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Volume 6, Issue 1                                    University of Houston

President wins more than meets the eye

Zach Lee
Opinion columnist
Ladies and gentlemen, we got him. After months of fighting and the deaths of many innocent people, Saddam Hussein is finally in American custody. The former dictator has been captured, and the coffin is all but sealed for Democratic presidential hopefuls. His ruthless disregard for human life aside, Saddam's capture is an incredible victory for President Bush. Soldiers in Iraq have suddenly gotten something concrete and something good to send back home. Pictures of Saddam are a welcomed break in the stream of American casualties. 
While Saddam may seem to be nothing more than a once shaggy-bearded consolation prize, Bush has achieved something. Never mind the other shaggy-bearded guy  the one who actually attacked us Ñ the silver medal is enough to make us vote to re-elect. 
Howard Dean and Wesley Clark shouldn't be too sad. Saddam's capture gives President Bush an option he didn't have before. He can declare a definitive victory and start withdrawing troops. It's an option presidents would have killed for during the conflict in Vietnam. 
If there's something Americans -- especially Texans -- despise, it's backing down from a fight. Lyndon B. Johnson, another Texas cowboy, had no intentions of leaving Vietnam without a victory. That meant American boys kept dying, and at every setback, he had to either lie to the American people or send more troops overseas to overpower Ho Chi Minh. Often, he did both. 

America doesn't need that again. After months of fighting a war that has often been called pointless, and has -- to this point -- failed to produce the famous weapons of mass destruction, Bush has the opportunity to save face and American lives at the same time. A major objective has been met, and Iraq is in far less danger now than when it was invaded. After all, a nuclear missile isn't nearly as dangerous as the depraved mind that would actually use it. 

American troops, however, are still very much in danger -- not because Saddam's regime is still organized -- but because we are an occupying force. We Americans don't take too kindly to occupying forces either. That's part of the reason we declared our independence. 

There's no way to eliminate terrorism in the world, and to continue an unpopular occupation of a country halfway around the world is no way to gain friends and influence local politics. History looks to be precariously close to repeating itself. What happened in Vietnam does not have to happen in Iraq. We do not need to spend billions of dollars and risk millions of lives on telling another country what to do. Of course, low prices on gasoline make tempting fate very intriguing. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we got more than a former dictator. We got a chance to end the war while keeping our pride. We can leave now and feel good about ourselves, knowing that Saddam has not only been ousted, but that he will also be punished. We can leave now and feel good about ourselves, knowing that American lives will not be extinguished on Iraqi soil. We can leave now and feel good about ourselves, knowing that we finally learned to take our leave when the job is done.

Lee, a sophomore English major, 
can be reached at

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