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The Observer Paper 11/26/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow SADDAM THREAT SQUELCHED IN IRAQ

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SADDAM THREAT SQUELCHED IN IRAQ

America received an early Christmas present on Saturday. The capture of former Iraq president and dictator Saddam Hussein bodes well for returning a semblance of civility to the war-torn country and getting our men and women in uniform back home.

How Hussein avoided capture for so long is anyone's guess. He literally went underground, along with a pistol and $750,000 in cash — American, no less. But corralling the corrupt and heartless, murderous dictator is a tribute to continued efforts on the part of American military intelligence. He had to be brought to justice, dead or alive, for Iraqis to see that the United States is serious about bringing this conflict to an end.

When he was apprehended, Hussein was unkempt and disoriented. Nine months on the run, living in rat holes, is bound to take a toll on one's well-being. He didn't resist, and he reportedly told his American captors not to shoot, that he wanted to "negotiate.'' That's not typical of the kind of terrorist he's been made out to be, but the fact remains that this two-bit dictator is in custody.

Whether capturing Hussein will have an impact on reducing the violence and insurgency in Iraq won't be known for a few weeks. His followers who remain free might be inspired to mount quite a rebellion for a while, but they, too, will learn their days are numbered.

Hussein's arrest is not likely to stem the tide of terrorism in the world, but it takes care of at least one threat and might result in getting our men and women back home sooner. Then the U.S. can truly focus on the mastermind of the world's terrorist acts. Osama bin Laden's capture isn't likely to be so peaceful and he's not nearly so likely to be taken alive.

Keiko will be missed

While Americans celebrated the capture of Saddam Hussein this past weekend, they mourned the loss of an animal that captivated the world. Keiko the killer whale died Friday in a Norwegian bay.

Keiko's life, for us humans anyway, was all about hope — hope that he'd be set free from captivity, that he'd go back to the wild, and when the realization came that he preferred people to whales, that he could live in a situation where, at the very least, he could have some human contact and find happiness. No one knows if he did.

Keiko just wanted to be Keiko, the whale that loved people. His life served as an inspiration for hope — something everyone needs a little more of. Thanks, Keiko.

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