Saddam Spider-Hole Story a Fake?

How much of what we think we know is real? Especially in the realm of big media stories, how many are actually, if we knew the truth, more myth than reality?

I think the proportion is higher than many people believe. The latest odd piece of data to tickle that part of my suspicious nature: A former US Marine sergeant who says he was involved in Saddam Hussein’s capture, and that it actually took place the day before we were told it was, and that there was no “spider hole”; that that was just military propaganda: Ex-Marine says public version of Saddam capture fiction.

“Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam’s capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well,” Abou Rabeh said.

35 Responses to “Saddam Spider-Hole Story a Fake?”

  1. Rise Against Says:

    Are you trying to tell me that this administration lied about this?! No way, these guys don’t lie. Stop questioning everything and just beleive what they tell you, you know like those two sheep TeacherVet and Patriot. Where have these 2 been anyways? Maybe they seen the light?

  2. TeacherVet Says:

    One of the sheep is here, just sometimes laughing too hard to type. Several of the guys who were involved in the capture have spoken out, so we should focus on a single individual who contradicts all of them? A fellow with a suspicious ax to grind – we are to assign credibility? Instead of looking at all evidence, we should be selective, only looking at the garbage that fits our chosen political agenda?

  3. TeacherVet Says:

    Rise against, let’s test your ability to “question” things, looking at just a couple of basic observations that should be questioned about the “testimony” of this questionable character:

    (1) The hole in which this (almost surely fictional) film production crew supposedly staged the capture had 90 degree corners – it was not a circular aperture. Do you question what kind of drill bit was used to make a squared or rectangular hole?

    (2) The hole was only deep enough to allow a man to stand up – do you question the suggestion that water is that close to the ground surface in the desert environment?

    (3) If the hole was actually circular, and much deeper below a dirt floor that had been constructed to cover it – for what purpose? Do you question the logic?

    (4) If there was a fire-fight with Saddam, do you question whether more troops would have been called in to kill the murderous bastard?

    You have the audacity to make reference to sheep, but you are willing to unquestionably believe anyone who follows the old “Blame America First” venue?

  4. hossman Says:

    Doesn’t seem to be a lot of coverage of this in the media, but I was interested to see this take on things…

    …it has some interesting comments from inside Iraq, as well as some comparisons to the assisination of Salvador Allende, and the fall of Noriega.

  5. TeacherVet Says:

    I linked to the story, and found it filled with agenda-driven bias and conclusions that justify questions, even serious doubt.

    Just to mention a couple briefly at this point: He asserts that Saddam personally directly the attack on the facility housing Wolfowitz, based on admitted anecdotal rumors of Saddam performing in a leadership role. Also, if the presence of Spam is enough to cast doubt in his mind, then we should question the existence of many American-made products that are part of daily Iraqi lives, from automobiles to food products. I don’t know what picture he is talking about, but I have pictures of my nephew playing ball with kids in Iraq – not doctored, and with trees in the background that are indigenous to Iraq.

    The Arab gentleman (was he certifiably former military?) at least provided a name for his fellow-Arab source, but the UKNet writer only gives a title to his source – retired officer – creating doubt as to his credibility. I, for one, don’t assign credibility to any report that is obviously saturated with agenda-driven bias.

    I stand by my above four questions, for starters, looking for answers to them before I can believe anything else these guys have to say. Saddam Hussein is not my hero.

  6. TeacherVet Says:

    Sorry, but I didn’t proofread before posting. The last sentence in paragraph three should have said, “I, for one, don’t assign credibility to any report, relying on anonymous sources, that is obviously…..bias.

  7. Rise Against Says:

    Well considering that from day one that I questioned the whole finding Saddam in a spider hole, I don’t think I’m audacious. I mean really, this guy has thousdands (millions) of supporters and millions of dollars. Do you honestly beleive he was hiding in a hole in the ground? Or was this an attempt by the US to make Saddam appear inferior, which by the way I would agree is a great strategy. I just don’t agree with lying to people.

  8. TeacherVet Says:

    You may be right, based on two (admittedly sarcastic) considerations: (1) We all know that his supporters, Abou Raheb obviously included, have displayed moral values that discourage fabrication, and (2) our military is dumb enough to furnish him with a loaded weapon and extra ammunition when putting him in the hole – just to make it appear real, I suppose.

    Even if we choose to believe Raheb’s story, giving credibility to a Lebanese who claims to have been in the U.S. Army, Saddam surrendered after being told “there is no point in resisting.” His version doesn’t make the deposed mass murderer seem “inferior?” Yes, I believe he was a coward who hid in a hole, unable to trust anyone. You believe he was a hero who fought valiantly until someone just asked him to come out peacefully. Simple – we disagree.

    As a member of the constant Blame America First crowd, your initial doubt is merely consistent with that philosophy. With your propensity for questioning everything, I’m still looking for answers to the four questions in the prior post. I want one of those square drill bits.

  9. jbc Says:

    Actually, Rabeh claimed to have been in the Marines, not the Army. But it does look like his story was probably bogus, and the spider-hole-capture story more or less real. At least, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence supporting Rabeh’s account other than his having given it, and a Saudi newspaper having run it, and the UPI having run a wire-service story quoting it without putting much effort into confirming it.

    It’s clearly possible for me to be wrong by being too suspicious, just as it’s possible for me to be wrong by being too trusting. The problem is, I have so little hard evidence to guide me most of the time.

    Thank you, TeacherVet, for your fact-checking. While I disagree with many of your opinions, I appreciate your willingness to bring your perspective to the discussion here, and I certainly benefited from it in this case.

  10. Rise Against Says:


    1) I’m not familiar with the types of drill bits they use in Iraq, it is possible that they have square ones, not everything is like it is in America.

    2) Water was probably brought in

    3) Is irrelevant

    4) No, because they wanted him alive.

  11. rwhite Says:

    Rise Against….are you a fucking idiot? “It is possible they have square ones??” Dude, you have to be a retard. I don’t care if the drill bit is triangle on one side and hexagonal on the other, the HOLE it makes will ALWAYS be circular!! Drill bits SPIN as they dig moron!

  12. TeacherVet Says:

    John, I appreciate you even more than before for being able to concede to the obvious. We have fundamental disagreements, but you are the most logical blogger I have found on the web. You are stubbornly persistent (which I respect greatly), but not simply stubborn. I have recommended your site to many of my fellow “righties” as the only intelligent source of opposing thought. I really, truly appreciate the forum as an outlet for uncensored expression of ideas and opinions.

    Rise Against, surely you can see the absurdity of your responses.

    1) Even a square drill bit, non-existent anywhere in the world, would made a circular hole when attached to a rotary device.

    2) Water was brought in….for what purpose? To fill a well? Sorry, but the purpose of a well is to bring water up from beneath the earth’s surface.

    3) Is totally revelant, but only for questioning minds.

    4) Sorry, but they needed him dead. I suppose they also wanted his two innocent little boys alive?

    You exposed yourself as one who seeks to blame, not question.

  13. TeacherVet Says:

    John, sorry to keep “hoggin’ the site,” but I meant to mention that your original skepticism was quite obvious to this reader. I’m still curious, though, whether Abou Rabeh was actually a U.S. Marine. I don’t know how to verify that, but it’s probably not worth the effort, anyway.

  14. Rise Against Says:

    They probably didn’t even use a drill bit, it was probably a chisel and a hammer, which would make it square. Didn’t even look like there was electricity in that area.

    What do you mean they needed him dead? If that were the case, then why didn’t they blow his brains out if he had a gun in that hole?

    No TeacherVet, they wanted him alive so that they could parade him around in a courtroom, which is fine, thats where he belongs for the crimes he comitted.
    You often refer to Saddam as a hero for the left. That is flat out absurd. All we are saying is, fine, if you want to try people for war crimes and crimes against humanity, then why stop at Saddam? What about Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney/Powell? China? Egypt? Saudi Arabia?

    Its very hypocritical for you to label Saddam a butcher and murderer when your leaders are doing the same thing under the guise of “speading freedom” (i think thats the latest reason) or whatever other excuse suits their agenda at the time, so many excuses I’ve actually lost count. What about depelted uranium shells lying all over southern Iraq? Shouldn’t someone be held responsible for that?

    For the record it does look like this whole spider hole story may have be fabricated for publicity. But the fact is there are questions on both sides of this story. But in the grand scheme of things, this story is pretty minor. There’s still a huge mess over there with no end in sight. Hopefully one day it will all turn up on the internet on video so we can all see for ourselves exactly what happend when they caught him.

    Something we can agree on!!
    JBC is a good man and a much more cival debater than I. This is a great site and I too often recommend this site for my blogging friends who are looking for some juicy stuff, which always seems to have plenty of.

  15. TeacherVet Says:

    Rise Against: Thanks for the civil response, and I agree that there are many questions still to be answered. I will, however, question the logic of two points you made.

    1) Any review of administration positions/justifications prior to the onset of our Iraq venture shows a consistent message of “spreading freedom” to that part of the world. That message has never wavered. It certainly might fail, but only history will bear that out.

    2) Using your reasoning, Lincoln, FDR, Clinton, both Bushes, and all other wartime presidents (and their Cabinet members) should have been tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    I have been involved in war, and I absolutely hate it. It was the scariest time of my life, and I will go to my death never having detailed the events I witnessed and participated in to my wife or daughter. The only positive result for me, personally, was an enhanced appreciation for life. We are fighting people who have demonstrated a lack of appreciation for human life, purely and simply, and it is an unfortunate, but necessary action.

    President Bush has surely made mistakes and miscalculations, as has every other president, general, private, etc. who has ever had a role in a wartime situation. Those mistakes must be recognized, but for the purpose of avoiding repetition. Please don’t reply with a Vietnam comparison – there is none, as all of the circumstances are totally different, both prior to the war and presently.

    My most basic fear in this entire conflict….That our guys will come home with their heads down, as we did 30+ years ago, disgraced by having lost only a single battle – the war on the home front.

  16. Rise Against Says:

    TeacherVet, I really don’t hope that happens to the troops. I may be a left- leaning activist but I truly admire anyone who would suit up and fight for they’re country and truly hope that the guys don’t come to that. I can only imagine what that felt like – coming home from a horrific war only to be riddiculed by your fellow country men. Some people take out their anger on the wrong people and certainly that was the case then.

    I absolutley agree with you other ‘Licoln, FDR, both Bushes’ point. Included should be every world leader that fails to protect human life or has complete disregard to it.

    But I still disagree with the admin’s rationale for invasion. I could of swore that 2 years ago (wow, almost to the day) I was hearing ‘WMD’ and ‘threat to America’ and ‘ties to Bin Laden’ on a daily basis for invasion justification.

    How long were you in ‘nam TeacherVet?

  17. Patriot Says:

    THAT story would certainly prove what Democrats have been saying about the administration if it turned out to be the honest-to-God truth that Saddam’s capture was an event that was completely faked by the Bush administration.

    But for that to happen, several improbable things would have had to occur in sequence, all having gone perfectly for the Bushies:
    1. The military would have had to have captured Saddam much earlier in the “modest house” described. (hard to imagine Saddam owning a “modest house”)
    2. The military must have done this without anybody talking. They would have had to have kept it completely on a need-to-know basis within their own ranks and made sure that anybody who knew too much and was thinking about telling the press too early dissapeared.
    3. People would have had to have been flown about, still on the hush-hush to set the event up, probably without knowing what they were being asked to do beforehand.
    4. Saddam would have had to have been put into the hole, and somehow prevented from yelling “This is fake! this is fake!” within earshot of anyone who wasn’t in on the plot.
    5. The plotters would all have to have dissappeared into the background, and nobody in the media gotten tipped off or even suspicious until months after the event.

    now if this “former marine” knew all this, WHY DIDN’T HE SAY SO EARLIER!?

  18. Patriot Says:

    6. Bush himself, and/or some important cabinet member would have had to have been informed before Step 3 and been heavily involved by Step 4. This I find extremely unlikely.
    7. The rest of the military would have had no knowledge of this and thus the pentagon strategy planning efforts would have been sabotauged.

  19. Rise Against Says:

    RWHITE… Are you 4 years old? I have heard more intelligent talk come from a monkey. Unless you have some constructive points to make, in a civil manner, best to keep your mouth closed. I acknowledge therror in that point, which is why i said it may have been a chisel/hammer job. Either way, I think you could disagree in a little less childish manner. I disagree with TeacherVet and Patriot on a daily basis, but i would never say anything like that about them. Are you full of hate or something?

    I may not be too good with a drill, obviously, but you should see what I can do with computers, or rather do to your computer.


  20. TeacherVet Says:

    Served ’68 to ’72, did two tours – but I’m not looking for either sympathy or praise, and I won’t discuss it in greater detail. It was the worst 4 years of my life, and it was the best 4 years of my life. It matured me, seemingly overnight, and gave me purpose – doesn’t affect any two people the same way, but I needed it.

    The worst experience I had was 1972, having a university professor at a Liberal Arts university address me as a “baby killer” when asking me a question in class. I have never, ever been responsible for the death of a baby, in any circumstances.

    In combat, fear is primary in the mix of emotions, but in the home front combat, only anger. Please forgive if I sometimes go overboard with defensiveness. The two most frequently asked questions of today’s troops are the same ones that were asked 30 years ago – What do the folks at home really think, and why does the news lie about what we’re really doing? – obviously paraphrased a hundred times over. It hurts. I don’t parrot anyone, but I use my God-given defensiveness in the most articulate manner I can.

    I felt nothing but revulsion for both Johnson and Nixon, but would have taken a bullet for either of them. They were my CICs. Sorry, and I’ll shut up now – I’m not looking for a fight here.

  21. Rise Against Says:

    Great expalnation, TeacherVet. Thanks for enlightening me, i won’t ask you anymore questions about it, I completely understand your defensiveness and I too often get overheated in debate, something i’m working on.

    Interesting what you noted about Johnson and Nixon. I often wonder what the troops think of their leader, any leader, during a time of war. Is it expected of the troops to supprt wars no matter what, or is there room to disagree while not be labelled unpatriotic? It must get pretty tough for some troops caught in the middle of what they beileve and what their duty is.

    TeacherVet: I know that we disagree from time to time (hell, pretty much all the time!) but I want you to know that although i am anti-war, i am not anti-soldier. My poppy sits right beside my flag all year round on my desk and I am very grateful very the freedoms i enjoy because of the bravery of the soldiers that fought and died for me to have those freedoms. And i know that war is sometimes unavoidable and indeed sometimes its necessary. Obviously I don’t think this war was necessary which is why i’m here, but I do know that sometimes it is.

  22. TeacherVet Says:

    I remember being told in basic training that we must obey all orders unless those orders are in violation of our own conscience, believing that the orders are in violation of warfare regulations. Not the exact wording, which I forget, but an adequate transcription. I never had cause to refuse a direct order, but my three Article 15s testify to a degree of rebelliousness on my part (all received while state-side).

    Apologies in advance for the poor segue, but please bear with me as I attempt to draw some analogies between Abu Ghraib and My Lai:
    1) Both were illegal, morally and militarily.
    2) People died unjustly at the hands of our soldiers in both cases.
    3) Both were aberrations, not the norm.
    4) Both were discovered/uncovered (and rightly so), as a result of photographs having been taken.
    5) Lt. Calley & the commander at Abu Ghraib did not deserve to be in the military, let alone command men. Calley had flunked out of a junior college, had a poor academic record, and graduated from OCS without learning to properly read a map. Politically, I was not a Nixon supporter, but it was not Nixon’s fault that Calley was placed in a leadership role.
    6) Both incidents were used by activists in like manner, efforting to portray American troops and their leaders as war criminals.
    7) Both were portrayed as “the norm.”
    8) Both were attributed to administration policies.
    9) I don’t know any Vietnam veteran who condoned or excused what Calley and his platoon did; the same can be said of the criminals at Abu Ghraib. Their actions sullied the reputation of every one of us.

    I’m just thinking off the top of my head, so I’m sure there are many other correlations. I’m recovering from surgery, so my thinking skills are hindered by Lortab.

    The biggest difference, I hope, is the resulting punishment. I hope the punishment with the Abu Ghraib perps is swift, severe, and fitting of the crime. Lt. William Calley was sentenced to hard labor for life. He actually served only three years, under house arrest, and now works in a jewelry shop in Georgia. He should have been tried for murder, convicted, and executed.

    No, this is not Vietnam, but analogies are constantly being made with inappropriate inconsistency. The anti-war activists’ efforts have never changed. The slogans have never changed. I can only hope the partnerships have changed.

    For the sake of purely illusionary brevity, I’ll post this partial reply before concluding in my next post.

  23. TeacherVet Says:

    I question the true purpose of anti-war activists in general, and admittedly I could be wrong. If the facts justified their actions/behavior, there would be no need to fabricate. The have every right to speak out, but I have every right to reject their arguments – especially when those arguments are frequently based on speculation, prognostication, and alliances with our enemies.

    Anti-war activists of the 60s, through the People’s Committee for Peace and Justice and the National Peace Action Committee, worked hand-in-hand with the North Vietnamese. The U.S. “imperialists and their puppets” were labeled as “cruel, cowardly, vicious, immoral, and corrupt,” while the North Vietnamese were “kindly, strong, heroic, moral, and honest.”

    I used quotation marks, because those words evolved into activists’ slogans and themes. America was called a “police state” at home, and in foreign policy we were “policemen of the world.” Even before My Lai, we were committing “atrocities” in Vietnam and acting like “fascists” both at home and abroad. We were a “violent” society, with an administration that “lied” and “deceived,” while the New Left stood only for truth and justice.

    Ho Chi Minh was painted as a “man of the people,” “humane, peace-loving”, and a pretty decent fellow in all rights. All he wanted was to “liberate” the South, freeing it from the “neoimperialists.” He had no interest in Cambodia or Laos, so why was the “imperialist” U.S. beating up on a “little old man in sandals.” Those activist themes and slogans proved untrue; see the killing fields.

    The Vietnam War was labeled an “immoral” war. It was an extension of the Wilsonian philosophy, then same idea that led us to war in 1917 and again in the 1940s to “make the world safe for democracy,” and the anticommunism of the 1950s. It can be called naive, but not immoral.

    By simply changing the proper names, all of the above could have been written about activists’ activities in today’s situation. Same slogans, same charges, and same motivations. Almost all of those were proven false within one year after we abruptly abandoned the South Vietnamese and our own troops, the losers. The difference, today? We don’t yet have history to verify or deny positive results of the Iraq War – only subjectivity and prognostication.

    Today’s war – illegal? I see the term freely (recklessly?) used often. We are in a War on Terror. Saddam was a terrorist, as defined by the 9/11 Commission, providing safe harbor and funding terrorists. The indictment was based on his history, with all the world (including those who would not join the intervention) in agreement on the primary issues. I believe in the American system that sent us into war to depose Saddam, and the action was legal by the American laws I believe in. Maybe I’m just naive. I’m also tired and sleepy.

    Sorry for the length – I’m not trying to dominate, just a boring, long-winded old school teacher. Gotta get some rest, going back into the real home front trenches with teenagers tomorrow morning. They can’t find enough “subs” who want to fight that war, either.

  24. TeacherVet Says:

    Sorry, Rise Against. All that crap, and I probably failed to answer your question. I can only answer from the microcosmic viewpoint of an enlisted grunt. Let me answer with another, much briefer, analogy.

    As a teacher, I strenuously object to the No Child Left Behind garbage. It is a dismal failure – beautiful , politically catchy phrase, but not realistic, even damaging to the educational process. I teach more or less within the system, but I stay in trouble with administrators (who “like me”, and my teaching style, but not my rebelliousness) because I question and complain.

    I was given my three Article 15s for much the same reasons, and was also within my rights at that time. It cost me because those rights were civil, not military, if that makes sense. I did my job, but asked too many questions and gave too many opinions to the wrong (or right?) people.

    I have detailed the flaws, inconsistencies, and damage being incurred in regular communication with “this administration” (another slogan). I don’t use exaggeration in those communications – I don’t have to – the facts bear me out. It will probably change nothing, but, consistent with your own efforts, my little voice will keep trying.

  25. Patriot Says:

    I seem to be losing track of whats going on on this thread….. what? who? where? huh? maybe ill just shutup now

  26. Rise Against Says:

    TeacherVet!!?? Very interesting.

    But one thing though, you told me not to compare this conflict with Vietnam because there are no similarities. Yet you did just that. i don’t want to take away from what you said, because those are very real, important points. Just thought i would point that out.

  27. TeacherVet Says:

    You’re right – in my narcotic-induced (Lortab) state of mind I had just heard a repeat of the old quagmire comparisons on TV, and flew into a mental rage, I guess. “My bad,” as I hear daily.

  28. Patriot Says:

    I find this story extremely improbable at the very best.

  29. Rise Against Says:


  30. Aleks Says:


  31. TeacherVet Says:

    Try English. It is possible for people to lie, but Saddam is not a lie – he is a person. WHY ARE YOU YELLING? The CAPS tend to emphasize your inability to communicate.

  32. Rise Against Says:

    Aleks – I probably despise Bush more than you do, but try not defend Saddam at the expense of trying to make a point. I don’t think I’ve met one person who doesn’t think the world is better off w/ out Saddam.

    And lets face it, Saddam wasn’t that smart. After all he got caught one way or another, didnt he?

  33. Rise Against Says:

    Scott McClellan just doesn’t like some questions

    From The Press Briefing February 1, 2005

    Q Scott, last night, in an amicus brief filed before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justice Department came down in favor of displaying the Ten Commandments in courthouses and statehouses around the country. The question is, does the President believe in commandment number six, “Thou shalt not kill,” as it applies to the U.S. invasion in Iraq?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead. Next question. Ken, go ahead.

  34. Rise Against Says:

    Gotta love a free press, eh.

  35. MrM Says:

    It is indeed possible to drill a square hole. (Close enough to square, anyway.)

    See, for example,

    Also see

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