Learning From Our Fatal Mistakes

By Art Buchwald
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We wanted him dead or alive.

There is no doubt that the Army wanted him dead, and had no intention of taking Abu Musab al-Zarqawi alive.

I felt the same way. Americans are not a bloodthirsty people by nature, but we saw what happened when Saddam Hussein was captured.

We took him alive and we're still stuck with him. The way things look, we'll be stuck with him for a very long time. It will be quite costly by the time he's found guilty of killing thousands and thousands of his people.

You get the feeling that even President Bush wanted Zarqawi dead. Bush now looks much better in the eyes of the country. All it cost us was two 500-pound bombs -- and poof! One mission was accomplished.

On the other hand, whenever you tune in to the trial of Saddam Hussein, he's sitting in his box, denying everything. He screams and yells at the judge, claiming he can't be tried because he's still president of Iraq.

It was our mistake to let him out of his spider hole, give him a nice clean cell, a dentist, a good haircut and a dictionary so he could write a book.

It makes you sick.

When the news came out that Zarqawi was killed (either standing up or sitting down), there was joy in Bud Evered's family room.

He said, "I'm a couch potato, except when it comes to killing an insurgent."

I agreed with Evered. "He blew up people's homes, sank our ships, beheaded hostages and destroyed mosques. But if we had sent him to Guantanamo Bay, we would have looked bad."

Evered said, "Zarqawi gave al-Qaeda hope when they shouldn't have had any."

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