cooperating, according to US officials. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez showed pictures of Saddam as he was captured (left) and after being shaved (right).

The video showed US soldiers searching Saddam's beard and searching his mouth, possibly for concealed cyanide capsules or to take a DNA sample. Arab extremist nationalist circles are apparently aghast that Saddam allowed himself to be captured without a fight and to be publicly humiliated.

Spontaneous celebrations and street demonstrations erupted in Iraq this morning even before the official announcement, as the news spread first in Tikrit, then in Kirkuk, Baghdad and elswhere. Kuwaitis were likewise jubilant.

Palestinians were saddened by the capture of Saddam, who had been a staunch supporter of extremist movements in the West Bank and Gaza strip, and had bankrolled the families of suicide bombers. "It is a big defeat for all Arabs and Muslims," said Raji Hassan, 29, watching TV with friends in a
Gaza City coffee shop.

The Palestinian Authority has made no official comment as yet, taking into account widespread popular support of Saddam and the need to curry favor with the USA.

Palestinian Extremists claimed that the capture would not stop resistance to the US. Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam said that by arresting Saddam, "the United States had achieved a very
simple symbolic triumph." However, he continued, "but we are certain that this would never end the Iraqi people's resistance against the American occupation that is taking their lands from them." He said the Iraqi resistance would continue "carrying out painful strikes against the American
occupation on their lands."

Hamas leader Adnan Asfour said the Iraqi people "would learn from the experience of the Palestinian
people. The Palestinian people's symbolic leaders had been either killed or detained, but their resistance
of the occupation has never been affected and they continued fighting the Israeli occupation," said

A Gaza man says he loves Saddam so much, he can't stand to see him in custody. Saddam had sent checks to families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

A teacher in Yemen says he expected Saddam to resist or kill himself before falling into American
hands. He says Saddam "disappointed a lot of us; he's a coward."

A Saudi student says Saddam should be tried and executed.

The capture of Saddam is undoubtedly a landmark in the American occupation of Iraq, and will help, in the long run, to end the campaign of suicide bombings and murders that has apparently been orchestrated by Saddam supporters. The threat that he would return, made by Saddam himself in a recent tape, is no longer relevant.

Provisional government member Adnan Pachachi announced at the conference that Saddam will be tried in Iraq for war crimes against the Iraqi people, and that this day would be an Iraqi national holiday. Crowds gathered in major cities and people are driving around shooting off rifles in celebration. The trial would no doubt be useful in boosting the popularity and legitimacy of the Iraq ruling council. His trial may also serve as an important symbol for advocates of human rights throughout the Middle East, as well as an object lesson for leaders of repressive regimes. However, General Sanchez and Paul Bremer stated in answers to questions that the disposition of Saddam and the matter of the trial have not yet been determined. It would be a major error if the US will not allow Iraqis to try Saddam for any reason. However, the US may want to trade immunity for Saddam for information about WMD. Preliminary reports indicate however that he is not being really cooperative, claims Iraq never had WMD and that the reports of WMD were all an invention of the Americans.

The capture of Saddam alive, as opposed to the killing of his sons, is considered a great moral victory for the Iraqi Provisional Government and the coalition forces. However, some speculated that the captured Saddam could be the subject of various terrorist kidnapping and ransom operations.

When pictures of Saddam were shown at the press conference this afternoon, Iraqi reporters began hurling juicy curses in Arabic. Two reporters thanked the coalition for capturing Saddam in impassioned speeches.

The capture of Saddam will probably make it easier for the USA to garner international support and cooperation for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq. It will also be a material aid to US President George Bush in his re-election campaign, though continued resistance could make Americans forget this victory fairly quickly, just as resistance in the past quickly faded the memory of the easy victory scored over Saddam last April.

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by Moderator @ 02:13 PM CST [Link]


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Replies: 2 comments

I am a one time enthusiastic "Bushite" who turned
negative on this administration when I saw that the
man we elected as President, according to what he told
a journalist, leaves the reading of the daily morning
Presidential Briefing Book to others. When asked if he
keeps up with it, he responded: "I don't need to, I
have others to do that for me," according to the press
report. It would thus seem that Mr. Bush sees no
reason for him to inform himself in detail, for he
leaves that to others, he "delegates."

I can agree with both Bush and Blair that the catching
of Saddam is good for many Iraqis, as they feared his
return to punish them and their helpless families, as
in the past. But in any American context, the catching
of Saddam makes me ask: what's the big deal?

Saddam looked understandably helpless, resigned and
humiliated when videoed in captivity, for it seems he
was peripheral to much of what went on after the
American invasion got underway until now. Is the sorry
image he projects not a good symbol for the
anachronistic state of his Arab-version of Stalinism--
pan-Arab internationalist ideology and all that
brutality, paranoia and fear-- which Saddam embodied--
supported by no one but those who feared him for
decades? And is it not a good symbol for how absurd
was our war, costing thousands of Iraqi and hundreds
of Western lives and over $150 billion just to catch
what sums up to be a bum hiding in his hole?

The pre-March 2003 troop maneuvers in the Kuwait
desert and the early Bush and Powell flexible
negotiations at the UN were gradually dissolving
Saddam's and the Ba'athists' authority, resolve and
authority at 1/100th the $$$ price (but slower than
invasion did). These maneuvers were also preparing our
troops in case someone failed to appreciate their
power and readiness. So, was it not a colossal waste
rushing impatiently only to appease Sharon but, in
fact, hurting Israel in the long run because now Bush
must balance his over-reaction against Iraq by
over-reaction against Israel to seem "even-handed"?

Surely Zionists and Arab nationalists will eventually
get together, lamenting the decisions made by the
American neoconservatives from JINSA in the Defense
Dept. Their insistence on immediate forcing on the
Middle East misfit military solutions (expecting
expansion to Syria and Iran), rushed on the region
only to fit their personal impatience, are now geared
in reverse in order to appease the American public's
worry over the budgetary deficit this Iraq venture
produced and fit within the needs of Bush's electoral
timetable, per Carl Rove.

Does that then lead to the conclusion that, after all
is said and done, the French might have been right in
asking: what's the rush, Mr. Bush, Saddam is falling,
his regime dissolving in his own fear? One of his sons
was quoted: "This Bush, I think he's not like his
father, he means it." That was BEFORE we wasted so
much blood and treasure going, not after Weapons of
Mass Destruction or alQaeda bases, but the dilapidated
man we found in a hole-- eight months later.

DE Teodoru

Posted by DE Teodoru @ 12/18/2003 02:28 AM CST

If we didn't get Saddam, then Saddam would still rule Iraq with an iron fist, and when he died, we'd all be treated to Qusey Hussein. The U.S. did a good thing, the French are cowards, and as all polls show, the Iraqi people think we did a good thing. We should all be thankful that the "Arab Street" didn't get its' way in Iraq, because all we would have is much more dead Arabs, not to mention other people.

Now that the U.S. has shown that they didn't come to steal all the natural resources, all the anti-Americans have to come up with complicated scenerios to justify their sympathies for the murderous former ruler.

Just because he has the fashion sense of a hobo since he has no more servants to dress him, doesn't mean he didn't plan and finance attacks on innocent people. It's sad some people can't understand that. I wish the people of Iraq well, because with their supposed "brothers" in the region, who needs enemies?

Posted by R C S @ 12/31/2003 09:55 AM CST

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