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View Full Version : Would we have been better off capturing Saddam's sons?


SPG
Jul 24, 2003, 10:42 PM
I've been reading some opinions around the web about the killing of Saddam's sons the other day, and I agree with most people that the world is better off without them, but what if we got them alive?
Who else would have better knowledge of their father's whereabouts?
A war crimes trial at the Hague would have been a good opportunity to air the dirty laundry of the Hussein regime and gather international support for ousting them, not to mention the catharsis the iraqis need.
I find it a little hard to believe that we couldn't capture them alive. Three guys and a 14yr old kid with small arms against the 101st airborne with air support? We could have waited them out.

zimv20
Jul 24, 2003, 10:45 PM
i'd rather they'd been captured and then tried.

i'm wondering if it was convenient to the WH to have them dead -- was there something they were afraid would be said?

same w/ saddam hussein. i think he should stand trial.

SPG
Jul 24, 2003, 11:01 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
i'm wondering if it was convenient to the WH to have them dead -- was there something they were afraid would be said?
After I posted that thread I read this over at the Whiskey Bar:
http://billmon.org/archives/000394.html#more

It's understandable, really, why the Bush administration would prefer to remove the Husseins from history, rather than put them back in it. The Hussein brothers may not have known as much as their father about the full history of America's relationship with Iraq, but they probably knew enough to make a public show trial a very, ah, revealing affair. Consider these scraps of known information:


One awkward find was a cache of missiles that were made in the United States. Though details of the discovery are classified, sources in Washington say that military and intelligence agencies launched an urgent investigation to find out how the weapons got to Iraq and whether American firms might have violated U.N. embargoes and U.S. laws. Recently the inquiry was abandoned when convincing evidence turned up that the missiles had been exported legally from the United States to Iraq in the years before the first gulf war, when American policymakers cozied up to Saddam as a counterbalance to Iranian ayatollahs.


Iraq's bioweapons program that President Bush wants to eradicate got its start with help from Uncle Sam two decades ago, according to government records getting new scrutiny in light of the discussion of war against Iraq.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ... and a biological sample company, the American Type Culture Collection, sent strains of all the germs Iraq used to make weapons, including anthrax, the bacteria that make botulinum toxin and the germs that cause gas gangrene, the records show.


"We have been here for 40 days and haven't received a single part to fix broken vehicles. The good news is that we supplied the Iraqis with American equipment during the Iran war in 1982. I've looted many Special Republican Guard barracks (there is a 30 km stretch of SRG barracks between us and Tikrit) for Browning .50 Cals, in perfect condition, literally still in packing grease. We also found a stock pile of M-113s ..."


Better -- at least from the administration's point of view -- that Uday and Qusay tell whatever they know to Satan, not a war crimes tribunal. That obviously goes double for their Dad.

zimv20
Jul 24, 2003, 11:09 PM
the more i think about it, the more i doubt the adminstration wanted them captured. and i'm thinking it's the same policy for their dad.

he knows too much. it's like a mob hit. but w/ the world's biggest military.

Sayhey
Jul 24, 2003, 11:10 PM
It may or may not have entered into the decision to kill the two sons, but it is very clear that both around the US arming Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war and the US training and arming of Islamic fundamentalists (including Al-Qaeda members) during the Soviet/Afghanistan war, the Bush administration doesn't want this "blowback" exposed.

pseudobrit
Jul 24, 2003, 11:38 PM
I'm still not sure how the tactical decision was made to attack them. Why not surround them and wait it out?

Surely they could not have done anything about being surrounded by Bradleys, M1A1s and snipers who could wait until they surrendered... :confused:

IJ Reilly
Jul 25, 2003, 12:10 AM
Originally posted by zimv20
i'd rather they'd been captured and then tried.

Likewise. A demonstration of justice is especially important in a country that has had so little for so long.

macfan
Jul 25, 2003, 12:39 AM
zimv20,
Don't think about it so much. ;)

First, it was known and freely admitted that the US tilted towards Iraq in the Iran Iraq war. There's no need to cover that up.

Second, the US support of the anti Soviet rebels in Afghanistan is very well documented and freely admitted.

Third, the CDC sent samples of anthrax for reserach purposes to many countries over the years, including Iraq. (One might also mention that their nuclear program got a boost from Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program in the 1950s).

Fourth, the decision to kill Saddam's spawn was taken by the commander on the ground after they failed to surrender when requested. It would have been better if they had been captured alive for intelligence purposes (if they didn't want a trial, they could have just questioned them and then turned them over to a few Iraqis to tear limb from limb), but the brothers didn't want to be captured alive. This was not a decision taken in Washington.

Finally, the idea that "we could have waited them out" fails to take into account a number of important factors, including the fact that there were civilians in the area at risk and the fact that the 101st guys on the ground were taking fire from inside the building. The fact that the second floor of the house was basically a concrete bunker didn't help the situation.

SPG,
I find it a little hard to believe that we couldn't capture them alive. Three guys and a 14yr old kid with small arms against the 101st airborne with air support? We could have waited them out.

One guy with a toy gun can avoid being captured alive by a local cop if he so desires. Why do you find it hard to believe that these guys were able to avoid live capture? We might have been able to capture them alive if we had some of that gas the Russians used in that theater in Moscow, but the 101st doesn't stock that stuff.

bond003
Jul 25, 2003, 12:44 AM
Originally posted by macfan
zimv20,
Don't think about it so much. ;)

First, it was known and freely admitted that the US tilted towards Iraq in the Iran Iraq war. There's no need to cover that up.

Second, the US support of the anti Soviet rebels in Afghanistan is very well documented and freely admitted.

Third, the CDC sent samples of anthrax for reserach purposes to many countries over the years, including Iraq. (One might also mention that their nuclear program got a boost from Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program in the 1950s).

Fourth, the decision to kill Saddam's spawn was taken by the commander on the ground after they failed to surrender when requested. It would have been better if they had been captured alive for intelligence purposes (if they didn't want a trial, they could have just questioned them and then turned them over to a few Iraqis to tear limb from limb), but the brothers didn't want to be captured alive. This was not a decision taken in Washington.

Finally, the idea that "we could have waited them out" fails to take into account a number of important factors, including the fact that there were civilians in the area at risk and the fact that the 101st guys on the ground were taking fire from inside the building. The fact that the second floor of the house was basically a concrete bunker didn't help the situation.

SPG,


One guy with a toy gun can avoid being captured alive by a local cop if he so desires. Why do you find it hard to believe that these guys were able to avoid live capture? We might have been able to capture them alive if we had some of that gas the Russians used in that theater in Moscow, but the 101st doesn't stock that stuff.

macfan,

It is nice to see some real rational thinking. Every point I was ready to make, you beat me to it. Great minds think alike. Keep it up, since I don't mind being beaten by you.:)

SPG
Jul 25, 2003, 12:52 AM
Originally posted by macfan
One guy with a toy gun can avoid being captured alive by a local cop if he so desires. Why do you find it hard to believe that these guys were able to avoid live capture? We might have been able to capture them alive if we had some of that gas the Russians used in that theater in Moscow, but the 101st doesn't stock that stuff.

The stakes are a little higher here. If we could muster 200 troops, we could keep the area secure and wait them out. We could've used a swat team, we have Delta in country, we have so many ways to do that.
Also the reports said that the operation lasted from 4 to 6 hours. Sounds like they weren't in a hurry to wipe them out until the white house gave the Okay.
Read the link I posted above, not just the highlight.

IJ Reilly
Jul 25, 2003, 01:06 AM
Originally posted by SPG
After I posted that thread I read this over at the Whiskey Bar:
http://billmon.org/archives/000394.html#more

This page also includes a link to a pdf of the entire 9-11 report, over 800 pages worth of light summer reading for the true news junky.

bond003
Jul 25, 2003, 01:06 AM
Originally posted by SPG
The stakes are a little higher here. If we could muster 200 troops, we could keep the area secure and wait them out. We could've used a swat team, we have Delta in country, we have so many ways to do that.
Also the reports said that the operation lasted from 4 to 6 hours. Sounds like they weren't in a hurry to wipe them out until the white house gave the Okay.
Read the link I posted above, not just the highlight.

You forgot or chose to ignore a few important factors. First of all to this day there are still those who don't believe that we actually got them. When the informant came up to the troops and told them that the two losers were inside, they had no way to know for sure he was telling the truth. The troops receive thousands of tips and many prove to be false. There was no need to assume that this time the intel was right on the money. The troops tried to capture them, but in the process 4 soldiers were wounded. To me that was a mistake that they quickly learned from and made sure that no more soldiers endangered their lives to capture people they had no way to confirm were the brothers. Our troops are involved in hundreds of similar actions all over the country. If they decided to camp out in each case and attempt to capture each terrorist, there would be even more bloodshed on our side.

macfan
Jul 25, 2003, 01:08 AM
Originally posted by SPG
The stakes are a little higher here. If we could muster 200 troops, we could keep the area secure and wait them out. We could've used a swat team, we have Delta in country, we have so many ways to do that.
Also the reports said that the operation lasted from 4 to 6 hours. Sounds like they weren't in a hurry to wipe them out until the white house gave the Okay.
Read the link I posted above, not just the highlight.

I did read the link you posted, I just think it's a little nuts to talk about how they didn't want them captured alive when they could have had it both ways if capturing them alive was a vialble option for the US forces there. They could have captured them, never released the information of their capture, questioned them, and then killed them, getting both the intel advantage and the presumed advantage of not having them alive to testify.

C'mon folks, if you're going to think conspiracy, think big!

bond003,
Good point on the uncertainty of the identity of the targets.

SPG
Jul 25, 2003, 01:16 AM
They were turned in by a relative. The intel checked out before they went in. They knew who they were getting.

zimv20
Jul 25, 2003, 01:26 AM
Originally posted by macfan

Fourth, the decision to kill Saddam's spawn was taken by the commander on the ground after they failed to surrender when requested. [...] This was not a decision taken in Washington.


how do we know that?

macfan
Jul 25, 2003, 01:43 AM
Here's the timeline off of .CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/07/23/sprj.irq.fatal.firefight/index.html)

They started with a bullhorn, took some casualties (3 wounded upon entering the house and finding the targets barricaded) and ended with TOW missiles, gradually increasing the level of firepower as they went along. The really big firepower wasn't used at all. They are operating on standing orders, you don't wake up the president every time there is a raid in Iraq.

SPG,
They hoped they knew who they were getting, but they didn't know for sure until after.

Rower_CPU
Jul 25, 2003, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by macfan
...
They hoped they knew who they were getting, but they didn't know for sure until after.

What about the informant? They organized a large attack based on the information that Uday and Qusay were there, not the hope of getting some random Iraqi officials.

IJ Reilly
Jul 25, 2003, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by Rower_CPU
What about the informant? They organized a large attack based on the information that Uday and Qusay were there, not the hope of getting some random Iraqi officials.

The point being, I suppose, that the US forces knew only what the informant had told them, and not whether it was accurate. Still, if it had been the policy to capture instead kill these individuals, then a much greater effort would have been made to do so, and we'd have seen tear gas and stun grenades instead of TOW missiles. I don't claim to know what this means, but it is just another little factoid to consider within the larger picture of the United State's purposes and goals in Iraq.

mcrain
Jul 25, 2003, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by macfan
SPG,
They hoped they knew who they were getting, but they didn't know for sure until after.

Unless I am much mistaken, the US thought there were WMDs in Iraq based on an informant's information. The Bush administration believed so blindly in that informant's information, that they started a war in part over it. I guess, they must have learned their lesson according to your statement.

Backtothemac
Jul 26, 2003, 12:53 AM
Originally posted by SPG
I've been reading some opinions around the web about the killing of Saddam's sons the other day, and I agree with most people that the world is better off without them, but what if we got them alive?
Who else would have better knowledge of their father's whereabouts?
A war crimes trial at the Hague would have been a good opportunity to air the dirty laundry of the Hussein regime and gather international support for ousting them, not to mention the catharsis the iraqis need.
I find it a little hard to believe that we couldn't capture them alive. Three guys and a 14yr old kid with small arms against the 101st airborne with air support? We could have waited them out.

And what if in waiting it out, they would have somehow escaped, or killed just one US soldier? Would that have made it worth it. They would have never, been taken alive. Well, at least Uday. He has always been a coward. He spent the first gulf war in a bunker crying like a child.

They got what they deserved.

zimv20
Jul 26, 2003, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
And what if in waiting it out, they would have somehow escaped, or killed just one US soldier? Would that have made it worth it. They would have never, been taken alive.

though your point is well taken, i do have trouble believing that 200+ members of the 101st airborne would be unable to capture _any_ 4 people, much less 2 guys who are used to being coddled.

there was a big hole in the side of the room, the US punched for intelligence gathering. what of lobbing tear gas through there, or non-lethal sniper shots? or a hundred other things i probably don't even know about?

i think the decision to simply kill them was made a bit too easily. i.e. the WH didn't want them making any statements.

pseudobrit
Jul 26, 2003, 12:09 PM
I'm going to have to agree with BTTM on this one in the end. Though I would have loved for the guys to find a way to catch these two alive, and I think they could have found a way to do it, in the heat of a firefight they simply could not know what kind of arsenal they were sitting on.

Surrounding them with tanks and APCs would only be effective against their small arms fire until they whipped out a rocket launcher or a mortar tube.

Backtothemac
Jul 26, 2003, 12:12 PM
Originally posted by pseudobrit
I'm going to have to agree with BTTM on this one in the end. Though I would have loved for the guys to find a way to catch these two alive, and I think they could have found a way to do it, in the heat of a firefight they simply could not know what kind of arsenal they were sitting on.

Surrounding them with tanks and APCs would only be effective against their small arms fire until they whipped out a rocket launcher or a mortar tube.



......He isn't breathing, pulse is 0. CLEAR. beep,beep,beep, CLEAR.


Backtothemac comes back to the earth, nearly escaping the clutches of death.

When asked what happend he points to the screeen where it says

"I am going to have to agree with BTTM on this one."

pseudobrit
Jul 26, 2003, 12:31 PM
Well, we'll see.

I'm hopeful that a full report will be made public about the circumstances. If it was a tactical decision made from the top to kill them outright, I can't support the action, but if it was made on the spot or escalated to a full blown firefight, I have to say we did the right thing and the safe thing.

Until we know otherwise, I must assume it was in the control of the localised forces and thus I must support a soldier's decision for judging when he's (or an officer for when his troops are) at risk.

Backtothemac
Jul 26, 2003, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by pseudobrit
Well, we'll see.

I'm hopeful that a full report will be made public about the circumstances. If it was a tactical decision made from the top to kill them outright, I can't support the action, but if it was made on the spot or escalated to a full blown firefight, I have to say we did the right thing and the safe thing.

Until we know otherwise, I must assume it was in the control of the localised forces and thus I must support a soldier's decision for judging when he's (or an officer for when his troops are) at risk.

Well, they said that as they came into range of the building the sons opened fire on the 101st. Thus, they returned fire. It would have been better to get them alive, but it would have never happened, as the wound on Uday's face would show.

zimv20
Jul 26, 2003, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
as the wound on Uday's face would show.

i just read somewhere today (now where was it?) that no one's sure the wound was self-inflicted. i'll try to find it.

edit:

found it (http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3160375)


Uday still wore his beard. A hole in the top of his skull was left untouched. U.S. officials said they had no evidence to support suggestions that he had shot himself to avoid capture.

Backtothemac
Jul 26, 2003, 01:29 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
i just read somewhere today (now where was it?) that no one's sure the wound was self-inflicted. i'll try to find it.

edit:

found it (http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3160375)

Well, what I was saying was that many defectors had said in the past that he would commit suicide before capture. That he was that type of person. I just wish I could have been the one pulling the trigger on him.