Bullies are always cowards at heart

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

It was almost a pathetic sight, this shambling old man, dazed, disoriented and distraught.


I had to remind myself that the Saddam Hussein they pulled out of the appropriately named spider trap is the same Saddam Hussein who used his own citizens to experiment with nerve gases.

A few hours later, it was easier to remember. Once Hussein got a bit of rest, food and cleaning up, the arrogance and hostility returned, according to the military reports, and obstructionism replaced his offer to "negotiate" with the $750,000 in US currency he had with him in his lair.

My oldest son watched the proceedings carefully all day Sunday (with the exception of the few hours he spent with the Tennessee Titans) and had a list of questions waiting for us by the time we got back from Christmas shopping.

"Why did he just give up? Why didn't he fight? Does this mean the war's over?"

The 11-year-old was also concerned about how the capture of Saddam would affect the war.

"Is it over?" he asked. "Can they all come home now?"

No, we had to tell our sons. It is not over. And although many of the 130,000 troops will be coming home soon, others will be taking their place in the battle to create a democratic government in Iraq.

"Why did he give up?" The oldest asked again.

My thought on the matter is that Saddam Hussein is a bully. A bully on a truly grand scale, of course, but still a bully. And everyone knows that bullies are cowards at heart. We saw that Sunday.

The saddest part is that there are still Iraqi soldiers out there who believe the bluff and military posturing of pre-occupation Saddam, soldiers who are still willing to die for the man who was hiding in his bolt-hole, literally sitting on top of his American money, waiting to buy his way to freedom.

The quote that first comes to mind is "Lo, how the mighty have fallen," but that is wrong. He was never mighty.

But lo, he has fallen.