- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2003

Sound-off on Saddam

The ease with which coalition forces defeated the Iraqi army and the eventual extraction of a haggard Saddam Hussein from a hole in the ground (” ‘We got him,’ ” Page 1, yesterday) are only more evidence that Iraq never posed a serious threat to the United States.

Even so, Operation Iraqi Freedom has been an impressive work of political stagecraft that will make George W. Bush hard to unseat, his dubious motivations for war notwithstanding.

BUCK RUTLEDGE

Knoxville, Tenn.

In the face of an elusive search for weapons of mass destruction, war supporters and opponents alike were only too eager to criticize and demoralize the CIA for its apparent failure.

Now, however, as we hear tales of how superb analytical work by the CIA has helped us capture one of history’s most notorious dictators, I hope all Americans will thank not only the American troops and the Bush administration who fight this war so publicly, but also the many CIA agents who are defending America in secret throughout the world.

I hope wherever these brave men and women are they know they serve a grateful nation.

BILL MURRAY

Washington

The capture of Saddam Hussein will be put to good use by President Bush’s supporters. Regrettably, it will not alleviate the problems the president’s policies have created in Iraq and the Middle East.

The establishment of democracy in Iraq is no closer now with Saddam’s apprehension than before. The proposal for an interim government has hit just one of Iraq’s many obstacles: the influence of the majority Shi’ite population. Shi’ites perceive that Great Britain, the occupying nation after World War II, denied them power, and the United States won’t win them over if it does the same. Second, the capture of Saddam does not bring an end to international terrorism and certainly does not weaken al Qaeda.

On the larger scene, peace is no closer between Israelis and Palestinians. The citizen-generated peace accord of Geneva has been jettisoned by the United States after complaints by the government of Ariel Sharon. Although Jordan remains under the thumb of the United States, there are concerns about who will succeed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and about the new generation of Arabs who are tiring of being humiliated by Mr. Bush’s policies.

Perhaps one saving grace is that Mr. Bush is laying the groundwork for one more regime change — in Syria. War makes for good politics. No sitting president during a war has ever been defeated in a re-election.

JOSEPH ELIAS

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Contrary to the charges by Democrats Howard Dean, John Kerry, Wesley Clark and Al Gore; Hollywood celebrities; and all the others who have aided and abetted the terrorists by claiming the war in Iraq is not legitimate because we have found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the capture of Saddam Hussein and the earlier deaths of his two sons, Uday and Qusay, prove them dead wrong.

Those three men were WMD of lethal proportion, as the graves of tens of thousands of their victims have shown.

High marks to President Bush and the coalition forces fighting the remnants of evil in Iraq. As for those who continue to oppose our efforts to free the Iraqis from the horrors of Saddam’s regime: “Shut up and sit down.”

ANN SHERIDAN

Washington

President Bush has gone to great expense in lives and dollars to catch a man who did not attack the United States — Saddam Hussein — nor was there any evidence that he was going to attack us.

Perhaps if Mr. Bush had instead directed a fraction of those troops and tax dollars toward capturing the man who did attack us, Osama bin Laden, we would be safer now and have fewer dead troops.

DOUG LONG

Rio Rancho, N.M.

The international community is thrilled that Saddam Hussein was caught alive, but for the Americans, it would have been better to have killed him, particularly given how the Islamic world views the United States and what Saddam knows and may say during a trial.

In the case of the Islamics, there is a tremendous lack of trust toward the United States, not only because of its support of Israel but also its actions and dealings with various leaders. In the eyes of many Muslims, America uses various tyrants and dictators for its own benefit, then they suddenly become dictators and threats when they are no longer useful. A perfect example is the United States’ relationship with Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile, the Shah of Iran and even Saddam.

The fact that Saddam will talk about his relationship with the United States will further reaffirm that image among the Muslims. One cannot forget that it was the Reagan-Bush team that gave him the military help he needed to fight the Iranians. Nor can it be overlooked that as tens of thousands of Kurds and Shi’ites were being massacred, American companies continued to do business in Iraq, some until 1994.

MITRA RAHEB

Bal Harbor, Fla.

President Bush received quite the holiday bonus this past weekend with Saddam Hussein’s capture. Despite this victory, the bad could outweigh the good over the long run if policy-makers fail to learn from history.

As we all know, the state of global security goes far beyond Iraq. Since September 11, countries all over the world have been hit with terrorist attacks.

The danger for the United States lies in adopting an Iraq-style approach to pursuing global security. The United States has the resources to send thousands of troops and weapons anywhere. However, hasty and highly publicized mobilizations could make us the redcoats of the 21st century.

The British outmatched the Coloniesinconventional strength and flaunted it. Nevertheless, a bold fleet of ships and a well-dressed military did not achieve victory. The Middle East is a vast region, and global prosperity may depend on its stability. A “redcoat” approach of showing off and attempting to overwhelm may only lead to drawn out guerrilla-style conflicts. In the aftermath of Saddam’s capture, our approach could well determine whether the world becomes more or less safe.

CHAD JAMES

Alexandria

In ordinary times, there would be unabashed bipartisan cheers for our president, his administration and our brave and valiant armed forces for the stunning and brilliant capture of Saddam Hussein, one of the world’s most notorious, menacing and murderous thugs.

These, however, are not ordinary times. This is a highly charged political season with a presidential election upcoming, one in which the Democrats seek any navigable route to partisan advantage. We have begun to hear from the naysaying anti-Bush Dems on the capture, “Yes, we suppose it is a good thing, but … .”

I will say with great pride in those who brought about this key victory in the war in Iraq, “Thank you for a mission magnificently completed … God bless you … and God bless the United States of America and the liberated people of Iraq.”

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Regarding how to find the weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein — one sentence.

If you want to find out where the WMD are hidden, have Saddam interrogated by Lt. Col. Allen B. West.

LEONARD BLOOM

Baltimore

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Remarkably, the most memorable words uttered during the war against terrorism and Saddam Hussein were not written by a well-known speechwriter.

Without doubt, two of the most memorable are “Let’s roll,” uttered by Todd Beamer to the other brave passengers aboard hijacked United Flight 93, announcing that it was time to take over control from the terrorists, resulting in a crash in a field in Pennsylvania rather than an attack on the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

None of President Bush’s words to the nation the morning after the capture of Saddam Hussein are likely to be so remembered. But few television viewers who heard L. Paul Bremer, U.S. administrator in Iraq, will ever forget his terse announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen — we got him.”

WILLIAM H. SMITH

Palm Springs, Calif.


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