December 14, 2003
Capturing Saddam

So Saddam Hussein has been captured. That's great news, probably the best news out of Iraq since he was first toppled. I hope this will help pacify things over there, though I have my doubts. Kevin Drum sums it up pretty well.

It's a bit ironic that the top story in today's Metro section of the Chron is headlined Fewer Texans back Bush on war.

The survey by the Scripps Research Center in Abilene found just over half, 51 percent, of those polled said Bush was doing either an excellent or good job overseeing the war in Iraq.

Another 46 percent either mildly or strongly disapprove of the way the administration is conducting the war.

As to how well the war is going for the United States, 49 percent said things were going either "well" or "very well," while 48 percent felt it was going "poorly" or "very poorly."

More people in Texas now feel the war is going "very poorly" -- 18 percent -- than think it is going "very well" -- 8 percent.

I'll bet those numbers would be different now. Of course, how big a political victory this is for President Bush is directly proportional to how much the violence in Iraq actually decreases now. This is what I'm talking about:

Saddam remained the face of evil in Iraq for Texans. Sixty-nine percent told pollsters they believe Saddam is personally directing attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Only 14 percent felt Saddam was not directing the attacks, while another 17 percent didn't know or wouldn't answer.

What are those sixty-nine percent going to think if soldiers continue to get attacked and killed? We've already had one "Mission Accomplished" moment. How pissed off will people get if they think they've been fooled twice?

On a side note, I have to wonder. What will Saddam's trial be like? I mean, there's three basic criminal defenses: I Didn't Do It, You Can't Prove I Did, and Yeah, I Did It, So What? I don't think any of those would go over too well, so what's left? Hiring Johnny Cochrane to use the Chewbacca Defense?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 14, 2003 to Iraq attack | TrackBack

This... is a wookie...


I love it.

Posted by: elgato on December 14, 2003 2:28 PM

My question is, *who* is going to put him on trial? Needless to say, the U.S. has a strong interest in seeing justice is done to the man.

But not as strong as the Iraqi people. Are we going to deny them the right to try and (presumably) sentence the man who tormented them all these years? Yet, what Iraqi body can perform this task?

Posted by: UncleBob on December 14, 2003 3:03 PM

If folks would just remember that Saddam was once our guy when he was fighting against Iran. We were actually arming both sides because we hated those Commies to the north.

Can Saddam use the "I was once on your side," as a sort of character witness thing?

Posted by: jaye on December 14, 2003 3:28 PM

Didn't work for Noreiga, did it?

Posted by: Norbizness on December 14, 2003 5:02 PM

I seriously doubt that he was directing the attacks himself. I think that a good portion of the world's population just hates Americans. Hey, how would you feel if someone invaded our country and took over like we did in Iraq? Sorry, but I think Bush is quite simply a terrorist himself, and he's dragging the rest of us in with him. Not to mention what he is costing our country in the process - it makes me sick when I think about it. *sigh*

Posted by: Christine on December 14, 2003 6:14 PM

Judging by Bush's speech, it's a worry he shares. I'm afraid, however, that the White House has done enough to link the insurgency with Saddam (constant and repeated references to the guerillas as "Ba'athists renegedes" if not outright Fedayeen) that a single paragraph in Bush's speech isn't going to cut it.

Bush will bounce. Maybe even 10 points, back into the sixties. And it'll fade, even quicker than the last two bounces.

Why? Because, in the end, both of Bush's bounces were a result of the Left and the Middle hoping to hell Bush was finally going to get serious and do his job.

We were was a mass tragedy. Partisan differences aside, the President will rise to the occasion. It's how it works. He'll buckle down, do the job we hired him to do. Let's support him!

And then...failure. Good start, but then we got sidetracked.

We're going to war! Surely something as serious as war wil bring out the best in the President. Surely this time he'll rise to the occasion....

And then...failure.

Each time, fewer people believe that Bush will rise to the occasion. Fewer people believe he's pulled it off.

He's screwed himself. Unless he actually does get serious and rise to the occasion, Iraq will continue to implode...

But I'm afraid that Bush simply isn't capable of rising to the occasion.

Posted by: Morat on December 14, 2003 11:37 PM

The only people who are going to be "fooled," Kuff, are the people who aren't listening.

On the deck of the Lincoln, Bush made it very clear that just because Saddam's regime was overthrown — that being the "mission" that indeed just had been "accomplished," and an accomplishment worth noting — didn't mean that the danger was over. And he's been absolutely clear and consistent in stressing that ever since, including again in Sunday's speech announcing Saddam's capture.

Soldiers are going to continue to be attacked and killed, period. Hopefully fewer will be killed because of this development than otherwise. But nobody in the Administration, least of all the President, has ever said otherwise, and in fact they've all said exactly that.

So unless one is hallucinating -- or, more realistically, pretending for political purposes that Dubya has said things he hasn't, like "We've won and everyone is safe now" -- no one should feel like they've been lied to when the bad guys continue to do what bad guys do.

Posted by: Beldar on December 15, 2003 5:00 PM

Well, David Frum thinks that the capture of Saddam is a sign that God wants George Bush reelected, so I guess you can fool some of the people some of the time. :-)

FWIW, Team Bush has softpedaled this more than I thought they would, which is a smart move. The media has talked about how "it ain't over" yet (see here, for example), also more than I thought they would.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 15, 2003 7:01 PM