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The Capture of Saddam Hussein and What follows

Richard Tebrick, Moderator of Moderation

12.14.03 - Chicago, IL
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — After months on the run from coalition forces, a disheveled Saddam Hussein was found hiding in a hidden hole near a farmhouse and was captured without firing a shot, coalition authorities announced Sunday. [Video from The Guardian, BBC footage of the capture of Saddam Hussein.]

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who opposed the U.S.-led war, wrote to George W. Bush saying: “With great happiness I have learnt of the capture of Saddam Hussein. I congratulate you on the successful mission.”

A statement from French President Jacques Chirac, who was also against the war, said: “The president is delighted with Saddam Hussein’s arrest.”

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair — Bush’s main ally — said: “This is very good news for the people of Iraq. It removes the shadow that has been hanging over them for too long of the nightmare of a return to the Saddam regime. This fear is now removed.”

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said it was “a great day for everyone” and for “stability in the world.” In a statement on Spanish TV, he added: “Saddam was the cause of all of the poverty in Iraq. From now on, terrorist groups are closer to being defeated.”

Democratic presidential candidate and retired general Wesley Clark called for a “very public” war crimes trial. “We’ve been due some good news, and this is good news,” he said from The Hague, where he is testifying in the war crimes trial of former Serb president Slobodan Milosevic.

The capture and arrest of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein could not have come at a more crucial time for the Bush administration, who, since the suspect transference of the War on Terrorism from Afghanistan, the staging base of Osama Bin Laden’s fundamental terrorist group, to Iraq, the staging base of the future production of billions of barrels of oil a year, have been fighting an almost constantly decreasing morale in the American public, as well as the loss of confidence of dozens of important foreign allies.

According to CNN, George W. Bush met senior White House officials Sunday morning in the Oval Office to plan how to respond publicly to the events surrounding the capture of the former dictator.

The purpose of this most likely premature analysis of the situation is twofold: First, to anticipate the development of the status of the extremely unpopular US War on Terror abroad, and how this critical development will, or more likely will not return any credibility to the US with our former allies in Western and Eastern Europe. The second aim of this document is to anticipate and do some work at preempting the positive domestic reaction among the citizenry in the United States, to further anticipate the way that Cheney, Wolfowitz, and company will use this event as much needed leverage for their continued control of the United States and as a warning to the American public to remember what the capture of Hussein really means with regard to the development of worldwide terrorism, and in particular to the affect of said crusade on the American domestic situation.

A short list of the key facts leading up to the capture of Saddam Hussein:

  • Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations.[1]
  • To prevent an Iraqi collapse, the Reagan administration supplied battlefield intelligence on Iranian troop buildups to the Iraqis, sometimes through third parties such as Saudi Arabia. The U.S. tilt toward Iraq was enshrined in National Security Decision Directive 114 of Nov. 26, 1983, one of the few important Reagan era foreign policy decisions that still remains classified. According to former U.S. officials, the directive stated that the United States would do “whatever was necessary and legal” to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran.
  • Skip ahead through many sordid details: on September 11, 2001, US trained fundamentalist guerilla troops from the Taliban flew hijacked commercial airliners into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York, killing hundreds in a symbolic attack against US global economic policy.
  • On October 7, 2001 the US began a military strike against Afghanistan.[2]
  • One year after the strike, with the war against Bin Laden still at uncompleted, on September 12, 2002, President Bush addresses the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, challenging the body to confront the “grave and gathering danger” of Iraq - or become irrelevant.
  • On October 10, 2002, Congress adopts a joint resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq and gives the president authority to take preemptive, unilateral military action against Iraq, when and how he deems necessary. The bill is opposed by 133 representatives and 23 senators.
  • On December 7, 2002, Iraq submits a 12,000-page declaration on its chemical, biological, and nuclear activities, claiming it has no banned weapons. This has as yet never been proved to be untrue.
  • On March 19, 2003, the invasion of Iraq begins when the United States launches Operation Iraqi Freedom. Called a “decapitation attack,” the initial air strike of the war targets Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders in Baghdad, unsuccessfully.
  • May 1, 2003: The United States declares an end to major combat operations. Hundreds of US soldiers, and even more coalition and Iraqi soldiers, will die in the coming months.
  • Yesterday, December 13, 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by Kurdish forces, in a “hidden hole”, and handed over to US troops in exchange for greater autonomy in Northern Iraq.

The Bush administration has been pursuing it’s own agenda at an unbelievable cost domestically and internationally to the American people. What was at the beginning of Bush’s Supreme Court appointment to the presidency an hard-fought budget surplus has become once again an enormous deficit. What were once great allies to the US abroad have been put off by the complete lack of regard for the UN as a policy-guiding body, and the insanely elitist and self-indulgent foreign policy by the American government. Some of the guiding freedoms of the Constitution of the United States of America have been removed from the American citizenry in the form of the highly unconstitutional USA PATRIOT Act. Meanwhile, to spur an economic recovery, in the only major domestic economic decision of the entire administration, Bush, etc. have passed the ironically named Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA), in which the top 1% of earners in America receive 29% of the refunds, whereas the bottom 60% receive 7%.[3]The clear message that will emerge from the Bush Administration is going to be, “We did it.” In the same political sleight-of-hand [4] that has been at play since their usurping the White House, they will preach a public-good line that has little to do with the facts. The horrible irony of the situation is that it just might work. History, of course, will remember this administration for the aforementioned crimes against humanity. However, the immediate problem is severe. With the right spin, the American voter might just be satiated enough by the capture of Saddam Hussein to allow this ‘victory’ to cloud our consciousness to the terror of the last three years, domestically and internationally. Coupled with the projected short spike in the economy due in the second quarter of the coming year (an effect of the tax cut, a short-sighted fix common with trickle-down economics), voters might just be snowed over long enough to put GWB back in office despite his losing over 2 million jobs for America, sending a 127 billion dollar budget surplus into a 400 billion dollar deficit. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.[5]

What to remember in the upcoming days:

  • Saddam Hussein, while an evil dictator to be certain, has never been reasonably proved to be responsible or involved in any way for the attacks on the USA in September, 2001, the initial given purpose for this war.
  • There is still no proof at all that there were WMDs in Iraq, ever, the just slightly later-on given purpose for the war.
  • Osama Bin Laden, the man who is actually responsible for the aforementioned attacks, is still at large.
  • The cost of removing this dictator (again, as opposed to say PDRK President Kim Jong Il) will be in the neighborhood of minus 550 billion for the American taxpayer and plus several billion for Vice-President Dick Cheney’s (former?) organization, Haliburton. Not to mention the other “oil-friends”.

More interesting than the oncoming domestic snow-job is probably the international reaction. One has to wonder what the Bush Cabinet is doing to handle the potential onslaught of some much-needed foreign goodwill. My guess is something like the following:

RUMSFELD: Gentlemen, this could not have come at a better time. We can live off the groveling goodwill of those European pansy-asses at least until next November. Our foreign policy is a success!
BUSH: Yuh.
CHENEY: Let’s invade Syria. We’ve finally got the street-cred to move on to phase three!
BUSH: Yuh-huh.
RUMSFELD: Scott, what are you going to tell the press?
McCLELLAN: Well, I’ve been working on this… ::clears throat:: …Nanny-nanny-boo-boo. Thank you.
BUSH:: Uh-huh-huh-huh.
CHENEY: Can someone please put him down for his nap?
NORTON: God damn it.

Ok excuse me, I just needed to get that off my chest. But in all seriousness, any success for the administration at this point is not a success for America, or for the world. My best guess is that Schroeder, Chirac, and the other UN leaders know this, too. While the credibility of Operation Red Dawn (the one about wiping out Saddam Hussein) might rise temporarily, the credibility of the War on Terror won’t. I hope, and I imagine, that leaders around the world will recognize that despite the fact that the USA has seemingly won the proverbial cock-fight against Iraq, their adrenaline levels will soon drop, and we’ll all remember that cock-fighting is illegal in the first place. (Please excuse my mixed metaphors.) This is a call to the American people to remember the same things. A call for vigilance, awareness, and the ability to look through the oncoming miasma of administration propaganda. Don’t let this shiny trophy distract you from the real state of things. True to form, to quote a pop band, “If you’ll just keep quiet, it’ll stay like this forever. I feel certain of it now.” [6] See you at the polls.

[2] US strikes at Afghan targets, BBC News
[3] State of the Economy, Conference Call Transcript, The Economic Policy Institute
CNN: Mission Accomplished
[5] It’s even worse. See this from the Campaign for America’s Future.
[6] The Mountain Goats, Bitter Melon Farm, Ajax, 2000.

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