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Home > War On Terror

Ace in the hole

So, the hunt for Saddam Hussein is over and the big questions can finally begin to be answered. But first we need to answer a few little ones, writes Paul Carr

15 December 2003

"Ladies and gentlemen - we got him."

And with those words, Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, announced the capture of The Ace Of Spades, found hiding in a luxury Baghdad hole. The news was greeted with 'whoops, cheers and applause' from journalists.

So, the hunt is over and the big questions can begin to be answered. That's great. But let's not forget the little questions. Questions like...

Question One:

What on earth were the whooping journalists thinking? Why didn't they just paint big targets on their (and their colleagues') heads and be done with it?

From Media Guardian...

[John] Simpson blamed the deaths of many of the journalists on the system of embedding, which meant that journalists operating independently of US and British troops became "potential targets".

You aint seen nothin' yet, John.

Question Two:

Saddam was alleged to have withdrawn $1 billion from Iraqi banks before going into hiding. When he was found, he had less than $750,000. That leaves $999,250,000 unaccounted for. Sporting his new gold-lined uniform and gold-rimmed hat, Lieutenant-General Ricardo 'Dirty' Sanchez declined to speculate on the whereabouts of the loot, but passed the following photos among reporters, inviting them to 'draw your own conclusions'...



Question Three:

Why (according to Sanchez) did Saddam 'offer no resistance' during his capture? Of course, the question of why an old man at the bottom of a hole, armed with a handgun didn't attempt to take on 600 heavily-armed American soldiers may never be fully answered.


Question Four:

What happens now? Fox News reports that...

"U.S. officials said they still haven't decided what to do with Saddam Hussein now that he's been captured, but one option is putting him before a special tribunal established just days ago."

...while Tony Blair promises...

"It gives an opportunity for Saddam to be tried in Iraqi courts for his crimes against the Iraqi people."

An 'opportunity'? Or an 'option'? Tony is obviously hoping that his announcement will force President Bush to take the international law route.

But Bush has an election to fight next year and a long, drawn-out trial - during which all of America and Britain's secret arms deals will be dredged up in Saddam's defence - could put a real spanner in the works.

Or it could guarantee a second term. It's a real gamble.

Careful Saddam, that cell floor looks pretty slippery - and that noose is hanging kinda low.

More on the capture: First thoughts on the "we got him" press conference.

More on Saddam: The TFT Saddam Archive.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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