Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | July 22, 2003

CENTCOM: Uday, Qusay killed

By Steve Gilliard

A company of the 101st Airborne got into a four hour firefight with a house in Mosul.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told President Bush Tuesday the U.S. military might have killed Saddam Hussein's two sons during a raid in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, administration officials said


A special military task force formed to hunt for Saddam and his top supporters led the raid, supported by extensive armor and air cover, officials said.

Two hundred members of the 101st Airborne Division swept onto the scene in the assault, and no one was captured, a U.S. official told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

Ok, while I'm no expert, a four hour firefight is an extremely long time to fend anyone off. You have Task Force 20 supported by a company from the 101 attacking a house. People who can move fast. Now, either they shot this house up until the mice had .223 rounds in them, there were a LOT more than four people killed inside, or Uday and Qusay Hussein learned to fight from American gangster movies.

Yes it is possible that Saddam's murderous, heinous sons got killed in a four hour long fire fight, but then again, given the firepower arrayed against them, the idea that they lived for four hours in such a hailstorm of fire is dubious. Also, how in hell could their bodyguards survive and escape? There should be a pile of dead Iraqis around the house, not four as the news reports claim.

Let me put it another way. most people can carry about 3 minutes of ammo if they load up and fire on full auto. Maybe you could hide a couple of boxes. But four hours worth?

Who knows? Personally, I'd rather hear about a four hour firefight which killed Osama Bin Laden, but if these guys are dead, they died a lot better than the thousands of people they personally tortured. Of course, this will do little to end the war, since Saddam is no longer the issue and hasn't been since April 9th.

Update: CENTCOM is claiming the bodies are that of Qusay and Uday Hussein. Before you break out the champagne, let me point out a few things .

One, given the miserable state of US intelligence, a lot of proof, like verifiable DNA, will be needed to ensure that these are the brothers and not doubles.

Two: These guys were running for their lives. They weren't directing guerrilla operations. They were trying to hop the border or something. They, despite their henious nature, were not a direct threat to US forces. Yes, sending them to hell is not a bad thing, but it is less relevant than people will make it. They didn't control much, if anything, at this point.

Now, you have two martyrs for the Baathists, who died violently resisting US forces, who took four hours to kill them. These guys went out like freaking heroes. Now, if they had been caught napping, or eating a kebob, that would have made them look like the criminals they were. Now? They're going to be spun as heroes throughout the Arab world. Going down with guns blazing against an airborne unit is not a bad way to be remembered. You can bet within the month, drawings of their last gunfight will be all over walls throughout the Gulf. The commanders on the scene did what they thought was right, but if they really died in a gunfight, we've replaced two perverted killers with two Arab martyrs who would rather die than cower to the Americans.

Think it can't happen? Jesse James, who would probably be considered a war criminal today, is one of America's greatest heroes. People forget his brutal war record and his criminal career and remember his personal courage. We may well be shocked to see the kids of Gaza and Cairo with t-shirts lionizing Uday and Qusay, but we shouldn't be surprised to see it happen.

Three: The "Baathist" resistance doesn't need Saddam. There is enough anti-American feeling, based on our mass arrests and no visit policy, to get enough Iraqis to continue to kill Americans. This may well spark an increased tempo of attacks against Americans in revenge. Killing these guys doesn't ruin my day, but they're a distraction. Dead heroes can be defended better than living ones. Add in the legion of foreign volunteers and the war is more than likely to continue apace.

Four: OK, let's say we get Saddam as well. What happens next? Do Iraqis jump up and down and stop killing Americans? Or do they ask why we're still there once the threat's been eliminated.

Notice, you have not heard one word about Saddam from the Shia leadership. They don't worry about him coming back, or his influence or anything like that. It is not an issue for them. Why? Because they can prevent it if they have to. Saddam doesn't have an army or secret police any more. Man to man, they can stop him.

I hope Uday and Qusay roast in hell, but that does not mean they are relevant to the war we're fighting today. If the Shia were worried about Saddam, the bodies of dead Baathists would be hanging from the streetlamps of Basra and Najaf, and they are not. And if the Shia can let Baathists live, there has to be a reason.

Posted July 22, 2003 11:04 AM


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