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Saddam Hussein - Gotcha!

History will record the effect of Saddam Hussein's capture on world and national events, far better than I can here. What I can record is how I first heard of it.

How I heard the news

Locally there was a forecast of 1-3 inches of snow starting after midnight. So I went to the Saturday afternoon mass so I wouldn't have to worry about driving through any snow. Jan and Tony Fusco had a Toys for Tots Christmas party at their place Saturday night; I got home around 0045 (12:45 A.M.) and did some reading in bed - fell asleep around 0300.

The body's biological clock is amazing sometimes. My alarm clock radio is usually set to go off at 0500, though I disabled it for the weekend. Yet I still woke up at 0500. Concerned about the weather forecast, I turned it on to listen to KYW-1060's weather report. Then just a few minutes after 0500 KYW beeped a breaking news story, a major development in Iraq: U.S. forces may have captured Saddam Hussein.

Well, I couldn't go to sleep after that! The initial radio reports stressed that, although U.S. forces were quite certain it was Hussein they were refraining from making a definitive statement pending DNA test results. I was excited but tried to keep calm, thinking it might be too good to be true. At first it sounded like it was one member of the Iraq governing council making an announcement, so maybe he got his news wrong, or he overreacted, or he was spreading propaganda. Or maybe they really captured a Hussein decoy, or otherwise mistook a newly captured prisoner for Hussein.

They announced that a major press conference would take place at 0700 (Eastern Standard Time) in Iraq. Eventually they had it around 0715 - Paul Bremer started out with "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him." Cheers and shouts erupted among the reporters there. I went downstairs to watch it on TV.

Although they were definitely claiming Saddam Hussein had been captured, I was thinking, Great, but I don't see a body or anything, maybe this is a big ruse to trick Hussein into exposing himself? Or even if he's captured, lots of people (pro-Saddam types like Baathists, al-Qaeda, Palestinians, the French) aren't going to believe it. Not without proof.

Then they showed that video of a military medic checking for lice on some homeless bum. Wait, is that... no, is that really... IT IS!!! That bum is Saddam Hussein!!!

I was pumping my fist cheering, just like those Iraqi journalists.

And after they replayed that video and pictures of him getting poked and prodded by that medic, I was surprised by my next emotion: Pity. Not that he deserves any pity, but he just looked so pitiful. That he could elicit pity from me, a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, is a strong indication of how scummy he looked.

Some thoughts after today's events

Capturing Saddam Hussein is and will be a good thing, the planet is ultimately safer.

Short term, I suspect terrorist activity will actually increase in Iraq, but that pro-Saddam Iraqis will give up the fight eventually - meaning it'll strictly be al-Qaeda continuing terrorist activities.

Since Iraqis have suffered the most, I think Saddam Hussein should be tried by Iraqis. If that's not possible, we should set up a Nuremberg-type war court, conducted by USA, UK and coalition judges. Don't bother with a UN-organized court - the UN didn't have the backbone to enforce 17 of its own resolutions against Hussein and doesn't have the backbone to stay in Iraq or Afghanistan when these countries need the UN the most; justice would not be swift with a UN court.


Losers (in many senses of the word)