When Isn't the Capture of Saddam a Good Thing?

If you’re a Bush-hating Democrat, the news of Saddam Hussein’s capture on Sunday, December 14, could not have been good.

What then is the proper reaction to the news that this mass-murdering, Kurd-gassing, torture-imposing, Butcher of Baghdad has been caught if you’re one such Democrat?

Spin. Ignore the goodness of the news. Do what ever it takes to distract or misdirect — like a carnival worker — people’s attention from what is really going on in order to slip in your version of reality and to undermine anyone who stands opposed to you.

For example:

  • The Washington congressman who criticized President Bush while visiting Baghdad last year has questioned the timing of the capture of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

    Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam “a long time ago if they wanted.” Asked if he thought the weekend capture was timed to help Bush, McDermott chuckled and said: “Yeah. Oh, yeah.”

    The Democratic congressman went on to say, “There’s too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing.”

    When interviewer Dave Ross asked again if he meant to imply the Bush administration timed the capture for political reasons, McDermott said: “I don’t know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they’ve been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was. It was just a matter of time till they’d find him.

    “It’s funny,” McDermott added, “when they’re having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something.”

    –from “McDermott in Hot Water for Saddam Quip,”
    Newsday, December 15, 2003)
  • ———-
  • Let me be clear: My position on the war has not changed.

    The difficulties and tragedies we have faced in Iraq show that the administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help, and at unbelievable cost. An administration prepared to work with others in true partnership might have been able, if it found no alternative to Saddam’s ouster, to then rebuild Iraq with far less cost and risk. [???]

    The capture of Saddam is a good thing which I hope very much will help keep our soldiers safer. But the capture of Saddam has not made America safer.

    –from Gov. Dean’s foreign policy speech
    to The Pacific Council, December 15, 2003)
  • ———-
  • The capture of Saddam Hussein is good news for the people of Iraq and the world. But it does not change the fact that our troops remain in harm’s way; and we are no closer to bringing them home.
    –Press release posted on Carol Moseley-Braun’s
    official campaign website, December 14, 2003)
  • ———-
  • Oh, I don’t think the capture of Saddam Hussein in any way justifies the war. I congratulate the military. I think it is good that he has been captured, but I don’t think that it in any way justifies the fact that we were told there were weapons of mass destruction and that we were in eminent danger and we had to go into a military operation. [???]

    I think that in the spirit of this moment that the president ought to immediately try and appeal to a world body to take over, particularly the U.N. and appeal to Secretary General Kofi Annan and begin withdrawal of troops.

    We have Hussein now. I think that we need to use this moment to withdraw and end occupation. I think the debate now will shift to occupation and the need of such occupation. And so I don’t think any of us that were opposed to the war were pro-Hussein, but I don’t think the capture of Hussein nine months later in any way justifies the American public and the general international public being told we were going in because of weapons that clearly were not there at that time. [???]

    Under a Sharpton administration I would have put my resources and military into finding bin Laden who attacked and caused direct American lives on American soil. We still don’t have bin Laden. It took nine months to get Hussein. I still think the war was wrong.

    –from Al Sharpton’s interview
    on “CNN Live Sunday,” December 14, 2003)
  • ———-
  • This is a great opportunity for this president to get it right for the long term. And I hope he will be magnanimous, reach out to the U.N., to allies who’ve stood away from us, and use this as a moment to transform the entire operation in Iraq. That’s what it could be. [???]

    This is an opportunity for the world to take a stake in the outcome in Iraq.

    And the world has a stake in it. I don’t think the president has done an effective job of selling that stake. And what I’ve argued all along is, I always knew we wanted to get rid of him, we wanted to disarm him, we wanted to hold him accountable, but I wanted to do it right. [???]

    Look, diplomacy is critical. You need to reach out here and bring other countries to the table. It’s the lack of the United States’ willingness to share the authority and responsibility that is keeping other countries from being involved.

    –from Sen. John Kerry’s interview on
    “Fox News Sunday,” December 14, 2003)
  • ———-
  • Well, this is obviously a very positive development, but now we face the task of pulling together the international community and really getting the rest of the job done. There’s a lot to be done. This is a moment of great, very positive feeling because this is part of the goal. But now we have to leave Iraq in a better place, and that’s going to take the cooperation and the work of the entire international community, and this president needs to finally get their help. This is a world problem we face, not just an American problem. And it deserves a world solution. And it has been very frustrating that the president has not been able to get the cooperation and help of the whole world in doing this.
    –from Rep. Richard Gephardt’s interview on
    National Public Radio, December 14, 2003)
  • ———-
  • “With the capture of Saddam Hussein the Administration’s stated goal of removing him from power has been accomplished. Now the focus must be on ending the occupation. International law must be followed and Saddam Hussein must be held accountable for his actions.

    “The United States must seize this moment and end the occupation of Iraq. The United States must reach out to the world community with a new plan to stabilize Iraq, bring UN peacekeepers in, and bring US troops home.”

    –Press release posted on Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s
    official campaign website, December 14, 2003)
  • ———-
  • Turning to Iraq, yesterday was a good day. I was thrilled that Saddam Hussein had finally been captured. [???]

    This moment, however, cannot be just about congratulating ourselves and the Iraqi people for this capture. [???]

    I also knew that our military forces would be successful. But what we did not appreciate fully and what the administration was unprepared for was what would happen the day after.

    –from Sen. Hillary Clinton’s speech
    to the Council on Foreign Relations, December 15, 2003)