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12/16/03 - THE CAPTURE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN - 2003-12-17

Saddam Hussein is in custody and the Iraqi people have been liberated in spirit, as well as in fact. Iraqis freed from the specter of the abusive dictator are celebrating. And rightfully so. As Yehya Hasson, a Baghdad shopkeeper said, “Now we can start a new beginning.”

Saddam Hussein’s capture on December 13th was the result of close coordination of both intelligence gathering and military action. It reflects the determination of U.S., Iraqi, and coalition forces in Iraq. Thanks to them, Iraqis face a future, not of terror, but of freedom.

The former Iraqi dictator has reached the end of the road. As for the Baathist holdouts largely responsible for the continuing violence, they too will pay the price. There will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held.

“For the vast majority of Iraqi citizens who wish to live as free men and women,” says President George W. Bush, “this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever”:

“All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side.... In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq.”

But the work to rebuild Iraq and restore sovereignty to the Iraqi people continues. “And so do the risks,” says President Bush:

“The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East.”

But there is one less tyrant. As Adnan Pachachi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, put it, “We will deal with Saddam Hussein. He was an unjust ruler responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.”

Saddam Hussein is being brought to justice. Something he denied to the Iraqi people.