Embattled President Bush got the break he wanted with the dramatic execution by missile barrage of Saddam Hussein’s universally reviled sons Udai and Qusai–a chance to strut in the Rose Garden and talk tough about getting rid of the bad guys in Iraq–but did this television moment make sense?
The two bad boys were trapped in a building in Mosul, surrounded by several hundred heavily armed U.S. soldiers. The U.S. military, at that point, held all the cards. It could have waited as long as necessary until the people trapped inside gave up, at which point army interrogators would have had a potential goldmine of information, not just about the possible location of daddy Saddam, but also about those purported weapons of mass destruction about which Bush and his war-mongering advisors supposedly care so much. They might also have learned important details about the guerrillas who are popping off American GI’s at a rate of more than one a day.
Who, after all, would have known more about the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein than his two sons?
Who would likely have known any other secrets of the fallen regime than Hussein’s most trusted compatriots–his two sons?
Who would have known more about guerrilla operations than the founders and leaders of the Special Republican Guard and the Fedayeen irregular forces?
You have to wonder, given the potential trove of information potentially represented by these two trapped men (and the two others killed with them, one of who was a 14-year-old grandson of Hussein’s), why the military was so quick to blow them away with a bliltzkrieg assault of at least seven anti-tank missiles.
Clearly, with that kind of an assault, there was no chance of their surviving.
But what was the hurry in offing them?
They were trapped and had no possibility of escaping.
Could it be Bush wanted something dramatic to deflect all the increasingly embarassing and potentially dangerious media queries about his and his advisers lies leading up to the invasion of Iraq?
Could it be that he didn’t want to have to confront the possibility that even these two closest Hussein confidants would have no information about hidden weapons of mass destruction?
Could it be that he didn’t want to have to confront evidence Osai and Qusai would almost certainly have offered, if captured, of U.S. complicity in the rise of their father to power, and in his vicious war against Iran?
These are new questions that should be posed by the media, and by what passes for a Democratic opposition, to Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice and Cheney.
Bush now has a couple of trophies to add to the Oval Office wall (is that why the bodies have been spirited out of Iraq instead of being mounted on stakes outside the gates to Baghdad?), but the inexplicably idiotic decision to kill Udai and Qusai, instead of trying to take them alive, has deprived the U.S. of potentially invaluable evidence regarding Hussein’s whereabouts, about the possible location of any of those incredibly elusive and as yet only alleged WMD’s, and about the operations of Iraqi guerrillas.
Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A collection of Lindorff’s stories can be found here: http://www.nwuphilly.org/dave.html