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12/21/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Andy Rooney, during his Dec. 14 commentary at the end of CBS's 60 Minutes, discussed the capture of Saddam Hussein. The following is an excerpt:

I felt sorry for newspaper editors this morning. The papers were on the street before they knew Saddam Hussein had been captured. Not a word about it in the paper.

Like most Americans, I first heard the news when I turned on the radio this morning. I went to my television set and sure enough there was Dan Rather, a fireman in the television news business yelling "EXTRA, EXTRA, EXTRA!"

I had a hundred thoughts about Saddam Hussein while I was eating breakfast. What was his mother like? I hope we don't kill him, I hope we don't let him kill himself. He's a great source of information and such an egotistical bastard, that he'll enjoy telling us everything.

If you made a list of the ten most evil men of all time—there has never been a woman so evil—Saddam Hussein would be on the list.

My history isn't good enough to name all the old ones like Genghis Khan, Nero, Caligula, Attila the Hun, but we all know the modern bad guys: Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Qaddafi, Khomeini, Marcos.

We congratulate ourselves all the time on our democracy here in America and for not having had a dictator. I don't know whether we've been lucky or smart. It could happen.

The people who follow an evil leader don't have to be evil themselves. They can be dumb, uninformed, disinterested in the world or just too absorbed with their personal problems to care about their government.

It's been amazing really that this great democracy of ours has lasted so long. A dictator doesn't usually just come in and take over. He moves in little by little. That's why every country, even so free and democratic a one as ours with a nice guy as President, has to watch out. It's why some Americans, me for example, are nervous about something like the recently enacted Patriot Act—we're even nervous about saying we're nervous for fear of sounding un-American.

Anyway, we've all been looking for the perfect Christmas present and now we've got it: The capture of Saddam Hussein. It's the best gift we could possibly get.

 

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