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Five years ago at this time, something remarkable happened, which has been conveniently forgotten: On December 13, 2003, one of history’s worst dictators, Saddam Hussein, was captured by U.S. troops.
America awakened to the news on Sunday, December 14, as a grateful President George W. Bush readied for church. In fact, the secular left had become so ferocious, so emotional, and so uncharitable that Bush decided to skip church to avoid images of going to a house of worship just after Saddam’s capture. His staff feared a New York Times editorial with a title to the effect of “Bush Thanks Jesus After Saddam’s Capture.”
Saddam Hussein, who had asked his men to fight the “mother of all battles” against Americans, had dug a hole near a farmhouse and hid. During the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam set up lines of fire to keep frightened troops from retreating against the mightiest military in history. Army deserters were penalized with ear amputations. Saddam asked Arab brothers to be suicide bombers. Now, when it was his turn to fight, the Butcher of Baghdad hoisted his arms in the air, not reaching for the pistol in his holster.
Colonel James Hickey said U.S. Special Forces were seconds from pitching a grenade into Saddam’s hole but stopped when the despot held up his hands and said in English: “I am Saddam Hussein, I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate.” They replied sarcastically, “President Bush sends his regards” and led him away.
The press conference formally announcing the capture was a moving moment. “Ladies and gentlemen,” declared an emotional L. Paul Bremer III, administrator of Iraq’s governing coalition, “we got him.” The room became positively electric when video of a bedraggled Saddam appeared. The Iraqi reporters couldn’t control their emotions; they wailed and wept tears of joy.
Dr. Adnan Pachachi, acting president of Iraq’s Governing Council, declared a national holiday. His council’s official statement read: “We thank God the tyrant has been arrested.” An Iraqi reporter followed Pachachi by thanking “the brother Americans” in the name of Allah. Another Iraqi reporter was so overwhelmed that he couldn’t formulate a question.
The Iraqi press, made up of hundreds of emergent newspapers in the wake of Saddam’s fall – the first fruits of freedom in 35 years – now fully demonstrated to the world that newfound liberty. Iraqi writer Abd Al-Hamid Al-Sa’ih called Saddam’s seizure the “mother of all arrests,” writing: “His friends believed that he would resist like the knights until the last poisonous bullet in his conscience. But nothing of this sort happened.”
Iraqi and Arab writers alike focused on Saddam’s surrender, calling the “beast” and “Prince of Darkness” a coward, a “hyena with no teeth,” noting that his sons and even grandson fought more valiantly. The leading independent Iraqi daily Al-Zaman editorialized, “The fall of Saddam is complete and the Sun has returned to shine on Iraq.” Abd Al-Bassit Al-Naqqash, the editor-in-chief of the daily Al-‘Ahd Al-Jadid, wrote an editorial in which he asserted: “This is the clearest and most beautiful morning in my country, Mesopotamia.”
Amazingly, though, not everyone was happy. Howard Dean, the Democratic presidential frontrunner at the time and a rallying point for hatred of George Bush, was characteristically displeased. “The capture of Saddam has not made America safer,” Dean snarled.
That reaction turned out to be quite significant. Howard Dean’s insatiable displeasure symbolized what lay ahead for Bush.
Unfortunately, 2005 and 2006 were bloody years for U.S. troops reconstructing Iraq – prior to the remarkable turnaround in 2007. To Bush’s permanent detriment, the media that went wild with every nugget of bad news in 2005-06 did not counterbalance their coverage with the flow of excellent news from 2007-08.
Further, because of unrelenting attacks by vicious opponents, and more so because of his maddening inability to effectively respond and communicate his vision, President Bush’s popularity took a freefall from which it never recovered.
The seizure of Saddam in December 2003 illustrates this in a nutshell: A genuinely fair, unbiased media, as well as genuine, honest critics, should have hailed the wondrous capture – and Saddam’s subsequent execution and removal from the land of the living.
For his part, President Bush should have served up this reminder repeatedly as the liberal media and his critics did not. The president’s communications team – assuming one ever existed – should have constantly promoted images like this (another was the fall of Saddam’s statue in April 2003) as the visual equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall. They did not, and their president’s support crumbled like that wall.
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The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
In the 1980s, I was an unrefined adolescent from blue-collar Butler, Pennsylvania. I knew nothing and cared nothing about politics. I had no idea if I was a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, or much of anything else.
“In Bin Laden Announcement, Echoes of 2007 Obama Speech,” declared the headline in The New York Times.
It’s difficult to find a newspaper that has demonstrated a worse pro-Obama and anti-Bush bias than The New York Times, especially when dealing with the War on Terror.
Former president Jimmy Carter told NBC News last week that his work at home and abroad has been “superior” to other presidents.
“I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents,” Carter assessed. “Primarily because of [my] activism and the injection of working at the Carter Center and in international affairs, and, to some degree, domestic affairs.”
The huge “9/12” protest in Washington was the latest expression of discontent over President Obama’s leftward policy thrust. The discord is evident from the Tea Party movement to the chaotic town halls on health care reform.
What if an American president, on his own initiative, under no demands from staff or from supporters or opponents, set out to spend an unprecedented amount of money on AIDS in Africa, literally billions of dollars, at a time when the nation could not afford it, citing his faith as a primary motivation and, ultimately, saved more than a million lives?
Every American, obviously, has heard of Ronald Reagan, and Reagan historians have heard of Bill Clark. Clark was Reagan’s close aide, who, more than any other, laid the foundation for Cold War victory.
What’s the state of the republic one month into the Obama presidency? It’s a state of deep confusion. Here are some polls to ponder. Brace yourself.
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