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Let Libs Try Saddam Hussein

Exclusive commentray by Greg Lewis / WashingtonDispatch.com
December 23, 2003

So many left-liberal commentators and pundits are jumping in with opinions about what should be done with Saddam Hussein that, according to my sources, the idea has been floated at two major networks to televise a trial in which a panel of politicians and media types are actually given the chance to cross-examine the former Iraqi dictator during his trial. Of course, the list of possible questioners is fairly long, and it obviously includes former President George H. W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Kenneth Starr, Brit Hume, Charles Krauthammer, and Ben Stein. The networks had other ideas, however, and sought questions from several luminaries of rather different political convictions than those in the list above. What follows is excerpted from a dry run of the proposed trial.

Madeleine Albright: "Uh, Saddam, first let me apologize for those four days of bombing we put you through in 1998. Not my call. What I'd like to know now, what the world would like to know, is this: Just how long did the United States military hold you captive down in that horrible spider hole before they released the news to the world?"

Ms. Albright — a former U.S. Secretary of State, for God's sake! — actually floated the idea that the whole Saddam capture event was staged, that Hussein had been in U.S. custody, possibly for several months, and that his "capture" was revealed to the world in order to boost the President's sagging poll numbers. When Fox News's Mort Kondracke, to whom Ms. Albright made this assertion, questioned whether she was serious, he went away convinced that she was. "She was not smiling," is how Kondracke put it.

Albright had weighed in on the matter of capturing Saddam Hussein less than a week before he was actually taken down. To a Christian Science Monitor interviewer she offered this: "Saddam Hussein's continued life is more of a problem than Osama bin Laden's. . . . [I]n many ways he has a lot of levers he was used to pulling. . . . I think it does matter."

President Clinton ordered 100 air missions to be flown against Iraqi targets over a four-day period in December, 1998. According to Albright, "all the targets and things he [Hussein] cares about most have been destroyed." No wonder it was so easy for U.S. forces this year.

Barbara Walters: "Mr. Hussein, first let me say that you looked really handsome with that beard. But to my question: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

Barbara Walters, a known consort of tyrannical dictators with beards — it was alleged that she and Fidel Castro were physically intimate during time they spent together in the late 1970s when Walters interviewed the Cuban despot — actually asked this question of Katherine Hepburn in a prime time television interview. She's since given no evidence that would lead one to believe she wouldn't ask the same inane question of a tyrant who had murdered upwards of a million people. Physical intimacy no longer an option here.

Peter Jennings: "Mr. Hussein, do you think it was fair of the United States to let you remain in power all these years and then suddenly, without warning, come in and pull the rug out from under you? And, Mr. Hussein, do you feel it should be President Bush sitting in that chair you now occupy in this courtroom rather than yourself?"

Jennings, in a March 21, 2003, on-air session which he co-hosted with Barbara Walters after her interviews with four Iraqi women about Saddam Hussein's brutality, offered this: "[T]he truth is the United States enabled Saddam Hussein to stay in power for a very long period of time, led the campaign to keep sanctions on him for a long period of time which hurt the Iraqi people and when there was the [abortive Shia] uprising to which you refer in 1991, the United States . . . encouraged them [the Shiite rebels] to go and then didn't support them as they had anticipated."

Dan Rather: "Mr. Hussein, I actually asked most of my questions when we talked in early 2003. I consider you and I to be, well, friends, uh, you being so generous as to grant me that interview, and I have to say, based on the time I spent with you, I don't see what the fuss is all about. But there is one thing that's been on my mind since then: Are you still willing to go on national television and debate President Bush?"

There were a number of people who questioned why Rather, who actually seemed to find credible Hussein's offer to debate the President in February of this year, didn't call in an air strike on his own location during the time he was interviewing Hussein. It would certainly have solved a serious problem very economically by ridding the world of a mass murderer without the necessity of risking the life of anyone who actually believes in and is willing to stand up for America.

Katie Couric: "[To the panel of judges] If I may address the court before I ask my question: It's not fair to put this man through an inquisition. How would you feel? [Turning to Hussein] Now, Mr. Hussein, how do you feel about your term as ruler of Iraq? Can you enumerate for this court some of your successes, accomplishments that make you feel good and will live on after you, as well as, maybe, one or two of your failures during your time as Iraq's leader?"

Couric's implicit sympathy for, if not support of, Saddam Hussein became evident early on. In April, 2003, after the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Couric offered the opinion that "hopefully" Saddam Hussein had been able to move north from Baghdad to Mosul and Tikrit and from there escape to Syria. Couric, when interviewing American General Ricardo Sanchez, also overrode the General's assertion that capturing Saddam was strategically important by interrupting him with this: "Because this is more symbolic, General Sanchez, don't you think?" And in an interview with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Couric also hoped Saddam Hussein would get a "fair trial," ostensibly because the world would be watching and this would be an excellent opportunity "to show democracy at work."

Although I have it on good authority that the idea for a program featuring Hussein and based on this trial format is being considered, I can tell you that network executives have scotched the idea of calling the program "Who Wants to be a Moron?"

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