Effort to fill Saddam's shoes will make job easier for U.S. forces

Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Following the stunning capture of Saddam Hussein, liberal politicians and their media chorus were reduced to stating the obvious: It will not end attacks on coalition forces.

There could, indeed, be an increase in the attacks, as the few remaining frustrated followers and their terrorist allies try to show a measure of strength.

American military forces, the media tell us, already were facing new tactics. The issue is how effective they will be.

Osama bin Laden is said to be shifting al-Qaida forces to Iraq to attack anyone aiding the U.S.-led coalition. Judges and policemen have been killed by terrorists as a means of intimidation.

It is important to find and kill the terrorists, and to do that the U.S. forces need Iraqi aid.

If intimidation were to be successful, it would thwart that effort. But, murdering people also can stiffen the resolve of those it is intended to intimidate.

Making it clear that the United States is there for the long haul to aid and protect Iraqis in putting their country back in order, could make Iraqis more likely to turn on the terrorists.

If terrorists are flocking to Iraq to achieve martyrdom, they are making the job easier for U.S. soldiers, who are more than willing to help them achieve their goal.

Saddam's capture conceivably could have been the first sign of a backlash against the intimidation effort, producing tips from angry Iraqis who realized that the nation's safety and security would never be ensured as long as he remained at large.

Most Iraqis already welcome the presence of the U.S. forces and appreciate the liberation of their country. Saddam's capture could tip the balance, causing more people to provide information about the terrorists in their midst, so the pace of reconstruction could be accelerated.

Meanwhile, the immediate issue is how best to mete out justice to Saddam. He should be hanged, of course, after a brief trial is held. Under no circumstances should the United States' total control of the process be turned over to anyone else, which could result in delay and increase the possibility of Saddam escaping, committing suicide or being murdered.

Florida Times-Union,

Dec. 16

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