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Iraqis' Spirit Liberated with Capture of Saddam

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2003 – When U.S. troops stormed Baghdad in April, the Iraqi people were liberated. This week, with the capture of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi people were "liberated in spirit," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Bryan Whitman said here today.

While it's too early to tell exactly what the former dictator's capture means to the future of Iraq, Whitman said, it "certainly means that he's not coming back."

"This week was visible proof to the Iraqi people that Americans and the coalition held true to their promise to ensure that Saddam Hussein never has the opportunity to brutalize them like he had for so many decades," he said.

Whitman said Saddam's capture achieves a very important objective. "This is a real testament to the men and women in uniform who have stayed focused to their dedication and professionalism," he said.

Saddam, who is being kept at an undisclosed location for security reasons, is afforded protections under the Geneva Convention, noted Whitman. The Central Intelligence Agency has the lead for interrogation, he added.

Re-emphasizing that Hussein's capture is "an important milestone" Whitman said there is still much to be done in establishing a "secure, stable, peaceful environment in Iraq."

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