Jewish World Review June 9, 2003 / 9 Sivan, 5763
Who said it's over?
The war in Iraq is not over. More American soldiers have been killed in
Iraq since the United States formally declared hostilities at an end than
were killed in any single engagement during the war. More casualties are
likely in the weeks ahead.
Saddam Hussein and his sons, Uday, and Qusay, are alive and are hiding out
somewhere in greater Baghdad, protected by an underground network of tribal
leaders and former Baath Party officials, the CIA thinks.
"There is a resistance network and it is stronger than we originally
thought," an administration official, who asked not to be identified, told
Richard Sale, Intelligence Correspondent for UPI.
Saddam and his entourage move from private home to private home, his sources
"Members of the family, including children, are taken as hostages so that no
other family member will be tempted to inform on Saddam's whereabouts," Sale
said. "When Saddam is ready to move to another safe house, the hostages are
returned and the family is paid as much as $50,000 for the temporary use of
The failure so far to capture Saddam is less than a defeat for the United
States, but more than a nuisance.
Saddam is not a furtive terrorist leader, like Osama bin Laden. His power
derived from holding power. Without it, he is not such of a much. Saddam
stood for little more than his own glorification and enrichment, which are
not causes for which thousands of fanatics willingly sacrifice their lives.
But many Iraqis will not breathe easy until the United States has captured
Saddam, or can provide conclusive evidence that he is dead. And if the
United States could produce such evidence, all the air would be let out of
the Baathist balloon.
It is likely that sooner or later -- probably sooner -- the U.S. will nab
Saddam. With each passing day, Iraqis get more comfortable with the
American presence, and American intelligence resources get better. With
each passing day, the more pressing problems of providing security and
getting basic services up and running are ameliorated, permitting more
attention and resources to be devoted to the hunt for Saddam and other Baath
This is why random attacks on American servicemembers -- in convoys, on foot
patrols, at sentry posts - are likely to increase in the weeks ahead.
Saddam has to know that time is working against him. With each passing day,
his influence over the Iraqi people diminishes. He hopes to wait out the
American occupation. But he can't afford to wait too long. He has to do
what he can to make us leave sooner rather than later, to demonstrate to
ordinary Iraqis that he still has teeth, lest what little influence he
retains slip away.
Large majorities of every major ethnic and religious grouping in Iraq either
support the American presence, or are indifferent to it. A poll of 620
Baghdadis by al-Mutamar, one of more than a dozen newspapers that has sprung
up in the Iraqi capital, found that though 85 percent had complaints about
the American military government, 77 percent supported the war to oust
Saddam, and 65 percent wanted U.S. troops to stay indefinitely.
The Rev. Ken Joseph, a former "human shield" who has returned to Iraq, said
that most of the Iraqis he has spoken to "hope (the Americans) stay
Salam Pax, an Iraqi web logger who now writes a column for the left-wing
British newspaper, the Guardian, described a conversation with a (Shi'ia
Muslim) cab driver in which the cab driver told him his imam is urging the
faithful to cooperate with Americans: "They did get rid of Saddam and should
be given a chance to prove their goodwill."
Like Osama bin Laden, Saddam regarded Mogadishu 1993 as a defeat for the
United States. He distributed videos of "Blackhawk Down!" to all his
generals. Inflict a few casualties on the Americans and they will leave, he
thinks. The strategy worked with Bill Clinton. It is unlikely to succeed
with George W. Bush. But it is the only card Saddam has to play. Our
soldiers are up to the challenge. They will not be intimidated.
next few weeks -- perhaps months -- are fraught with danger. Keep our troops
in your prayers.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
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12/18/02: Nothing better illustrates Trent Lott's unfitness for the post of Senate
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05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
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03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same
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© 2002, Jack Kelly