Saddam Hussein’s capture will help psychologically break the back of insurgent holdouts in Iraq, but does not mean an end to the danger American troops face there, members of Arizona's congressional delegation said Sunday.
Saddam inspired resistance fighters and intimidated Iraqis, who have been reluctant to help U.S. forces out of fear that he could some day return to power and carry out reprisals, according to those who represent the East Valley in Washington.
Now that he has been captured, Iraqis will be more willing to provide information, said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. That will help in the search for terrorists mounting attacks against coalition forces, Kyl said. Better Iraqi cooperation also is essential in investigating Saddam's ties to outside terrorist organizations and in the search for weapons of mass destruction, Kyl said.
“Saddam Hussein's days of terror are over,” Kyl said. “Saddam Hussein will not be coming back.”
Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., who spent three days in August in Iraq, said the Iraqis who had lived under Saddam's brutal tactics continued to fear he might return to power.
“There was a palpable fear that he might come back,” Shadegg said, recounting what he had seen during his visit to Iraq. “That is now over, once and for all. For the people of Iraq, it was the specter that he was alive and might be coming back.”
Shadegg added that with Saddam's capture, “the huge burden of fear and intimidation is now lifted and gone forever.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it is important that Saddam stand trial for war crimes, adding he would prefer that it be conducted by the fledgling Iraqi government. A public trial would show those who opposed American-led efforts to depose Saddam how “heinous” his regime was, McCain said in a television interview.
Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., said the capture is a victory both in Iraq and in the global war against terror.
“Beyond the stunning strategic and psychological impact of this latest victory in Iraq, the capture of Saddam sends an unmistakable message to terrorists everywhere that we are determined to press the war relentlessly against them, that their mission is futile, and their days are numbered,” Hayworth said.