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Old 12-15-2003, 06:56 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Saddam to troops: 'I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate'

Saddam to troops: 'I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate'

By Alexandar Vasovic, The Associated Press
European edition, Monday, December 15, 2003

ADWAR, Iraq ? "My name is Saddam Hussein," the fallen Iraqi leader told U.S. troops in English as they pulled him out of a dank hole that had become his home. "I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."

U.S. soldiers replied: "Regards from President Bush."

The exchange, recounted by Maj. Bryan Reed, operations officer for the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division one day after Saddam's capture was announced, suggested the Iraqi leader would be willing to tell U.S. intelligence everything he knows. Of the most immediate importance would be any information on the insurgency responsible for the deaths of nearly 200 American soldiers.

On Monday, a series of car bombings at police stations around the Iraqi capital left eight policemen dead and at least 14 wounded, police officials said. The deadliest attack was a suicide mission at a station house in northern Baghdad where the eight officers were killed. Two other car bombings at a west-side station caused four injuries.

President Bush had warned attacks would continue as experts pored over documents found with Saddam and his interrogation got underway.

Saddam's exact whereabouts Monday were unclear. U.S. officials said only he had been moved to a secure location. The Dubai-based Arab TV station Al-Arabiya said he was taken to Qatar, though that could not be confirmed.

Eventually, Saddam could be tried for war crimes by a new Iraqi tribunal. More immediately, the Americans made clear he faces intensive interrogation ? foremost, to find out what he knows about the ongoing rebellion against the U.S.-led occupation and later, about any weapons of mass destruction his regime may have had.

The former dictator ? one of the world's most-wanted fugitives was captured by Special Forces along with the 4th Infantry Division conducting a massive raid on a farmhouse near Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, according to Capt. Desmond Bailey.

The tip off came from an individual who was arrested in Baghdad Friday and brought to Tikrit Saturday morning for an interrogation which made clear Saddam was in the area, according to Col. James Hickey, who led the raid. Soldiers were seconds away from throwing a hand grenade into the hole when Saddam surrendered, Hickey said.

Saddam was hiding in a Styrofoam-covered underground hide-out near one of his former palaces in his hometown of Tikrit late Saturday. He was disheveled and wearing a thick beard, and though he was armed with a pistol, the man who waged and lost two wars against the United States and its allies did not resist or fire a shot.

In images broadcast on television to prove his capture, Saddam resembled a desperate fugitive, not the all-powerful president who had ordered his army to fight to the death.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer told a news conference. "The tyrant is a prisoner."

The lack of communications equipment in Saddam's cramped quarters indicated the ousted dictator was not commanding the resistance, Odierno said.

"He was just caught like a rat," said Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, whose 4th Infantry Division troops staged the raid. "When you're in the bottom of a hole you can't fight back."

However, during his arrest U.S. troops discovered "descriptive written material of significant value," a U.S. commander told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity. He declined to say whether the material related to the anti-coalition resistance.

Saddam will now "face the justice he denied to millions," said Bush, whose troops and intelligence agents had been searching in vain for Saddam since April. "In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over."

The United States had posted a $25 million bounty for Saddam, as it did for Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network still at large despite a manhunt since November 2001.

It was not known immediately if anyone has a claim to Saddam money, though U.S. forces found him after receiving information from an Iraqi ? a member of a family close to Saddam, Odierno said.

Within three hours of the tip, troops were at a farm in Adwar, 10 miles from Saddam's home town of Tikrit, where they found Saddam in a coffin-sized hole.

His capture leaves 13 figures at large from the list of 55 most-wanted regime officials; the highest ranking is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a close Saddam aide who U.S. officials say may be directly organizing resistance.

Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, saw Saddam afterward and said the deposed leader "has been cooperative and is talkative." He described Saddam as "a tired man, a man resigned to his fate."

Eager to prove to Iraqis that Saddam was in custody, the U.S. military showed video of the ousted leader, haggard and gray-bearded, as a military doctor examined him. In Baghdad, radio stations played jubilant music and some bus passengers shouted, "They got Saddam! They got Saddam!"

But some residents of Adwar recalled fondly how Saddam used to swim in the nearby Tigris River and bemoaned the capture of the leader who donated generously to area residents.

"This is bad news to all Iraqis," said Ammar Zidan, 21. "Even if they captured Saddam Hussein, we are all Saddam Hussein. We want freedom and independence from the Americans."

Speaking on CBS's "60 Minutes," Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Saddam would be accorded the rights of prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention, but added that any participation by Saddam in the insurgency against coalition troops might lead to different classification.

Saddam was captured almost five months after his sons, Qusai and Odai, were killed July 22 in a gunbattle with U.S. troops in the northern city of Mosul. Coalition officials hoped the sons' deaths would weaken the Iraqi resistance; instead, the guerrilla campaign escalated.

In the latest attack ? before Saddam's capture was announced ? a suspected suicide bomber detonated explosives in a car outside a police station Sunday morning west of Baghdad, killing at least 17 and wounding 33, the U.S. military said. Also Sunday, a U.S. soldier died while trying to disarm a roadside bomb south of the capital ? the 452nd soldier to die in Iraq.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, who all but missed the invasion of Iraq but have been at the front line of postwar hostilities, spent Sunday afternoon smoking cigars after scoring the allies' biggest triumph since the fall of Baghdad.

"It almost seems too easy," Sgt. Ebony Jones of Kansas City, Mo., said after his comrades captured Saddam. "This is the best thing that ever happened to us here."

In the division's headquarters in Tikrit, two dozen soldiers gathered in front of a television, cheering as their unit's accomplishment began to ripple across the airwaves, quickly dominating the news.

But no one on the base said anything about their mission winding down after such a big catch. Tikrit and the rest of the Sunni Muslim areas north of Baghdad ? the area under the 4th Infantry's control ? remain one of the toughest patches of Iraq, with or without Saddam, they said.

"His capture will show others that they cannot run and hide," said Sgt. Don Williams of Houston. "Attacks will not stop, but this will have significant impact."

After sunset Sunday, the streets of Tikrit plunged into darkness and an eery silence. Soldiers on patrol in the city, recalling the increased insurgency after Odai and Qusai were killed said they were being extra cautious.

"We must remain vigilant. We had an increase of attacks after we nailed Saddam's sons, it could happen again," said Sgt. Cesar Castro.

Updated 4 a.m. EST 12-15-03

U.S. military photos via The Associated Press
Captured former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is given a medical exam in this photo taken from a TV image and released by the U.S. military.

For a graphic detailing Saddam Hussein's capture. (Macromedia Flash format)

For a graphic showing the status of the Iraqi leaders in the "deck of cards." (Macromedia Flash format, 551 KB)



SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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Old 12-15-2003, 06:57 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 4,601

More on the capture of Saddam Hussein ...

Leaders' reaction:

Text of President Bush's remarks

Text of L. Paul Bremer's news conference

Stripes' coverage:

Troops in Iraq happy, but see more hard work ahead

In Germany, Saddam's capture sparks hopes for loved ones' return

CENTCOM officials celebrate cautiously

Knight-Ridder coverage:

U.S. soldiers were about to give up search when they found Saddam

No decisions yet made over how to bring Saddam to justice

Iraqis call for domestic Saddam trial but U.S. unclear on venue

Top priority is finding out what Saddam knows about attacks

At capture, Saddam didn't live up to fierce image

U.S. forces will continue tough fight with Iraqi insurgents

Two leading Muslim clerics in Michigan see God's hand in capture

Many in Iraq relieved, some frown at Saddam's capture

Arrest marks end of disastrous year for Saddam

Tony Blair rushed to announce Saddam's capture

Video of Saddam after capture fascinating, humiliating

Saddam's return to the familiar meant his downfall

4th Infantry, which captured Saddam, packs biggest punch

Saddam's capture may not end attacks on U.S. troops

Disenfranchised Sunnis may lash out at U.S. after Saddam's arrest

Saddam's 24-year regime driven by thirst for power

Saddam used fear, reputation for ruthlessness to rule Iraq

With No. 1 captured, U.S. forces pursue Iraq's other 'most wanted'

Saddam's capture settles family score for Bush

Democrats react to Saddam's capture

Experts doubt effect of Saddam capture on al-Qaida morale

Saddam an important symbol in the Arab world

Saddam's arrest expected, discouraging to many in Arab world

Analysis: Saddam capture will boost U.S. troops' morale, push Iraqis closer to independence

Analysis: Capture of Saddam underscores U.S. role in world order

Analysis: Bush's chances of re-election improve with Saddam's

Analysis: Saddam's capture a boost for Bush


SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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Old 12-16-2003, 05:29 PM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Guest Column: Saddam the Sewer Rat

By Derek C. Schneider

How are the mighty fallen ? II Samuel 1:25

?He was just caught like a rat? was how Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, described the capture of Saddam Hussein. Caught like a ?sewer rat? is closer to the truth.

That?s because in all likelihood the hole in which Saddam was hiding was not a specially built ?spider hole? as commentators and even many soldiers believed.

Based on my own recent work in Iraq, I know that Saddam Hussein?s last place of refuge was a septic tank.

During my tour in Iraq, I managed 75 reconstruction projects with the 4th Infantry Division in the ?Sunni Triangle? near to where Saddam was captured. These projects included sewage disposal and sewage treatment systems, along with the refurbishment and construction of many septic tank systems. The cramped underground chamber next to the hut where Saddam had been hiding matches a common septic tank design found everywhere in Iraq.

Here is a passage I wrote for the U.S. Army?s ?Iraqi Construction Assessment Guide?:

?The most common form of sewage system outside of the biggest cities would be a septic tank. Septic tanks are not like the ones found in the U.S. They come in two basic forms, block or metal tank. In the block type, a hole is dug into the earth next to the building. Then an Iraqi cinderblock, brick or concrete block structure is built. The bricks or blocks are covered with mortar to make a smooth surface. It is covered with a solid or beam concrete ceiling similar to other structures. Into this the main or sub-main drainage lines are run. A small metal hatch is usually put into the ceiling of the tank to allow the tank to be emptied when full.?

In rural Iraq where Saddam was captured, there is no sewage treatment available. Most Iraqis build their own version of a septic tank to dispose of their waste. These are built by first digging a hole in the ground about 1-2 meters deep. The hole is then lined with bricks or concrete cinder blocks to form walls. In areas where there are no vacuum trucks to suck up the sewage, the bottom of the tank is not sealed with bricks but left open to the dirt.

This allows for the liquid waste to soak into the ground as a form of leach field. Often salt is added to the dirt bottom to assist in the break up of the waste material. The bricks are covered with mortar to form a smooth waterproof surface to keep the

waste from sticking to the walls.

Steel beams are placed over the hole and the spaces between the beams are filled with bricks, which are placed in a slight arch with gypsum instead of mortar as a binding agent, as it dries faster.

A small hole is left in the top of the septic tank to allow it to be emptied as it fills up. Often a pipe is run to the tank to allow sewage to be poured into the tank without having to remove the access cover.

In photos of Saddam?s hideout, the mortar-over-brick construction is easily seen. In fact, the bricks are exposed in some spots where the mortar covering is worn away. In the roof of the hole, the support beams can be seen. Around the ventilation fan new gypsum is apparent which means that this was added after the hole was built. It was not needed for the original design or it would have been mortared into place.

The location of the hole near a hut only reinforces the idea that this was originally a locally-built septic tank. Most likely, the hole was emptied of sewage and the dirt bottom expanded horizontally to allow for better hiding.

This is supported by the reaction of news reporters who had crawled into the hiding hole. They all mention the terrible stench of the place. Also, a nearby ditch had recently been put to use as a latrine, which indicates that the septic tank for the hut was not available.

From everything seen, it is apparent that Saddam had converted the septic tank of the hut where he lived into a bolt-hole to hide in if coalition forces approached. It turns out to be an unbelievably fitting form of irony. Saddam was found cowering in a septic tank like the vermin he is.

At last, the ?sewer rat? has been put in a proper cage, even if it is an improvement over his last quarters.

Maj. Derek C. Schneider is a member of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs Branch, currently serving as Public Works Officer, Public Facilities Team, 308th Civil Affairs Brigade. He can be reached at


SSgt. Roger A.
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