Skip

Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction
March 9, 2005 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated. Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army. "I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.
posted by Postroad (68 comments total)

 
No book deal in this for him...
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:42 AM on March 9, 2005


Truth is the first victim of war.

"Spider Holes of Deception" is what we'll call his non-book.
posted by nofundy at 10:43 AM on March 9, 2005


You mean the US government might have lied with regards to Iraq? Stop the presses!

/sarcasm
posted by clevershark at 10:52 AM on March 9, 2005


I love how the media is quick to point out before he tells his story that he's of Lebanese descent; a little cultural insuation to remind Americans that his veracity is suspect, and not just because it reminds careful readers of all the other lies we've been told about Iraq.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:52 AM on March 9, 2005


next you're gonna try and say that whole "toppling the statue of Saddam" thing was staged and that Jessica Lynch did not go down in a hail of gunfire protecting a basket full of three legged puppies.
posted by slapshot57 at 10:52 AM on March 9, 2005


it's been a while since i've trotted this one out...
Wait a minute. Bush lied to us?!??! Now I'm pissed!
posted by keswick at 10:55 AM on March 9, 2005


does it really make a difference?

signed, M. Bormann.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2005


Damn, Keswick, you beat me to it.
posted by zekinskia at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2005


My question is if in fact they did fabricate the story about capturing Saddam, why did they have to? I can understand why they might with the statue toppling and Jessica Lynch story. What is there to gain by this, other than they are just trying to keep in practice.
posted by Eekacat at 10:59 AM on March 9, 2005


clevershark beat you both.
posted by quonsar at 11:01 AM on March 9, 2005


Eekacat: I wondered that, too; my first suspicion is that it might more thoroughly discredit Saddam in the eyes of Iraqis if he was hiding like a rat in a hole instead of hanging out in a modest house. Remember after he was captured we endured a couple weeks of "now the resistance will end" BS.
posted by docgonzo at 11:01 AM on March 9, 2005


The question I have is "why?". It seems like his story and the "official" story differ only superficially. Is it only the thin propoganda value of "We found Saddam in a hole!" that motivated the allegedly false official version?
posted by Plutor at 11:02 AM on March 9, 2005


Question asked and answered. Dear self, read other posts on preview!
posted by Plutor at 11:03 AM on March 9, 2005


AlexReynolds: The solider mentions his ethnicity to whoever was reporting for the Saudi publication. He states, as follows:

I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam . . .
posted by raysmj at 11:03 AM on March 9, 2005


when you deny the spiderhole, you take the food off the family of the graphic artists who created 4 color schematic drawings of it for time and newsweek. and cable news.
posted by quonsar at 11:03 AM on March 9, 2005


I am intrigued by the Graphic Artist Family Buffet idea. Is that like the sushi off a naked woman thing previously linked?
posted by FYKshun at 11:07 AM on March 9, 2005


Look as long as we are telling the truth here, I was a limo driver in Iraq for the USO and I gotta say, those celebs might wanna do the right thing for the troops, but they still need to get their swerve on regularly.

Long story short, that wasn't Saddam in the spider hole nor was he captured a day earlier in a "modest home".

I was driving Ron "the hedgehog" Jeremy around while he waited for the Xanax to kick in after a coke binge and he was being a straight pain in the ass ... all "Where can I find some pussy yo and Iraq shorties is fine man.." and I just got sick of him and took him to that spider hole and told him it was the champagne room of sweet new Iraqi club called TailFeathers. I dropped him down there and took off, called the marines on the cellie and dimed him out as Saddam. They pinched him, Ron was too embarrassed to admit that he fell for the old spider hole gag and has just being playing along. I had a remorse episode a while ago and disguised myself as one of his lawyers and went in to say I would come clean on the whole thing, but Ron said it was actually a sweet deal and he was getting his GED and all and he was gonna wait to see how it panned out.

Cross my heart and hope to die.

Oh and it turns out there was never a real Saddam, those doubles were it, a bunch of dudes having a laugh (that's why the mole kept jumping around his face) and it all just got out of control.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:08 AM on March 9, 2005


Alex, having a bit of skepticism for any newswire story that isn't independently corroborated is good practice -- whether that's a story about a single Arab-American whistleblower or a story about supposed discovery of WMD caches in the deserts of Syria.

Besides, that newswire article seemed pretty straight-up. The fellow even made a point of specifying how he was working with a time of soldiers of Arab descent.

All the same, I'd rather see a non-Newsfiltery post that would aggregate additional angles of this story. Who else was part of Rabeh's team? Are they still in the service? Has anyone else interviewed them? Who was on the video that was supposedly fabricated? Will Kuma Games release a new mission to reflect Rabeh's story?
posted by bl1nk at 11:09 AM on March 9, 2005


Oh and the dude who played Ron on the Surreal life?

His cousin Myron, mom's side.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:11 AM on March 9, 2005


Graphic Artist Family Buffet! with a tip of the hat to the MPAA. why does bittorrent hate grips and gaffers so?
posted by quonsar at 11:12 AM on March 9, 2005


I heard plenty of people here in the US talk about what a coward Saddam was for hiding in a damn hole and not fighting like a damn man.

I would say that creating that idea amongst folks might be a reason to make up the story.
posted by flarbuse at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2005


After Jeff Gannon, Armstrong Williams, Karen Ryan and Jessica Lynch would anyone really be shocked if this turned out to be true?

I'm withholding judgement now, but will not be surprised if it changes.
posted by nathanrudy at 11:16 AM on March 9, 2005


Perhaps the spider hole version was simply to inflict maximum humiliation on "the guy who tried to kill my Dad."
posted by madamjujujive at 11:20 AM on March 9, 2005


So he is telling the truth and the rest of the men there are lying.

It couldn't be something as cyncial that he might be lying in search of some fame or a book deal or something.
posted by dios at 11:24 AM on March 9, 2005


It couldn't be something as cyncial that he might be lying in search of some fame or a book deal or something.

I think perhaps you might be talking about someone else with a book deal, being disingenuous about Guckert on the various media outlets over the last three weeks.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:29 AM on March 9, 2005


I suspect the "Spider Hole" story was fabricated in order to give the American public a cathartic "Ha HA!". Much more so than the version where the bad guy went down with a fight (however minor it was).

Definitely a better scenario for erasing the possibility of lingering supporters viewing him and his actions as "heroic".

-On preview... Dios: It's a possibilty, but I'd say he has less to gain in his dissenting story than the US does in theirs. In fact, true or not, I'd say it's a pretty big risk to take in telling. Let's wait and see if anyone else on his team "has his back".
posted by numlok at 11:30 AM on March 9, 2005


It couldn't be something as cyncial that he might be lying in search of some fame or a book deal or something.

I like the idea of Saddam living in a hole, writing a book. Very Kafka.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2005


So he is telling the truth and the rest of the men there are lying.

you could perhaps infer that, except that no one interviewed the other troops.

not everything is either/or.

and please put away the "book deal" straw man.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2005


It's always so depressing when you have your nagging suspicions corroborated...
posted by mkultra at 11:36 AM on March 9, 2005


Saddam who now?
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2005


I'd rather see a non-Newsfiltery post that would aggregate additional angles of this story.

I don't think anyone who uses the term "Newsfilter" could possibly consider such an article to be anything BUT "Newsfilter-y".
posted by clevershark at 11:42 AM on March 9, 2005


and please put away the "book deal" straw man.

It worked for putting ultraliberal Richard Clarke in his place, so let's see if it gets any pull here.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:43 AM on March 9, 2005


It's always so depressing when you have your nagging suspicions corroborated...

Not as depressing as you considering this article corroboration. Try and put away your political goggles and take the article for what it's worth.
posted by justgary at 11:48 AM on March 9, 2005


Dios,

yes this deserves some scurtiny, but you ever heard of a whistleblower? You know, the one person who stands up and admits the truth?

and it's not like there's not an established precedent for our government lieing to us at each stage of this conflict. Why would you be surprised at this little manipulation? Personally I think it's a pretty smart move to make him a coward instead of a martyr
posted by slapshot57 at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2005


Don't you think Saddam would be blabbering about this all during his trial and to his lawyers and that this information would get out from him as a secondary source? Granted his veracity would too be doubted but if I were him, and the Army used me like that, I'd be yelling about it.

But we all believe what we like in this world.
posted by xmutex at 11:57 AM on March 9, 2005


Perhaps the spider hole version was simply to inflict maximum humiliation ...

Apparently they couldn't find a dress and wig to put on him.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:59 AM on March 9, 2005


Osama Bin Laden was captured two years ago but the US can't decide on the final draft of the takedown scenario. Head of Production George Bush Jr's original cocktail napkin memo stipulated "dead or alive" and there is bitter disagreement between the 'dying on camera' and the 'alive in a really humiliating position' factions. So the potential primetime blockbuster remains in turnaround.
posted by liam at 12:00 PM on March 9, 2005


xmutex: How much of Saddam's statement have you heard? I remember hearing him quoted as saying that everything, including the trial, was being fabricated by the U.S. military. I would appreciate anybody who can provide more information about what, exactly, Saddam claims happened.

slapshot57: I agree completely, this guy could totally be a whistleblower: But remember, this works both ways.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:01 PM on March 9, 2005


justgary- Here's the definition of corroborate.

Which alternate version of English would you prefer I use?
posted by mkultra at 12:06 PM on March 9, 2005


he tells his story that he's of Lebanese descent
Could this be a factor for his supposed whistle blowing? He says he was a Marine, what unit then? What actual facts support his identity?
posted by thomcatspike at 12:09 PM on March 9, 2005


"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well,"
Since many news medias broadcasted from within teh well and showed it. Anybody care to explain how it did not look like one?
posted by thomcatspike at 12:18 PM on March 9, 2005


But we all believe what we like in this world.

Actually, some of us try to believe in what the facts best suggest, even if it's something we don't like.

While, sadly, others try to make everyone think that belief can only ever be predicated on desire, because that way they can say that it's all relative and ignore the avalanche of evidence that points to the contrary.
posted by the_savage_mind at 12:20 PM on March 9, 2005


Divine Wino: that was a work of art.
posted by fungible at 12:22 PM on March 9, 2005


Does being caputured in a "spider hole" infer any political leverage over being taken in a gunfight? Perhaps to any Iraqis who still want to idolize Sadam. That's one point for us in the hearts and minds war I suppose, but begs the question of whether the US military has the time and resources to stage carefully crafted dramatic productions out of military actions, and if that were the case then wouldn't it have been awfully easy to "find" some WMD's?

This article raises many more questions than it pretends to answer.
posted by gallois at 12:24 PM on March 9, 2005


I'm starting a band called "Modest House".
posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:36 PM on March 9, 2005


Saddam who now?

The guy with all the weapons of mass destruction. C'mon, keep up!
posted by jperkins at 12:42 PM on March 9, 2005


Saddam certainly looked like he'd been spending time in a spider hole. And the official story actually goes that he was living in a small shack that had a spider hole next to it. If someone comes along, he'd hop in the spider hole.

I tend to believe the official line here. When Uday and Qusay got theirs, there wasn't any need to degrade them. They went down shooting back, just like this guy claims Saddam did. If there's any honor in that, I don't see the sons getting much respect.

Also, I seem to remember hearing about an unauthorized photo (from a soldier's personal camera) taken right after they nabbed Saddam. The photo featured a soldier with his boot on Saddam's head, lying on the ground. Of course, that ground could have been in Disneyland for all I know, but it seemed to fit the official storyline (note: I never actually saw the photo, so it could be just a rumor too).

As another poster said, what unit is this guy from? Where's he based out of? What rank is he? Such details are usually included in media reports involving particular soldiers.
posted by b_thinky at 12:42 PM on March 9, 2005


Did this guy get a picture of himself smoking a ciggie and pointing finger pistols at Saddam's li'l dictator? No? Then how can we trust anything he has to say?
posted by spilon at 12:57 PM on March 9, 2005


This story reeks. There were too many witnesses to pull off faking the capture and too little benefit. However, the military's pattern of reckless disregard for the truth now lends a smidgeon of credence to the conspiracy theorists.
posted by caddis at 12:59 PM on March 9, 2005


So can any of the other "20" men in his team corroborate this? Hey, that's a good point. What was his unit? his company? Battallion? So the other Ranger Unit was "in" on this conspiracy? Somebody should of asked one of them.

Let's see some proof. Some details. Seems to me some of you have a low threshold for facts before you rush to judgement... worthy of the The Drudge Report.

Next you guys will be telling me Saddam moved his WMD to the Bekka Valley.
posted by tkchrist at 1:11 PM on March 9, 2005


Seems like it shouldn't be *that* hard to find out whether or not there really was a Marine named Nadim Abou Rabeh who was stationed in Iraq at the time, and who served in a platoon or company with a number of ethnic Arabs and at least one ethnic Sudanese who was killed around the right time.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:19 PM on March 9, 2005


Um, wasn't there a metafilter member on the "capture Saddam" mission? Or a blogger or something?
posted by MiG at 1:44 PM on March 9, 2005


I agree, tkchrist. While I don't want to discout the idea that this guy may be busting out with the truth, one man does not a conspiracy make.

Actually, when I think about it, one man does make a lot of conspiracies....
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:51 PM on March 9, 2005


Does being caputured in a "spider hole" infer any political leverage over being taken in a gunfight? Perhaps to any Iraqis who still want to idolize Sadam. - gallois

I think this is more relevant than the American political reaction. To Americans, does it really matter how the guy is captured? Not much. But to his Iraqi supporters, seeing him go down in a blazing gunfight glory might bolster their resolve to fight the invaders, while seeing their leader cowering safely away from the fighting might weaken his support.

So if this story is true*, then I imagine the staged capture was more for the people on the ground that it was for Americans back home. American soldiers can feel proud they've got him running scared, and Iraqis can be ashamed and angry at their fallen leader.

*A big IF, at this point.
posted by raedyn at 2:08 PM on March 9, 2005


Dr John, I hate you now.
HATE HATE HATE

heehee.

Raedyn, stop by Free Republic and look up articles about Saddam. You'll find the following idea many, many times: "How ironic that the coward was found hiding in a hole! 'Bush sends his regards' indeed!" It's just like the 'Mission Accomplished' sign, a little morale-booster to make everything more like one of those good old non-Vietnam war movies.

I agree that we shouldn't assume this man tells the truth, but I agree that his version makes sense.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 2:43 PM on March 9, 2005


Not as depressing as you considering this article corroboration. Try and put away your political goggles and take the article for what it's worth.

If the credentials of the Marine in question can be verified, I don't see how this wouldn't count as corroboration. Someone linked the definition of the word upthread -- you might want to take a look at it if you haven't already.
posted by Hildago at 2:56 PM on March 9, 2005


dougunderscorenelso, his version may make sense but I think the original also makes sense, once you strip away some of the more obvious propaganda.

If you're the leader of a country whose bluff has been called and your strongholds are now being shock-and-awed into dust, what do you do? You go to your undisclosed location, like Cheney. You go to your uncle's country house or whatever, but as the chances of raids get more and more likely, you're forced to stay in a crappy bunker no one ever thought would get any use. Of course some locals saw the motorcade when you arrived, and a couple know about the reward and sit on the site until its chill enough to go tell an American GI about the joint. They give him some money, take credit for themselves, and dig you up, bearded and hungry.

Heh, I suppose that was unnecessary but it was kinda fun writing that.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2005


You debating folks know what? That story is hosted on a Clearchannel website - the call-letters and URL - WOKR13.tv - don't reflect this, but a pal of mine wrote me back about it, after I forwarded him the article from the 'e-mail this' link on the page.

AFAIC, debate on the veracity of the soldier's claims - Palestinian or not - are moot, as the station has no incentive whatsoever to publish this anti-propaganda piece.

As it was said before: Truth is the first casualty.

Given the Mefi hits, I somehow doubt that the article's going to be up at this time tomorrow.
posted by vhsiv at 4:22 PM on March 9, 2005


Divine_Wino has my eternal love (for the day) for posting a fantastic response to what is, essentially, a single source newsfilter post.
posted by jperkins at 4:36 PM on March 9, 2005


justgary- Here's the definition of corroborate.

Which alternate version of English would you prefer I use?
posted by mkultra


My point exactly. I never doubted that you knew the meaning of the word.

"strengthen or support with evidence...make more certain".

If you believe one guy coming out with a story with nothing to back it up "supports, strenthens, or makes more certain" what you already believe, you must have a hard time finding truth in anything.

And it could come out that he is telling the truth, but you pointing to this story (posted by postroad...shocker) as a "my hunch was right" moment is comical, yet expected.
posted by justgary at 4:45 PM on March 9, 2005


Saddam who?

sorry, i have a 3 month window of political awareness
posted by ba3r at 5:26 PM on March 9, 2005


He's in Lebanon? Damn, he's not going to be let back into the States after this...
posted by timyang at 5:30 PM on March 9, 2005


Never, ever in the heroic history of Iraq liberation was Psyop used

And if it was, why do you hate psyops so much ?
posted by elpapacito at 5:58 PM on March 9, 2005


tkchrist: "Next you guys will be telling me Saddam moved his WMD to the Bekka Valley."

There is at least one MeFite who espouses almost exactly this view.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:11 PM on March 9, 2005


According to this site, TaskForce 121 was involved in the capture of Saddam. TF 121 is, as far as I can tell, is a special forces Army/CIA unit and not a Marine one.
posted by PenDevil at 12:19 AM on March 10, 2005


If you believe one guy coming out with a story with nothing to back it up "supports, strenthens, or makes more certain" what you already believe, you must have a hard time finding truth in anything.

And it could come out that he is telling the truth, but you pointing to this story (posted by postroad...shocker) as a "my hunch was right" moment is comical, yet expected.


Dude, I never said this was the end-all-be-all on the subject, but if someone else comes along, with ostensibly more credibility than you, and says something that confirms something you're thinking, that's exactly what corroboration is. Anything beyond that is inference on your part, not mine. Jesus fucking christ on a stick.
posted by mkultra at 9:12 AM on March 10, 2005


Has anyone else from his 20 man team corroborated his story?
posted by a3matrix at 10:30 AM on March 10, 2005


I have no idea if this is true or not, but seeing Saddam in a hole, not fighting back, was a huge moment across the Arab world.

Most Arabs across the Arab World hated Saddam, but they did admire the fact that he "stood up" to America and wasn't a weak puppet like most other Arab rulers.

Seeing him living in a hole, meek and scared had a major effect. If it had been reported that he went down fighting, shooting a gun from the house he was living in, it would have been a much different reaction. Sympathy and support for the man would have been MUCH higher.

So, this story sounds somewhat suspect, but don't discount the propaganda value of the spider hole. You can't even begin to compare Uday and Qusay, who were univerally derided and mocked, to their father.
posted by chaz at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2005


« Older Creationism & relativism   |   Naked Portafilters (SFW) Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post