Talk about going down in a blaze of glory.
Despite Saddam Hussein's stated intention to resist the U.S.-led coalition, the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division found him in a 6-foot by 8-foot "spider hole" just large enough for a man to lie down, 10 miles south of Tikrit, Saddam's ancestral home. Not only did he reportedly surrender meekly, though armed with a pistol, he identified himself as "president of Iraq" and stated that he wished to "negotiate."
The disheveled and unkempt image of Saddam flashed through the airwaves and, most importantly, throughout the Arab world. Imagine the reaction to the U.S. military surgeon examining Saddam's hair for lice, and then checking his teeth, the patient meekly subjecting himself to the humiliating inspection.
"How confident are you that the U.S. will capture or kill Saddam Hussein?" asked a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll. Fifty percent of Americans said, "Not too confident," or "Not confident at all." Small wonder. Democratic presidential contender Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in a recent Rolling Stone article, tried to excuse his vote for the Iraq war resolution because, as he put it, he failed to realize how badly Bush would "f---" it up.
The Democratic presidential candidates bombarded Americans with the refrain, "We can't find Saddam Hussein. We can't find weapons of mass destruction."
Never mind the interim report by Bush's envoy, David Kay, whose investigation left no doubt that Saddam Hussein continued a clandestine program to develop chemical and biological weapons. This report also left no doubt that Saddam Hussein stood in violation of United Nations resolutions, including his attempt to purchase $10 million worth of military equipment from North Korea.
With the last quarter GDP growth higher than at any time in nearly 20 years, and with productivity up and jobs coming back, the Democratic candidates harped on Bush's failure to capture Saddam Hussein. They accused the president of ineptitude, incompetence, lack of focus, lack of follow-through and lack of success.
Presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark, in one recent debate, stated, "President Bush said he was going to get Osama bin Laden dead or alive. Instead, he went after Saddam Hussein. He doesn't have either one of them today." At a previous debate, "candidate" Reverend Al Sharpton intoned, "Mr. Bush will not be in a Sharpton administration the head of missing persons. He can't find bin Laden. We don't know if Hussein is living or dead, and we can't find the weapons of mass destruction."