- U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood held his thumb and forefinger slightly apart and said, “We’re this close” to catching Saddam Hussein.
Once that’s accomplished, Iraqi resistance will fall apart, said the five-term Republican congressman from Peoria who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.
A member of The Pantagraph editorial board — not really expecting an answer — asked LaHood for more details, saying, “Do you know something we don’t?”
“Yes I do,” replied LaHood.
LaHood spent an hour at the newspaper Monday, discussing the war on terror, the 2004 elections, Central Illinois’ regional economic development and his less-than-enthusiastic appraisal of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s performance.
….LaHood said polls still show most Americans support the U.S. military presence in Iraq. Then he added, “Once we get Saddam … and we’re this close.”
He said members of Congress who return from trips to the war zone all say the Iraqi people are very thankful to the United States and added, “You don’t hear about that too often.” [Pantagraph]
Regarding the raids in Iraq:
- U.S. troops north of the capital arrested at least 20 insurgents in a raid while workers began demolishing gigantic bronze busts of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad on Tuesday – both moves aimed at stamping out loyalty to Iraq’s ousted regime.
Iraqi police said a senior former member of Saddam’s elite Republican Guard was among those captured in Hawija, 155 miles north of Baghdad. However, the U.S. troops failed to catch the target of the raid – Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, considered a key planner of attacks against U.S. troops.
….Elsewhere in the capital, workers using a construction crane started dismantling the 13-foot busts of Saddam from his former Republican Palace, now the headquarters of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.
It was unclear how long the work would take.
Lt. Col. William MacDonald, spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, said the raids in Hawija were aimed at capturing former regime members financing guerrilla attacks in the region.
Iraqi police said U.S. troops had captured more than 100 people, including a senior former member of Saddam’s elite Republican Guard. Six Iraqis were wounded in the raid, but it wasn’t immediately clear if they were all insurgents. [AP]
I don’t know if this specific raid can be considered a success of not, but I am very much in favor of aggressively taking the fight to the enemy. Removing the symbols of the former regime is also very important psychologically, as would be Saddam’s capture or destruction for both the people of Iraq and the U.S.