Home > News > The Gulf War II > Report
'Coward' Saddam didn't put up a fight: Armitage
December 18, 2003 11:34 IST
United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has said he considers former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to be 'an ultimate coward' because he surrendered meekly instead of putting up a fight.
"... here is a fellow who had sent thousands and thousands of young men to their deaths, both in wars with Iran and the invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent battles with the
US, and yet he gave up without a fight... I think you have to consider someone who sacrifices to the last citizen, and he himself gives up meekly, would have to be considered an ultimate coward," a media report quoted him as saying.
Asked whether he had expected Saddam to give himself up alive, Armitage said: "No, I thought he wouldn't. I didn't think he would subject himself to the humiliation."
"Clearly he is more afraid of dying than he is of living in humiliation," Armitage told CNN in an interview.
On whether it would have been easier for the US had he been taken dead, Armitage said: "Well, I actually think this is better because it will, once we have worked out the procedures for a fair and transparent trial, give people who have been victims of his torture and killings a chance to cry out from their graves for justice, and it will also give the families of those victims a real chance for closure."
"Saddam's interrogation," said Armitage, "may yield things useful without (his) knowing that he is yielding useful things."
"But he is an unmitigated liar and we are going to have to check and check carefully everything he says," Armitage alleged.
"The capture of Saddam," said Armitage, "means we have removed the symbols of defiance but not the root cause of the defiance that exists in Iraq today, and we do expect the violence to go on. After the deaths of Uday and Qusay, I would just note that the violence actually spiked a bit before settling back down."
On what the US had learned so far from Saddam, Armitage said, "Because of the need to check everything out, to follow up all the leads that have been gained by this capture, public officials need to be quiet about it."
As to when Washington will turn over sovereignty to the Iraqis, Armitage said: "The November 15 agreement makes it very clear that by June 30 next year, the Coalition Provisional Authority of Bremer will turn over authority to Iraqis. That does not mean that the coalition forces will leave, but it certainly means that we will no longer be sovereign in the person of Jerry Bremer."