Originally created 12/15/03

Chambliss says Saddam's capture should silence war critics

ATLANTA -- Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss said the capture of Saddam Hussein, an enormous victory for coalition forces, should silence critics of the Iraq war.

"There's no way to spin this other than, this is a positive for the American people, the Iraqi people, as well as for the leadership of George Bush," Chambliss said, lauding the efforts of U.S. troops, who captured the former Iraqi dictator Saturday night.

Other Georgia Congressmen echoed the praise Sunday, saying the greatest benefits will go to the people who suffered under Saddam's regime.

The Iraqi people had been living with "a fear that he was still alive, possibly directing and in control of the terrorist attacks that had been occurring," said Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey. "It has kept a lot of people from showing the kind of enthusiasm that I think we'll see in the coming weeks and days."

American forces captured the former Iraqi dictator at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in an underground hide-out on a farm in Adwar, about 10 miles from his hometown of Tikrit.

"This mass murdering, strutting peacock was found like the rat he is, cowering in a hole in the ground," Democratic Sen. Zell Miller said in a statement. "So much for the myth of his invincibility."

Chambliss, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he expects more violent activity by insurgents in response to Saddam's capture in the short term, but in the long term it will mean peace and stability to the Iraqi people and that U.S. troops will return home sooner.

"It doesn't mean immediate peace. It doesn't mean immediate removal of U.S. troops from Iraq. But it does mean both those issues will be resolved closer to this point in time than if we had captured him months from now," he said.

Gingrey, who had been planning to visit Iraq on Friday with fellow members of the House Armed Services committee for a tour and briefing by officials there, said he would hear from the Department of Defense whether the trip is still on, in light of Saturday's news.

"I expect to see jubilation in the streets of Baghdad, understanding of course that terrorist attacks will continue," he said. "I have had some anxieties about the trip. I think that's only natural."

Gingrey said it was important to him to thank the troops in person for their work.

U.S. officials have said they still haven't decided what to do with Saddam, but one option is putting him before a special tribunal established just days ago by Iraq's interim government. Iraq's Governing Council said Saddam would face public trial in Iraq.

Gingrey agreed "without question" that U.S. authorities should hand Saddam over to the Iraqi people.

Chambliss also concurred.

"They're the ones that suffered the atrocities of Saddam Hussein for an excess of 30 years," he said. "They're the ones that need to bring forth the evidence of the killings, the rapings and the atrocities in all sorts of ways that will be exhibited to the world."


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