Educators discuss Saddam’s future

Glen Seeber

Finally in the hands of U.S. Forces, Saddam Hussein is likely to go through an interrogation process, an assistant professor of political science speculated Sunday evening.
Dr. David Rausch, who teaches at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, said the question he would ask first if given an opportunity would be: “Where are the weapons of mass destruction?”
“I still think he didn’t have any,” Rausch said. “I think he was taking the money, saying he was building a nuclear program, and he was actually buying more palaces with it.
“He would say, ‘I’m making you more secure’ and tax the people, but didn’t spend the money on making them secure. That’s a conspiracy theory I have,” Rausch said, and laughed. “They haven’t been able to find weapons of mass destruction.
“It’s a way he could threaten his enemies, and deceive his own people.”
In any case, Rausch said, he expects Saddam to go through a lengthy interrogation process before he is turned over to the new Iraqi authorities for prosecution.
“They will ask him a lot of questions, like where are the other generals. Whether he will tell them anything is a good question.”
Rausch doesn’t expect the capture to have much of an impact on the ongoing attacks on occupation forces. “The insurgents are being organized and run by the former generals,” he said.
“I don’t think Saddam had that much actual strategic power” in recent months. “He’s been more of a figurehead. I don’t know who they will pick to replace him (in that capacity) — maybe the Motherland or the Fatherland, or whatever they would call it.”
He doesn’t expect Saddam’s capture to bring an end to the bombings and other attacks.
Nor does Dr. Robert Beckley, professor of sociology at WTAMU, although there is a possibility the Iraqis will turn against each other more instead of against the occupation forces.
“It’s going to have the possibility of the Shiite majority using this as a way of shutting out the Sunni Muslims,” Beckley said.
“Saddam’s iron hand kept the Shiites at a distance — they are the religious majority. He did have a secular state — although not quite as secular as Turkey, in regards to Islam.”
Without Saddam’s repression, and with the certain knowledge that Saddam is no longer free, he said, “the Shiites will feel more liberated. I think they will feel more empowered, and will say, ‘We want an Islamic nation.’ The Sunnis will resist, because they are more at peace with a secular state.”
Saddam’s capture will make obvious a “vacuum” in Iraq’s leadership, he said. “It will be up to the governing council, with our help, to see neither (religious faction) gains the upper hand with regard to the other.”
Concerning the effect of Saddam’s capture on the people of the United States, Beckley said, “It was a wonderful capture. It couldn’t come at a better time.
“It makes criticism of (President Bush’s) policies in Iraq, about not having captured Saddam Hussein, moot now. It gives him a little more time to resolve things.”
On the other hand, Beckley expects the capture of Saddam to affect the campaign rhetoric of the Democrats seeking the presidency. “It does not bode well for the Democratic presidential candidates who have made opposition to the war their main issue,” he said.