Are They Out of Their Minds?

Or Just Afraid of the Truth?

by Jerre Skog

Dissident Voice

July 24, 2003


We shouldn't believe anything until it's officially denied, and we know that whenever the American empire wants to divert the public mind away from embarrassing facts it creates a diversion with the help of obliging media and, if needed, obedient military or security services. With these proviso we can view the latest, and this time unusually strongly asserted, claims that Saddam Hussein's two eldest sons were found and killed.


Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay are supposed to be two of the most sought after persons in Iraq and possibly even in the world. With their close family ties to the dictator himself and the official positions they held, they must both be virtual goldmines of information. Was this fact the reason why almost no military resources - OK, no nukes were dropped -- were spared in order to take them, not alive but in the form of silenced and bloody human remains?


Facts as far as they can be determined according to international news channels and other sources and culled from the statements that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez chose to tell us at his televised briefing on Wednesday 2 p.m. seem to be the following:


At 10.00 Tuesday morning (July 22nd) local time American forces commenced an operation targeting Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay who were reported to be hiding in a luxury villa in north Mosul belonging to a relative named Mohamed el-Zidani (who according to some sources was the one who betrayed the Hussein sons in the hope of cashing in on the promised reward of $15 million for each of the sons).


The area was cordoned off and the house surrounded and, after an initial call for surrender was made, some US soldiers made their way to the second floor of the house where they met with fire. They retreated and after calling up more troops and hardware the assault began.


More than 200 men are reported to be involved according to Gen. Sanchez: Elements of 101 Airborne Division, one Infantry Company, Special Forces, one Antitank Platoon. (The combination of forces used is, according to well known journalist Robert Fisk, known as Task Force 20 and includes CIA agents.)


They used: MK19 grenade launchers, 50 cal machine guns, TOW missiles, '84' rockets, and assault rifles. To help make up for the terrible odds of having to fight with their only 200 strong force armed not even with nukes, against a few men with small arms, the American forces had at their disposal Humvees with TOW antitank systems and heavy machine guns, 08-58 Delta Kiowa helicopter gunships with heavy machineguns and 2,75 inch rockets, and light armored vehicles. A10 attack jets and Apache helicopter gunships were on standby!


After 3 to 6 hours "fighting" (reports vary wildly), the Americans can go in and shoot the last man still alive behind the barricades on the second floor. Qusay, Uday, another man, probably a bodyguard, and a teenager, probably Qusay's 14-year-old son Mustafa, are the ones found dead on the second floor of the villa. Their weaponry is Kalashnikovs! The first two are, according to Gen. Sanchez, quickly identified beyond doubt by various individuals and using dental records. (Slightly surprising as one would imagine there wouldn't be much left to identify.) Four Americans are wounded. (If from friendly fire or from Kalashnikovs perhaps one shouldn't ask). Some civilians are reported to be hit in crossfire and sent to hospital. Some neighboring houses are destroyed.


The civil administrator of illegally occupied Iraq, Mr L. Paul Bremer said in an early comment something to the effect that American forces have "again demonstrated their professionalism". If that was American professionalism, Bush the Stupider better replace his mantra "God bless America" with the more apt "God help America!" Misters Bush, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Powell and not least of all Paul Bremer ought to be terrified if above operation is a measurement of the professionalism and competence of the American forces.


Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea and other countries on the list of "next-to-be-bombed-invaded-and-liberated" ought to be pleased and encouraged!


At his briefing, the commander of American forces in Iraq Gen. Sanchez was obviously very pleased with the outcome. He started by outlining the present state of affairs in Iraq. A rosy picture indeed. Had not footage from independent channels been aired one could be led to believe that after 100 days of benevolent American occupation Iraq was a flourishing nation, the next thing to a desert Disneyland, with American soldiers and Iraqis walking the streets arm in arm, all the electricity, safety, oil exports, food and other necessities coming as needed. We know the reality is very different!


After the introductory American goodwill propaganda and a run through of the events as seen by the occupier, some questions were allowed. Many seemed to come from tame journalists and little new of interest surfaced. The most pertinent question was asked by a British journalist, "[when there were only some men with small arms and surrounded by heavy American forces] why were not commandos sent in to take them alive. Uday and Qusay must have had a lot of important information?" Gen. Sanchez found it best to arrogantly and quickly dismiss it with a non-answer and jump to the next question. Questions about the two other persons killed were likewise dismissed though Mr. Sanchez could easily have told whether or not one of them was a teenager!


The most interesting piece was that he actually admitted "there was no rush [after the preliminary small arms fire]. We had time." Then why the savage onslaught as soon as more firepower arrived? Couldn't the US forces just have kept the Hussein sons in the surrounded house while sending for some tear gas. (If not available in Iraq there surely must be a little left over from what was used to gas all the demonstrators for peace all over the homeland some time ago.) The wanted guys were there and they wouldn't go anywhere. (Had they killed themselves in the end, Sanchez's troops couldíve saved some expensive bullets and rockets!)


Since there was "no rush" why wasn't a commando operation set up like the British journalist suggested? Or even better, experienced police forces being handed the matter? As has been demonstrated, any competent police force in the world would find the task of capturing them alive to be a fairly elementary operation after they were isolated in a cordoned-off house and armed only with a few automatic rifles. Even running into complications a few ought to survive. We can even imagine using the standard tactic when hostages are taken: Stall, stall, stall. Or the medieval tactic of starving them into submission. No rush means there's time to plan a sensible strategy and three men and a kid are no formidable enemy. Why the overwhelming onslaught?


An unusually stupid comment totally contradicting Gen. Sanchezís claim that "there was no rush," as well as logic (and the footage we all could see on TV), came Wednesday from self declared military genius Paul Wolfowitz: "... tempo and secrecy are the keys to success in such situations..." Anyone who could see much tempo (remember the 3-6 hours "fighting") and secrecy in the pictures from Mosul, please raise your hand!


Did the Hussein brothers know things about previous Iraqi-American cooperation that people like Cheney, Wolfowitz and Bush Sr. would prefer to be kept under wraps and were they therefore terminated following orders issued under deniable circumstances, or have the American forces lost all sense of proportions? Is the new fascist American culture of summary executions, military tribunals, concentration camps and assassinations now enveloping also the majority of the US forces? Or are they just given orders that make no sense to anyone with two brain cells still standing and fighting back the xenophobic paranoia that the Bush administration tries to instill in people across the world? For the world, for the Iraqis and even for the American public, the only satisfactory handling of this case would be to capture both Hussein sons alive, find out what they know (without torture please!) and then send them to an independent court for trial! Unless of course it wasn't really Uday and Qusay. In such a case the action taken is completely logical. At least until next time America needs to find them!


Since Bush the Stupider and Ashcroft have taken over America, there seems to be a strong dislike, bordering on fear, of having anything where they are involved legally and openly tried by courts, let alone international ones. What are they afraid of? When Bush at every possible (and some impossible) occasion trumpets his "bring them to justice", does he really mean justice or will a bullet in the back of the head do? And now again a kid! Are not all the Afghani and Iraqi kids already blown to bits enough? Even if Mustafa had the Hussein name what atrocities could he have committed by his years to deserve to be sent prematurely to paradise by trigger-happy American soldiers too ignorant even to be aware that their own previous governments were largely responsible for Saddam being in power all those years?


Now the US has killed two sons of Saddam. If the reports are correct they have also killed a grandson. And they obviously are measuring up a coffin for Saddam himself too. (Will it go on until the seventh generation? Will the female line be spared? Or the third son?) While Saddam and the two sons are/were very nasty individuals deserving to be behind bars for the rest of their miserable lives, to assassinate them is to descend to the same levels as those criminals and it's not very encouraging for the world that the US, who intends, even demands, to rule it is doing just that. To make it even worse, the same country has to take the blame for the Saddam clan coming to power and staying there. Is there something in that murky past that motivates there should be no survivor of the clan to speak up to the world? We'll see, but expect the ultimate violence to be used whenever bribes or threats do not work. It just IS the new style in American ruling these days. Come to think of it, that was Saddam's style too!


Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said at the press briefing he expected that attacks on American forces would cease soon after the two sons were killed. A dubious prediction seeing five US soldiers have been killed in the 50 hours following the assault on the Hussein brothers. Having their hands full not getting caught, Uday and Qusay surely didn't mastermind any attacks themselves and it is more likely that their followers (and you need a lot of followers to run a cruel dictatorship) now will be fired up for revenge. Another possibility (if Gen. Sanchez can get the Iraqis to believe him about the deaths and if Saddam also bites the grass) is that people who don't want EITHER Saddam or American rule now can feel free to hit out against the Americans without fear that the old dictator comes back. A fourth possibility is that the Iraqis are so used to dictators that they don't care who rules the bloody place as long as it's not America and they have jobs, electricity, water, food, housing, the oil to themselves, free education and health service! The last three are incompatible with American rule!


Those who believe that once the Hussein clan is gone the Iraqis will embrace the American occupation forget one unpleasant fact. The Americans killed between 6,000 and 10,000 to reach their goal. Do you really forgive the ones who murdered your five-year-old son in order to illegally invade your country?


In the trumped up euphoria that two of the nastier representatives of a brutal regime now probable are no more, we better keep a cool head. The important matter is not whether or not it is true. What matters is the answer to the question: Why is every imagined "enemy" to the American administration either assassinated/executed, kept incommunicado in a concentration camp, held without access to legal help or tried summarily in secret military courts and denied every access to fair, legal and public process?


Why is everybody silenced?


Jerre Skog is a Swedish writer, musician and independent observer living in Germany. His writings, politics and satire, can be found on www.skog.de and comments are welcome at jerre@skog.de



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