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Wednesday December 17, 2003

Rightwingnews asks for a caption.
I suggest: "Hey, Jacques, doesn't Laura make a lovely Tyrant Platter?".
Lovely wife weighs in with: "Now serving, Saddam with a side of crow".

Email me yours and I'll add it

As I watched the Diane Sawyer interview with President Bush last evening I couldn't help but feel that this is the most rightous, moral man we've had in the White House in over 20 years. Although genuine decency is not necessarily part of the job description, nor does it always make for a good President (see Jimmy Carter) it is, nevertheless, a worthy attribute.

My favorite answer of the evening was in response to Sawyer's questioning Bush why he didn't read the newspapers or read only the headlines. I think he hit this one out of the park. To paraphrase his response: why should I have to wade through all the spin and editorialism when I have the guys with the facts at my disposal. He gets the raw data before it has been twisted and stretched by the media, so why bother. Excellent! Would that we all had such access, then the media would not have as much power to mold and shape public opinion.

The most disappointing answer of the evening was in response to a question of WMD's and the administration's insistence that Saddam actually had WMD's. I didn't catch all of his response because I was busy yelling at the TV (haven't found a transcript yet). OK, I found the transcript which is here, and I'm still dissatisfied. President Bush keeps talking about the intelligence and the UN resolutions and finally says there's no difference between Iraq actually having them and the ability or intent to have them. Sheesh! We know he had them. Iraq admitted to having them. The UN inspectors counted them and documented them. The only thing we don't have is any documentation or evidence that Iraq destroyed them. Judging by how meticulous the Iraqis were in documenting everything else (murders, tortures, mass graves, etc) I believe that had they been destroyed they would have been documented and this documentation would have been forwarded to the UN to preclude the overthrow of the regime. I just wish Bush would have been more forceful in his answer.

Isntapundit (note: not Instapundit. clever, huh?) has an interesting expose on CNN Bias:

Let the record show that on December 10, when thousands of Iraqis marched in the streets, demanding an end to Ba'athist terror, there was no coverage whatsoever on CNN's website. Even after two days of enthusiastic reaction and animated discussion at web logs throughout the political spectrum, CNN still did not take notice of the story.

Let the record show that on December 16th, the front page of CNN's website featured video under the headline, "pro-Saddam rallies turn violent"

Let the record show that CNN covered the pro-Saddam rallies in some detail, despite the fact that fewer demonstrators turned out for these events.

After reading the following entry by Chief Wiggles, it reminded me once again that all we are, all we have, everything we think we have become is, indeed, nothing. All our treasures, wealth, power, possessions cannot help nor save us. At our demise we have only ourselves and our God. Saddam's god has abandoned him. Mine will not.

My cell phone rang off the hook today as people everywhere continued to rejoice over the capturing of Saddam Hussein, what a catch. Friends and families were calling all day to express their appreciation for what we, the USA, had done for them. This is a day that most thought would never come in their life time, hopelessly in bondage to a supposedly unbeatable foe.

Most of them could not believe the photos they saw in the morning paper. Saddam Hussein, their one time self proclaimed King, Ruler, dictator, almost deified leader, considered to be super-human, magical and mystical, once thought to be able to call upon the evil spirits from the other side, master of the red genie tribe, and seen as the leader of his own Saddam cult, there he was with matted down hair, dirty, unshaven, like just any other normal human being.

How could it be? They would ask out loud, in amazement and disbelief. How could it be like this? Saddam, their strong and brave leader surrendering without a shot being fired, not even a shot to end his own pathetic life? Where is the courageous murderer of countless thousands perhaps even millions? Where is the ruthless torturer of millions more, with an iron hand that ruled them for so long?

There he was crawling out of a snake's hole in the ground, like some coward as if to beg for his life. He was just like them, a common man with no special powers to whisk him away on a cloud of thunder, to bring down lightning bolts of fire upon his assailants. He was nothing but a worm to crawl from his earthen home, hoping to negotiate for his life, as if he had some last chip to leverage.

They were appalled at what he had become, the man who once had everything at his fingertips, the wealth of this nation, the will of its people, and the power to take whatever he wanted. In the end he had nothing to show for his thirty years of effort to build an empire. They saw his human frailties and his lack of courage to go down in a blaze of shots.

The people of Iraq are rid of him forever. I felt their pain to the extent that I could and I knew their joy to some degree, for I too felt like weeping as the people, as if by proxy, cried for their dead and lost loved ones. The people were finally able to release the sorrow of the past enslavement through their cries and screams, as if to say Saddam you did not win, you did not beat us, we outlasted you and we will have our day. It is over.

Monday December 15, 2003

I haven't blogged for a while now as I've had some computer problems. Turns out it was memory which had gone bad. Stuck in a new chip and...viola, problem solved. Thanks to the Best Buy diagnostics. After two weeks of trying this and that, they found the root in a matter of hours from when I dropped it off. To coin a phrase...Bully!

But what a great day to be back in the saddle with the GREAT news that the Evil One has been captured. Truly a great day for America and the coalition--but an even greater day for the majority of Iraqis. Not that all our trials and tribulation in Iraq are now at an end, but still, a great victory. Nor do I expect that Saddam will give up all his secrets. In fact, early reports describe him as defiant. However, now the whole world sees him for what he truly is and not the mythical figure that he has projected. He is basically and evil tyrant, but also a coward. The former great and powerful leader finally reduced to hiding in a hole. Although he reportedly had two AK-47's in his possession, all he could say in the end was, "don't shoot". 'Nuff said.

Of course all the pundits and talking heads are on the TV and radio pontificating on what this means for America, the Bush Administration, the Democrats, the terrorists, the Arab Street, etc. Blah, blah, blah. What's really important is what this means to the future of Iraq. What does this mean to the 25 million Iraqis who have been terrorized by this monster for the past three decades. Here is what some of the Iraqi bloggers are saying.

The Messopotamian:

Before this, I prayed the traditional prayers of thanksgiving. That I, and the Iraqi people should see this day! This, surely, is the mother of all days for us. The heroes of our valiant Pesh Mergas, and the heroes of the U.S. Fourth division have done it. Now is the time to unleash the Iraqi Counter Terror; now is the time to go for the kill. Let us go after them. Don't lose this moment. They want to recant and live in equality with the people? they have a chance - otherwise they will have to go. I am too overwhelmed with emotion to write coherently; please excuse me. The foul mouths of the enemies of our people everywhere and the neighboring vultures and hyenas be stuffed with dirt; we will come after you; your time will come.

Long live the great alliance of Mesopotamia and the United States of America and her allies. Now is the time, now is the time; Do not delay; unleash the Counter Terror.

God Bless Iraq; God Bless America; God bless the Allies.

And above all Praise be to Allah the Almighty the Avenger.

From Iraq The Model:

It's the justice day.
I'm speechless.
I'm crying.

The tyrants' hour has finally came. I went down to the streets to share the joy with my brothers. This is our day, the day of all the oppressed and good people on earth. Tears of joy filled the eyes of all the people. Saddam, the coward, hides in a hole, shaking in fear from being captured. Not a single bullet was fired, without any resistance, God, he was even cooperative! The mighty tyrant, who exploited all our country's fortune for his personal protection, surrenders like the cowered I expected him to be.

Yes, he should be prosecuted in Iraq. We will not allow anything else. We want to see him in a cage bending more and more, humiliated more and more, just as he forced all the Iraqis to bend to him, like they were his slaves. But we will not be like him, we will give him a fair trail, and he will get just what he deserves, although I have no idea what does he really deserve.

It's indeed an inauspicious day for all the tyrants. Let them know that their days are near too. This is the day of all Iraqi martyrs who were slaughtered just to please his sick lust for blood. Rest in peace my brothers. The paradise is yours and the disgrace and hell is for all the tyrants on earth.

Thank you American, British, Spanish, Italian, Australian, Ukrainian, Japanese and all the coalition people and all the good people on earth. God bless the 1st brigade. God bless the 4th infantry division. God bless Iraq. God bless America. God bless the coalition people and soldiers. God bless all the freedom loving people on earth. I wish I could hug you all.

And this from Hammorabi:

It is a victory for the victims of his regime and the righteous people of Iraq and the WORLD at large. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL AND HAPPY NEW YEAR (2004) WITHOUT THE TYRANT!

This from Healing Iraq:

Just as we expected, he was dragged out of a narrow cellar close to a small mudhut near his former stronghold in Tikirit. The timing was a surprise to Iraqis. I was beginning to doubt that he would be captured at all.

Yesterday afternoon I was still asleep when I sensed a commotion in the house, there was gunfire outside. I was a bit reluctant to get up and check since there was no power. Nabil stormed into my room shouting hysterically "They caught Saddam! They caught Saddam!". "Yeah Sure" I responded and covered my head with the blanket. I slept for another hour but the increasing gunfire and excited voices made it difficult. I got up and went out in the street, everything looked normal. I stumbled to my grandmother's house where everyone was huddled in front of the tv watching Al-Jazeera. The news were still uncomfirmed, so we waited impatiently for Bremer's press conference. When he announced "We got him" everyone in the room cheered out loud. The following video of Saddam in his long hair and beard was a shock to us all. My grandmother burst in tears.

Al-Jazeera repeated that video a hundred times in that hour. I don't know what got into me but I really felt sorry for the man. For the first time in years he looked so human. He was just a typical helpless 66-year-old Iraqi at that moment. I stared hardly at his eyes and tried to convince myself that this was the same man who destroyed Iraq and sent millions to their deaths. I found myself talking to the screen "Why did you have to do this to yourself?", "Why did you have to put us into all of this?", "Why didn't you fight back or at least kill yourself to spare us these images?".

I had no reason to, but I felt humiliated. I sank into an overwhelming depression and sadness, and I had a desperate need to get terribly drunk. I should have felt joy but I didn't. And I'm still dissapointed with myself.

I went out again, the streets were empty now, everyone was at home watching the news. Celebratory gunfire continued for hours. In the evening, I went out to fond armed teenagers filling our street carrying Saddam's pictures. They were shouting the vilest things about Sistani, Hakim, and even Ali Bin Abi Talib. Some of the mob were dressed in Fedayeen clothes with grenades and explosives in their hands. I got foolish and tried to take photographs. They dragged me in their midst and I thought this was it. Some accused me of being a spy, and others shouted "Kill the bastard". My parents and some neighbours were all over me and convinced the kids to leave me alone. After that they blocked the street and started to threaten passing cars, all the while shooting in the air. 4 or 5 IP cars showed up and the crowd dissipated. Shops closed and the streets were empty again.

I went to Omar's and told him we'd better postpone our trip to Basrah because the situation didn't look very good. I didn't go out today. It was totally different in the rest of Iraq, people were happy and danced in the streets the whole day. There is a glimmer of hope for Iraqis that Saddam's ghost won't be stalking them anymore. Some people described yesterday as the best day since April 9.

Finally this from Chief Wiggles an American soldier in the Green Zone in Baghdad:

I was almost brought to tears as I contemplated the full emotional intensity of what this moment must mean to these people. I had to hold back my emotions as the reality of this moment hit me, that we had finally been able to catch up with him. After so many stories of his whereabouts and so many pieces of information concerning the circumstances of his activities, we had done it.

After so much suffering for so long it was finally coming to an end. The era of Saddam Hussein was over. This was now going to completely dispel any rumors regarding his return to power, his super human qualities, and the myths of him being guarded by genies or evil spirits.

One thing hit me as I watched the video of his discovery, with his long and shaggy hair, his scraggly beard, and his deep wrinkled face; he was just a man, like any other human being. He wasn't anything special. Yes, he was once a king with everything anyone could want; now found with nothing at the bottom of a hole in the ground.

Now where are his legends of supporters, his secret services and Special Republican Guards, and his evil genies? He was left alone, with even the devil finally moving on to his next candidate, leaving him totally unsupported.