i-NSIDER/No.114/April 1, 2003

-- Where is Hussein?

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is criticized for his strategic failure; he pushed for his plan to be realized when the war began. He is considered to be an advocate of digital air power, disdainful of heavy armored forces. He was busy explaining on the FOX and ABC TV news shows on the 30th that he never interfered in strategic decision-making. It is unlikely that he did not influence battlefield commanders regarding operation plans, since he is bossy and easily loses his temper toward his men.

The latest "New Yorker" edition, dated March 31, tells an inside story of how and why US military development was delayed; uniformed officers submitted detailed plans six times for deploying ground forces, and each time the defense secretary rejected the plan. The magazine continues that Army Commander Tommy Franks of the Central Command advised Mr. Rumsfeld to wait until the 4th Infantry Division, to which Turkey had denied passage through the country, had arrived in Kuwait. But the defense secretary did not listen to him. Some say Rumsfeld is responsible for today's confusion in the army. After interviewing several top officers, the 'Washington Post' points out in its March 30 edition that "Rumsfeld is paying a price for what many in uniform perceive to be his lack of trust in their judgment"; and that he "has become a lightning rod for criticism because he has not been frank with the public about the flawed assumptions and level of force that was on hand at the start of the war". These reports seem to tell the truth. The defense secretary will be blamed in the future for his vanity and dishonesty.

Mr. Rumsfeld, who cannot admit he was wrong, calls for patience because "it's going to work and we're going to win". He is not so confident, however, as to Hussein's whereabouts. Saddam Hussein and his two sons, Qusay and Uday, are still missing. Long before the war broke out, the US spent much money to insert spies near Hussein. They have intercepted an enormous number of telephone calls and communication exchanges, trying in vain to locate Hussein and his sons. In the TV interview, the defense secretary tried to give an impression that Hussein is dead because
(1) It is unusual to see Saddam's personal bodyguard behind the Iraqi defense minister's left shoulder when he was briefing reporters during the week.
(2) There has been evidence that some of Hussein's family fled to Syria.
But his arguments are not so impressive as he desired.

Where is Hussein? Today's Mainichi (April 1) suggested that "if he is alive, he is hiding in one of the underground bunkers in Baghdad." The assumption is based on sources from the ABC, AP and Reuters news. In 1984 Hussein constructed an underground bunker consisting of 14 rooms, with a total space of 1800 square meters, at a cost of $66 million, similar to the bunker that President Tito of former Yugoslavia had in Bosnia. We don't know how deep the bunker is located under the ground, but it has a firm structure, strong enough to withstand an atomic bomb as big as that dropped on Hiroshima, 300 degree Centigrade heat-resistant. It has a living space; conference rooms; water and fuel tanks; US-made diesel motors; air and water purification systems to counteract the effects of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; a command room with communication equipment; and two emergency exits. Besides the main bunker, there are a number of cellars that are connected with multiple corridors.

Bombing Hussein with a precision-guided weapon may not be a smart idea if he is in such a bunker. Sure enough, he would not go out of the country for exile now that people in the Arab world begin to see him as a hero. American troops will have to carry out a devastating battle inside Baghdad to control the city, and their special forces will have to break into a labyrinthine underground fortress. After sacrificing many lives they will finally come to find a man who is alone in the room. They will point a gun at him... But who knows if he is only a shadow of Saddam Hussein? Thus the war goes on.

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