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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Remember When...


A year ago yesterday, a bedraggled Saddam Hussein was dragged from a hole in the ground to a chorus of self-congratulation from US officials claiming his capture was a turning point in the Iraq war.

"In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over," declared George Bush the day after the former Iraqi leader was seized. "A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can come together and build a new Iraq."

The optimism of US military commanders was extraordinary. Major General Ray Odierno, whose 4th Infantry Division was credited with arresting Saddam, declared a month later that the insurgency was "on its knees" and only "a sporadic threat". He went on to assure the press in Washington that "in six months you are going to see some normalcy".

A year later, American casualties showed how little the war was affected by the imprisonment of Saddam. Of the 1,283 US soldiers who have died in Iraq since the invasion in March 2003, 821 of them were killed since his capture.




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