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Saddam Captured

Aired December 14, 2003 - 08:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Want to take a moment to recap all the information that we have been bringing to you this morning. A quote directly from L. Paul Bremer. "Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him."
Saddam Hussein has been captured approximately 8:30 p.m. last night local time in an area known as Adwar. This is south of Tikrit, the home of Saddam Hussein. Many people say not too much of a surprise to find him there because of how well he could blend in, in that area.

And talk about blending in. They found him in a rural farmhouse. There were two likely locations that this group of 600 soldiers, sort of a mass effort between Cavalry Special Ops, aviation, went into this area to find him "in the cover of darkness and with lightning speed."

What they found was a mud hut, a spider hole that was camouflaged with mud and dirt. And inside with a built-in air vent and a fan, six to eight feet deep, was this man, Saddam Hussein. You're looking at video there of his medical exam, trying to gauge the condition of him, which we are told is quite good right now. Just tired and also, from the words of General Sanchez, "a man resigned to his fate."

And moments ago, we saw that news conference there with the Iraqi journalists celebrating as they saw this video of Saddam Hussein in capture. And more celebration here in the streets of Baghdad from the people of Iraq, waving flags, honking horns and, of course, the traditional celebrations also often involve gunshots being shot into the air. AK-47s, we have heard many shots fired into the air. It is something we have seen before, but not quite like this.

Wolf Blitzer joining me now in Washington, D.C. -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Heidi.

The U.S. military acted on what is being described as actionable intelligence. Clearly, a sophisticated operation. There have been many of these in the past. This one was dubbed Operation Red Dawn.

Our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, is joining us on the phone.

About 600 troops, Jamie, we're told, got involved. The actual capture occurred at 8:30 p.m. Saturday time, local time in Iraq. That would be Saturday about 12:30 p.m., just afternoon here on the East Coast of the United States. Pretty amazing that they kept this pretty much secret for so many hours.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they did. And it is pretty amazing. As I was calling around, as this news began to break this morning, and talking to U.S. officials, I was catching them at home at 4:00 in the morning and was finding that they were surprisingly well informed on what was going on.

I thought at the time that that was perhaps because of briefings they were getting overnight, but now it's obvious that this information had come back to Washington the day before. But even then, they were urging caution, as they wanted to make sure that there was no premature announcement of the capture of Saddam Hussein, that all of the checks had been taken care of to make sure it was him.

We, of course, saw the pictures, and it clearly looks like him. And particularly the picture they showed where they showed the -- what he looked like with his beard and afterwards. And here again, we see the tiny hole that he was hiding in.

Now, this hole was camouflaged with bricks and made to look like it was just part of a wall. It's really credit to the U.S. military that they conducted such a thorough search. You know, when they went to these two locations, they didn't find Saddam Hussein, as has happened with many raids in the past. But they cordoned off the entire area and were very methodical in how they went through it, and that's how they discovered him hiding in the hole.

And you can see from the videotape that he's grown a beard, and he did not offer any resistance. In fact, his whole operation went off without a shot being fired, which is amazing in itself, when you consider how it ended when the United States went after his two sons, Uday and Qusay.

They died in a very -- a bloody gun -- firefight that went on for quite some time. But Saddam Hussein, resigned to his fate, as General Sanchez said. And this is, of course, how the U.S. military is planning to convince the Iraqi people, showing these very pictures here of Saddam Hussein. And then showing, of course, what he looks like after they've shaved his beard. And he very clearly looks likes himself, if I may say.

And the other interesting thing about this is that the U.S. has been getting better and better intelligence. They've been saying that for weeks. While they've always felt the noose was closing on Saddam Hussein, that they have been getting more and more intelligence, narrowing down the places he could go. They really felt the noose was tightening.

They tried to resist saying in public that they were closing in on him, because they know it's a very difficult thing. You don't have him until you have him. But Wolf, today, they have him.

BLITZER: The is ace of spades clearly has folded. I think it's fair say that.

Jamie McIntyre, I'm going to ask you to stand by, gather some more information. The details, of course, are fascinating.

Let's bring in a member of the United States Congress right now. C.A. Ruppersberger is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Obviously, well briefed on what happens in Iraq.

Is this the way, Congressman, you thought this would go down?

REP. C.A. RUPPERSBERGER (D), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, to begin with, it's a great day for the United States; it's a great day for our troops. What's so important is that intelligence will in the end help us get to where we need to be in Iraq.

BLITZER: Congressman, as you take a look at what happens next in this process, there must be all sorts of scenarios. The Pentagon, the U.S. Intelligence community, the CIA, which you oversee as a member of the Intelligence Committee, they have all sorts of contingency plans what to do next. What do they do next now that they have Saddam Hussein?

RUPPERSBERGER: Well, to begin with, they have to go further. There's going to be the insurgency that's out there, we're going to have to be very aggressive as far as going after that insurgency, the group of the house of cards.

Secondly, we have to make sure that we start debriefing as many people as we can, because getting the intelligence now, the fact that Saddam Hussein has been captured, I think, will open the door for a lot more intelligence. But what this shows, also, is the perseverance of the United States of America. And I think this helps us throughout the world. We're tenacious, we're moving forward, and that we will reach our goal of bringing a democracy to Iraq.

BLITZER: Congressman, one final question before I let you go. The fact that he's cooperating now, talking, Saddam Hussein, the search for weapons of mass destruction, they've been very elusive, as you well know, until now.

You're a member of the intelligence community. Presumably, if anyone knows where those weapons of mass destruction are, if there are weapons of mass destruction, it would be Saddam Hussein. How important, potentially, is this capture in the search for WMDs?

RUPPERSBERGER: I would think it's very important. But I think we have to take our priorities and put it on getting -- liberating Iraq, protecting our troops. And I think as far as the weapons of mass destruction is concerned, we should consider now getting a commission of Iraqis together, giving them the ability. They can probably help us as much as what we're doing now, and take those linguists and people like that and putting them to help us protect our troops and liberate Iraq.

BLITZER: Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat of Maryland, a member of the Intelligence Committee, thanks very much, Congressman, for joining us.

RUPPERSBERGER: Good to be here. BLITZER: Aaron Brown is covering this story for us as well. He's joining us from New York -- Aaron.


There are, on a day like today, 100 questions, maybe 1,000 questions about what next, what will happen to Saddam Hussein, how will -- whatever trial is going to take place at some point, how will that be done, who will do it. It will certainly be done by Iraqis. Those are a lot of questions that will get asked today. And many of them will not have answers.

The single most important question of the day is how was it done, and we have little pieces of information about that. We showed you a few moments ago some nighttime video taken in the area of Tikrit at the military base in Tikrit. This was the first real good indication that CNN correspondents had that something important had happened.

Troops in the 4th I.D. came back. They were taking pictures of one another. They were clearly in a celebratory mood.

That's what these pictures are. And that was the first best indication that we had that something major had happened. And as it turns out, it is about as major as it can get.

The ramifications of this, what this will mean for the resistance, what this will mean for the security of American forces, what this will mean for the future of Iraqis are questions that are hard to answer today. But certainly, questions that we'll spend a considerable amount of time working through as the day goes on.

Retired General Don Shepperd, Air Force General Don Shepperd, who is familiar to many of you for helping us with analysis of the war, the buildup to the war, and the events after the war, is on the phone with us this morning. He's in Tucson, Arizona. He has some familiarity, General with the leader of this operation, the 600-man operation that led to the capture of Saddam Hussein yesterday in Iraq.

Good morning.

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), AIR FORCE: Yes, good morning, Aaron. Yes, it's played out exactly as predicted.

I was there about six weeks ago on a trip and was talking to Major General Odinaro (ph), who is the commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit, the man really in charge of the hot area there in the essence, if you will, of this search for Saddam. I asked him directly, "Look, do you believe he's still alive? Do you believe he's still in Iraq?"

He said, "I believe he's alive. I believe he's in Iraq. I believe he's near here. I believe we've come close to him, and I believe we will get him."

And that's exactly the way it played out. I don't know if it was through intelligence and tips or if it was through hard search. But he believed they'd catch him at a roadblock. He said, "He's got to be on the move. He's protected by his family." But he said, "We're going to get him," and that looks like the way it's played out, Aaron.

BROWN: Are you surprised at all at the way it played out, in the sense that no shots were fired, that he was described as resigned to his fate when he was captured? There was no resistance, personal or otherwise?

SHEPPERD: I am, indeed. I thought he would put up a fight to the end, that he would be well protected. As it played out, it sounds like there were three guys in a hole in the backyard of a small farm.

Now, one thing he had to be careful of was being surrounded by a great big entourage that would give him away. So there weren't evidently many protection forces around him. But they've been looking at and eliminating areas for a long time and really zeroing in. So again, it looks like that their intelligence played out here.

It's a great day. I believe it will make a great difference in the insurgency immediately. I think there will be some more attacks.

I think one other thing we have to be aware of is there could be retaliation attack in the United States of al Qaeda on this. So we have to be careful about that and mindful of it.

BROWN: I want to pursue that thought for a second. Viewers who may not have seen the news conference a short time ago, if you're wondering what it is that is going on when those pictures are shown, those are Iraqi journalists who were in the room who stand up, who cheer when these pictures of Saddam Hussein were being shown at the news conference. These are reporters for Iraqi media.

Obviously, Iraqi media is quite a bit different than it was seven months ago, when the regime was in power. And they made no bones about their feelings.

Don, on this question that you put out on the table, there may be a big difference between the long-term impact of this, which we'll see whether it leads to a weakening of the resistance or not, and the short-term, which could mean retaliation against U.S. forces in Iraq, or, as you suggested, the possibility -- and it's only a possibility -- that al Qaeda or some other terrorist group might try and launch some sort of operation here in the United States. In Iraq itself, would you imagine that the military is now on a very heightened state of security, anticipating whatever reaction from Saddam loyalists might take place?

SHEPPERD: Indeed. I'm sure the commanders there are telling their troops, look, this is not the end. This may be the beginning of a very dangerous period.

I think the troops are going to be on super-alert, because I think a lot of the Fedayeen Saddam will strike out in anger. I also think that (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the number two man, is still running around the country with money and will probably make a final attempt. But I think it will be a very dangerous time that they'll be watching for and reacting to. We could see a lot of attacks in the short run here.

BROWN: Don, thank you very much. Lieutenant General Don Shepperd with us on the phone from Tucson.

On the subject of money, I heard as I was coming in this morning -- we'll double-check this -- that the -- that Saddam, or where he was located, there was about $750,000 of U.S. currency found. It has always been said that he had not millions, but billions of dollars, that some of this money was feeding the resistance, paying the insurgents to carry out the attacks on Americans and others.

And there was an attack in Iraq, quite a deadly attack in Iraq today. We'll have more on that as we go this morning. But 10 Iraqis killed, more than 20 wounded in a suicide bombing. So it's already been a nasty day there.

On the other hand, as you can see by the scenes that you're looking at, and what is surely the most famous square to American viewers in Iraq, there is some celebrating going on. But again, Jane Arraf, who is a long-time -- our long-time Baghdad bureau chief, is with us, has been there before the war. And now after.

Jane, in the absence of a wide shot, which we don't have to see, in fact, how many people are on the street, we see groupings of people. Is it a citywide celebration? Are the streets packed with people, or is it something else?

JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Aaron, it's probably small pockets of celebration. And one thing we have to remember is that even though there is now what a lot of Iraqis have to believe is categorical proof that he is captured, people are still going to be afraid.

For one thing, they're going to be afraid of this gunfire. There has been gunfire behind me and in several other parts of Baghdad, going on for a couple of hours now, ever since people first heard the news, firing into the air.

Just behind me, the police chief, the deputy interior minister, showed up a short while ago, as well as people carrying banners, saying "Congratulations to all Iraqis." It is a truly amazing thing, that photograph that was shown, a vision of Saddam Hussein most Iraqis would never have dreamed they would see -- Aaron.

BROWN: Just -- Jane, a couple of questions. First, quickly, how did most Iraqis find out about this, on the radio?

ARRAF: Either on the radio or on television. We keep pointing out this is a new Iraq, and people can no go out and buy satellite dishes if they want to. That presumes, of course, that they have money and they have electricity, which isn't always the case. There are citywide power shortages here, but a lot did hear about it through television. And they watch a lot of television here -- Aaron.

BROWN: Now, as someone who, on our staff at least, is more familiar with not just the country but the people in Iraq, give me a sense of how they will see that picture of this haggard former dictator with the beard, disheveled, looking old, tired and clearly in custody. Hardly the man who would swagger about in fancy suits, gun in the air. This is not the Saddam they know at all.

ARRAF: There were absolute gasps when that picture was shown. Of all the things that Iraqis never would have expected in their lifetime to see over the past year, it's safe to say that they would never have expected to see a Saddam Hussein with a tongue depressor being put in his mouth by a U.S. soldier.

And the rest of it, the fact that he was found underground, everything that reduces this man who tried to get across and maintain this image that he was monumental, larger than life, being reduced to just an ordinary man hiding underground. It's an absolute shock for Iraqis -- Aaron.

BROWN: I can't imagine -- none of us I think, can, who haven't lived under it -- what that picture must look like to the people of Iraq. Here's this guy who ruled the country in the most violent of ways at times, whatever your feelings about the war are aren't important in all of this. This was a bad man, and an American doctor going through his hair looking for lice, which is how that looked to me, I mean it doesn't get perhaps more degrading than that.

Are you nervous today, in a journalistic sense -- are you nervous today that there will be attempts to retaliate against Americans?

ARRAF: There will be, but there probably would have been anyway, Aaron. This whole post-war era has unleashed so many things that never existed before. And one of the things that it's really unleashed is a set of forces, organizations, perhaps, individuals who are united in their hatred of Americans. And that doesn't have a lot to do with Saddam, except for the fact that his removal has provided them, in some sense, the opportunity to come here and launch these attacks.

There is a lot of worry among Iraqis, even though what you're seeing now is intense celebration among many of them. The reason that the streets aren't full, to some extent, is that a lot of Iraqis are afraid to celebrate. They don't know what their neighbors are thinking. They don't know how much support there still is out there for Saddam. Clearly, there will be some, even though he's now in custody -- Aaron.

BROWN: Jane, thank you. It's going to be quite a day there for you, Jane Arraf, who runs our bureau in Baghdad.

In looking at the pictures, there's that set of pictures at the end, Wolf, where Saddam is just sitting there. Whatever medical examination, apparently is over, and he's just sitting there. And as I watched it, I wondered, what must he be thinking at that moment -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. And you know, Aaron, it's amazing that these kinds of huge stories, incredibly huge stories happen at a time when no one can really predict that it's going to happen. A lot of false alarms over the past six to eight months, as all of our viewers know.

We're standing by to hear from Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. You're looking at it live right now at 10 Downing Street in London. The British prime minister expected to emerge shortly, make a statement, perhaps, answer some reporters' questions.

President Bush's number one ally in going to war against Saddam Hussein expected to be speaking shortly. CNN, of course, will have live coverage.

We'll also going to the White House. Our White House correspondent, Dana Bash, is standing by there as well.

But in the meantime, let's bring in Simon Henderson, someone who has written extensively about Iraq over these years and Saddam Hussein. Simon Henderson is joining us here in our Washington studio. He's with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

What goes through your mind? All of these years, decades of Saddam Hussein finally overthrown last April, now captured alive.

SIMON HENDERSON, SADDAM BIOGRAPHER: Well, it's finality, isn't it? Although one had been expecting that he'd probably be dead, that he would probably fight to the end, or he'd be ambushed by American troops, and in a firefight, he'd end up dead.

BLITZER: Like his two sons, Uday and Qusay.

HENDERSON: Like Uday and Qusay. But no, he's been captured. He looks disheveled, depressed, out of touch old man.

One can almost feel sorry for him. I don't. He is a ghastly person, and what happens now, I think, is terribly important not only for Iraq, but also for the United States in Iraq and in the world. This is a man who is going to have to be put on trial, and this is a great opportunity for the Americans, if possible, to get it right.

BLITZER: It's coming up almost 20 hours since U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein in a hole in that farmhouse just outside of Tikrit. We look at these pictures, they're taking DNA, some saliva from him to make the official confirmation that it is Saddam Hussein.

There's no doubt about that. This is Saddam Hussein. But they've cleaned him up. They shaved off his beard. He's got his famous mustache now.

What will that say to the Iraqi people?

HENDERSON: Well, they took off his beard, because like they had to do with Uday and Qusay, they had to show the Iraqi people it's him. It's not a double, it's not just a guy who looks like Saddam with a beard. It is actually him. And so they had to give this before and after look to him, which made it credible.

There will still somebody Iraqis who, unbelievably to us, will be saying, well, the Americans had him in a safe house for the last few months and have just plucked him out because it's all part of a great American plan. They're either stupid Iraqis or, frankly, the wicked Iraqis who think that.

BLITZER: All right. Simon, stand by, because I want to bring in our White House correspondent, Dana Bash, following events over there.

This is one of those weekends, Dana, the president stayed in Washington, did not head out to Camp David. Obviously, he's known about this I assume from the moment it happened or shortly thereafter. What can you tell us about when the president was informed?

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the president was actually at Camp David yesterday. He's back at the White House now. But it was when he was there that he was phoned by the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to tell him that this raid had taken place in Tikrit, and they thought that it was a good possibility that they had captured Saddam Hussein.

Then the president did come back here yesterday to the White House, and it was shortly after 5:00 a.m. this morning, we are told, that he got a phone call from Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser, to tell him that they were all but sure that it was, in fact, Saddam Hussein who was captured in that raid in Tikrit. And she was told by Paul Bremer, the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Now, Wolf, we're told that the president is now in the Oval Office, meeting with senior officials here. Certainly a rare thing for the president to be in the Oval Office on a Sunday, but, as you can imagine, it is certainly a rare day at this White House.

They're being somewhat cautious right now to give much of any statement. An official I talked to simply said that this is a great day for the Iraqi people. But beyond that, they are trying to figure out exactly what they will say from this building, from the president himself, perhaps later today. That is part of undoubtedly what they're meeting about right now.

The president was supposed to go to church this morning, but that was canceled, as you can tell, as our viewers can tell. It's snowing here. They say it was because of the weather that President Bush didn't go, but as of this time, we are told that he is in the Oval Office right now, meeting with senior advisers, talking about how to go from here. But very cautious about what exactly they will say and how they will say it at this point. The official statement they are letting come out of Iraq from the military and from the Coalition Provisional Authority.

BLITZER: Dana, was it the president's intention -- usually when he goes away to Camp David for the weekends, he comes back to Washington Sunday afternoon. He came back, as you pointed out, yesterday. Was that as a result of the word that it was probably Saddam Hussein, the capture, or was he always planning on coming back Saturday afternoon?

BASH: It's our understanding that he was always planning on coming back early. He had some holiday events here in Washington today. Unclear if he will be doing those because of the weather and obviously because of this news. But our understanding is he was planning on coming back regardless.

But, Wolf, it's also important to note that once -- not only did the president get a call, but other senior national security officials -- obviously the secretary of defense knew about this, the secretary of state, and others were also called. The phones were burning up, as you can imagine, at the top levels of the Bush administration in and around Washington last night. Officials informing each other, keeping each other up to date on exactly what did take place in Tikrit.

So as that was all taking place, the president did come back to Washington. And again, he got the final confirmation from his national security adviser this morning -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Presumably at some point today we'll be hearing directly from the president of the United States. We'll wait for that announcement from the White House. Dana Bash is covering this for us.

Dana, stand by. We'll be getting back to you.

Simon Henderson is still with us from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy here in Washington. He's written extensively about Saddam Hussein over the years.

What the president says right now, in the coming hours, the president of the U.S., could have a huge impact on what happens on the ground in Iraq as far as the insurgency is concerned. What happens as far as you can tell?

Put your prediction cap on for a second, Simon. Tell us what you think might happen as far as the level of attacks against U.S. and coalition forces and others who support the United States and Iraq now that Saddam Hussein has been captured alive.

HENDERSON: Well, my understanding has been that the vast majority of the attacks have been done by former regime loyalists in the jargon phrase, which are the old Ba'athists, those people in the army, the security and intelligence services who had everything going for them under Saddam and very little going for them now. This will be a tremendous setback for them. And they will be extraordinarily depressed.

Now, there are a few more leaders out there who -- intelligence leaders -- Izzat Ibrahim, Saddam's deputy, is still out there. There was a false report that he was captured a couple of weeks ago.

Now, if those attacks fall off and if other characters like Izzat Ibrahim and some of the other residual members of the playing cards are captured, it's good news. That still leaves the jihadists, the Islamic fundamentalists, the al Qaeda types who could cause some attacks, but, frankly, they seem to have been working in cooperation with the Saddam loyalists. If they don't have that cooperation, they might not be so successful.

BLITZER: All right. Simon, stand by, because we're going to be getting back to you. Thanks very much for that analysis.

I want to bring in back Heidi Collins from the CNN Center.

Heidi, if Saddam Hussein is, in fact, talking right now, cooperating with the U.S. military personnel, that clearly will send a signal to other Iraqis who have been captured in the deck of cards. If they haven't been cooperating, this might be a good time for them to start cooperating as well.

We'll continue to monitor that story here in Washington. We're standing by to hear when the president of the United States might want to address the American public, the international community. And as you know, we're standing by for Tony Blair in London as well.

COLLINS: Yes, we certainly are. And you bring up a great point. It will be interesting to see how the rest of Iraq's former regime, that is, decides to cooperate.

As we did hear a little bit earlier on, Wolf, we've been hearing that Saddam Hussein himself has been talkative and cooperative. It leaves a lot of questions, a lot of people wondering what exactly he has been saying.

I want to recap for just a moment about exactly what happened overnight. Operation Red Dawn, that is what we heard from General Ricardo Sanchez, a joint effort, if you will, between aviation, ground forces, Special Ops. We want to learn a little bit more about what may have gone on here from one of the experts that you may recall from the war a little bit earlier in the year. General David Grange joining us from Illinois this morning.

General Grange, can you tell us a little bit about how this may have gone down? We are learning 600 soldiers, Cavalry, Special Ops, aviation, as I said earlier. A joint effort that they had been working on for quite some time.

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.): Yes, what you have is you have the, you know, a conventional unit, both air and ground, with a lot of fire support that would go into cordon off the area. Again, they have two sites that they have pretty good intelligence on, but it may not be accurate. And that's obviously happened before.

And then with the Special Operating Forces going in as you might call the surgical element, that would actually go in to either capture or kill Saddam or those around him. Now remember the big firefight that happened with the sons. And so they planned for worst case.

And that's why the vast numbers of people. And obviously, a bigger area they may have to search. And that's why you have bigger numbers. But it was a joint effort and, also a Special Operations and conventional effort to take that target down.

COLLINS: That's right. And they actually -- when General Sanchez was talking about this event, he mentioned that there were two locations, Wolverine I and Wolverine II, but that the first location they went to "under the cover of darkness and with lightning speed" was actually not the place where they found Saddam Hussein.

GRANGE: Right. And so it's very prudent that they had that type of force. And it's also very interesting, I think, Heidi, that you have the -- this spider hole concept. In other words, very similar to what the Viet Kong would use in Vietnam, where you would have insurgents in a village and then they would have hide sites tunneled in all underneath, subterranean around the area. And there would be a series of these, multiple hide sites. And so, very much the same insurgent technique. But in this case with a high value target.

COLLINS: They also found, General Grange, two AK-47s, a pistol, $750,000 U.S., that is, and a white and orange taxi. Sounds a little odd.

GRANGE: Yeah, well, I think this was just one hide site. And what it is is the AK-47s and pistol, maybe one of those weapons was Saddam's, but the other two individuals that were captured along with them, they could have been his weapons. And there was some immediate cash to disperse in order to handle some of his logistics, his support on transportation, movements and, you know, and support of these farms. But I think it was just one of many hide sites that Saddam probably used, and the taxi may have been a vehicle for very low visibility type movement around the area using his disguise.

COLLINS: All right. General David Grange, thanks so much for your insight on all of this, joining us this morning from Galina (ph), Illinois. Nice to hear from you again, General.

Aaron Brown, we send it back over to you in New York.

BROWN: Heidi, thank you. It's just a little bit past 8:30 on a Sunday morning here in the East Coast. Many of you just waking up and wondering what the fuss is about.

Three pictures, perhaps, tell the story of the last day as well as any words that anyone can come up with. First picture, members of the 4th Infantry Division in the darkness in Tikrit celebrating. Our first indication that something major had happened overnight and that -- what we now know happened overnight.

What these young men and young women were celebrating, high- fiving, taking pictures of one another is they had captured Saddam Hussein, the world's most wanted man or at least second most wanted man, besides Osama bin Laden.

That picture told one story.

No picture is more dramatic than the pictures of Saddam himself. This is what he looked like a short time after he was captured. Gray beard, disheveled hair. We're reminded when we look at this picture -- the picture -- not necessarily reminded of him, though, but Saddam before and after, if you will. The picture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed captured in Pakistan, again looking very similar, disheveled, hardly the al Qaeda leader when Shaikh Mohammed was captured. And as we look at Saddam, hardly the dictator who for 30-plus years, a generation and a half, terrorized much of the population of his country and worried much of the population of the Middle East as well. He was taken into custody.

The third picture that tells the story of this day is the picture of Iraqis in Baghdad celebrating. How widespread these celebrations are, a little hard to say. But clearly, this news is working its way through the capital, working its way through the country. People out in the streets, gunfire in that traditional Iraqi celebratory way being fired into the air. The implications of this day will play out, and we'll watch.

But clearly, as the news moves through the Iraqi capital, it was a day to celebrate.

The American administrator, Paul Bremer, announced the news, emphasizing that this is a moment of reconciliation, that this is a time for supporters of the Baathist regime to lay down their arms to build a new Iraq. This is how the American administrator in Iraq laid out the news.

And now, the reaction, the British prime minister, Tony Blair.


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