Along the Tracks

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Did we get him?

You be the judge. CBS News has this side by side comparison of Saddam from the Dan Rather interview earlier this much and the chubby, rumpled slug of a commander who spoke on Iraqi television this morning without directly mentioning last night’s attack. CBS’s David Martin says many U.S. government analysts and officials think we got Saddam with that precision strike.

So, now what? Well, I think we should be (maybe we are) blitzing Iraqi airwaves announcing the death of Saddam. Let the Iraqi army start surrendering. Let the top Ba’ath Party and military leaders start defecting, offering to assist the U.S. in finding illegal weapons, etc. If Saddam is still alive, force him to prove it with something better than the sloppy fake of this morning. If his sons want to take over, make them announce it publicly. Force any remaining elements of Saddam-loyal leadership to come out from hiding to regain control. If there is proof of Saddam’s survival (or the maintenance of a leadership still loyal to Saddam), then let “shock and awe” begin. However, if all we hear is dead silence from the dictator and his close allies, and if it appears the Iraqi military - particularly the Republican Guard - is giving up, we should hold back another day or two. Events inside Iraq will prove rather quickly whether the regime has been “decapitated,” and surrender talks can begin.

If so, we will have already won the war.

UPDATE: Rumsfeld’s statement (third and fourth paragraphs) is pretty encouraging.

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