By Jack Mandaville The guys I served in the Marine Corps...
We Remember Iraq: Wacky Iraqi
I remember sitting in the chow hall at Camp Rudder—home of the 6th Ranger Training Battalion—and looking up at the news on television to see scraggly-bearded Saddam Hussein being drug out of a little hole in the ground, with news reporters repeating the line “we got him,” over and over. The once-glorified leader of one of the world’s largest armies had been found living like a rat, taken to jail and, eventually, hanged.
Lest anyone forget, Saddam was a nasty dude who deserved way worse than he got. For whatever problems we faced in Iraq—failures of intelligence, strategic blunders, etc.—the removal of that porn-style mustachioed megalomaniac was most certainly a good thing. From dropping chemical weapons on his own people after the Iran-Iraq war, having people murdered for thinking differently, or some of the truly heinous shit he conducted in his prisons, Saddam Hussein’s actions displayed nothing but a disdain for humanity outside of his own. It has even been stated that the Oil for Food program—started by the ever-so-helpful United Nations—was perhaps one of the greatest embezzling cases in the history of mankind with Hussein pocketing billions and using humanitarian aid money to fund suicide bombers.
In other words, the term “oxygen thief” is a little tame when applied to the Wacky-Iraqi. Keep in mind also that we have him to thank for the creation of Uday and Qusay Hussein. Even that alone qualified him for dangling from a rope by his windpipe.
So it came to be that Operation Red Dawn was put into place after actionable intelligence on Saddam’s whereabouts was received and a few officers got done watching Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell kill Russians. Task Force 121 and members of the First Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division were assigned the mission of capturing or killing the man who had fashioned himself as an all-powerful despot controlling the Middle East’s largest army.
After a search of the area in question was conducted, a hole was found that housed a disheveled Saddam, who reportedly had at least one pistol and several hundred thousand dollars—and never fired a shot. The man who had become famous for his bravado in front of large crowds was discovered cowering in a hole, lacking even the gumption to get off a few rounds and go out in style. He was found in a spot that was true to what he was—a rat in a hole.
I distinctly remember the news coming on and reporting that 4th ID had found Saddam Hussein and hearing some of the older, more seasoned Ranger Instructors say things like “I don’t think it was just the 4th ID…” Sure enough, within days those same NCOs were telling their buddies “hey, remember Joe? Yeah, he was part of that raid that captured Saddam. They scurried out before the cameras showed up.” Legends abound of warriors whose beards rivaled that of the former Iraqi President’s dragging him out of the pit, snapping a few photos, and melting back into the shadows before anyone and everyone with a public relations assignment could get on the scene.
Was it a waste of resources to topple Saddam’s regime? Did our country do the right thing in waging a war against a man who apparently had very little fight in him? These and other questions like them will be mostly for history to decide. But ponder the words of men like Victor Davis Hanson, a man many consider the greatest living military historian: “There may be a lot to regret about the past policy of the United States in the Middle East, but the removal of Saddam Hussein and the effort to birth democracy in his place is surely not one of them. And we should remember that.”
Indeed, by nearly any standard of international humanity, the only blunder in removing Saddam from power was that we didn’t do it earlier. We rid the Middle East of a mass murderer who sat in control of an incredibly large amount of money and the fourth largest army in the world (at the time of our invasion). We ousted the man largely responsible for one of the largest monetary fiascos in history (Oil-for-Food). We ended the reign of a fascist dictator who staged mock elections and made those who countered him simply disappear.
So whether or not the invasion and subsequent years in Iraq were a positive for the world as a whole has yet to be fully decided, we can rest assured that the end of Saddam Hussein’s time in power is most certainly a benefit to humanity. We should absolutely remember that his removal benefited not only his country, but the rest of the world, as well.