Thursday, April 10, 2003
We win. Or something.
The government of Saddam Hussein has lost control over Baghdad after US forces advanced into the centre of the capital.
US tanks drove unhindered into public squares on the eastern bank of the Tigris for the first time, including the area surrounding the Palestine hotel, where the international media are based.
In a symbolic moment, an American armoured vehicle helped a crowd of cheering Iraqis to pull down a huge statue of Saddam Hussein in the Fardus square in front of the hotel.
Dozens of exultant people leapt on the deposed figure and stamped on it, shouting "Death to Saddam!".
US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld described the scenes as "breathtaking".
He said Saddam Hussein was "taking his place in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators".
Yes, but have we actually changed the regime yet? If this IS the end of the war, then thank Yog for that. I'd be happier, though, if the Coalition were sufficiently interested to determine whether or not they actually got Saddam:
Britain's foreign intelligence service, MI6, is believed to have told the CIA it believed Saddam left the targeted building just before it was bombed on Monday.
"We do not have a hard and fast assessment of what individual or individuals were on site," he added.
The Times quoted one official as saying: "We think he left the same way he arrived in the area, either by a tunnel system or by car, we're not sure.'
The Guardian also quoted an intelligence source as saying: "He was probably not in the building when it was bombed."
A US B-1 bomber struck the building in the Mansour residential area of Baghdad in response to intelligence that Saddam and his sons, Uday and Qusay, were meeting inside with Iraqi intelligence officials.
The US played down the reports that he was still alive.
"I don't think it matters that much. I'm not losing sleep trying to figure out if he was in there," the defence department spokeswoman, Torie Clarke, said.
Funny, eh, we still chase Nazis nearly 60 years after WW2 ended, yet the US doesn't seem bothered enough to find out whether or not Saddam is still out there. If he's alive and they do find him, will they bother to haul his dictatorial ass before a court or something?