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Duke Expert: Saddam's Death Would Make Coalition's Job Easier

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DURHAM, N.C. — What impact would Saddam Hussein's death have on the war in Iraq? One local expert says it could shorten the war and save lives.

If the bunker-busting bombs hit their target Monday and took out Saddam Hussein, Duke professor Chris Gelpi said the job of coalition forces might get easier.

"If he's dead, that's going to limit the amount of coordination between Iraqi military forces and make it easier to move into the city and hold it," Gelpi said.

Gelpi said Hussein's fate is also important politically to the Bush administration. He believes the success of the war will be measured by whether the coalition captures Hussein.

However, Hussein's death would also solve a sticky diplomatic question: What would you do with Saddam if you captured him?

"The possibility of putting Saddam on trial in a U.S. military tribunal would create more friction with European allies who'd like us to use an international criminal court that we are not likely to use," he said.

Hussein's demise might also encourage Iraqi troops to give up the fight and, in turn, shorten the war and saving lives.

"It could also greatly limit civilian casualties in Iraq, so the citizens of Baghdad should probably hope he's dead," he said.


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