'Caught Like A Rat,' Military Commander Says

July 7, 2008 - 8:21 PM

(CNSNews.com) - When Saddam Hussein was arrested, he was with a two other people -- still not identified -- and he didn't have much of a security force with him, Maj.-Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said at a press briefing on Sunday.

"He was just caught like a rat," Odierno said.

The U.S. military says Saddam was captured in a farm field, in a town about 15 kilometers southeast of Tikrit. "It was very close to the Tigris River," Odierno said. U.S. military forces also found several boats along the river - resupply boats, perhaps, or methods of bringing people to meet with Saddam, Odierno theorized.

Saddam was found hiding in a hole, which was covered by a piece of Styrofoam, which in turn was covered by a rug. "It was a very narrow hole, not very big at all," Odierno said.

He commented that he found it ironic that Saddam ultimately was captured "in a hole in the ground across the river from these great palaces that he's built" -- with stolen Iraqi money.

Coalition forces had been to the area before, but Odierno said Saddam probably had dozens of similar hideouts around the country and probably moved from one to the other every few hours.

He said Saddam was "very disoriented" and "bewildered" when he was removed from his hiding place. "He had a pistol with him, that was on him," Odierno said, but there was no resistance and no shots were fired.

The troops who captured Saddam -- about 600 of them, all American, Odierno said -- were "extremely happy and excited."

Odierno emphasized that Saddam's capture means he will never return to power. That fact will make a big difference in restoring stability to Iraq, he added.

"Our work here still continues," Odierno said. "The capture of Hussein only strengthens our resolve to continue the fight against those conducting anti-coalition activities and increases our commitment to help in the ongoing efforts to rebuild Iraq."