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US Lawmakers Congratulate US Forces in Iraq


U.S. legislators of both parties are hailing the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a major step towards peace, stability and reconciliation in that country.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said the capture of Saddam Hussein brings new hope for a better future in Iraq. The Tennessee Republican spoke on the ABC television program, "This Week."

"To have this oppressive burden, this mass-murderer, this dictator all of a sudden gone, out of the picture, is a magnificent day for the Iraqi people," he said.

Senator Frist said he spoke with President Bush, and that he and the President agree that Saddam Hussein's capture removes a major obstacle to peace and reconciliation in Iraq, given that Iraqis no longer have reason to fear a possible return to power by their one-time leader.

Appearing on the same program, a Republican colleague, Senator John McCain of Arizona, congratulated U.S. troops and other personnel stationed in Iraq for finding the elusive former Iraqi leader.

"[The capture] is a great tribute to the military and the intelligence and the young men and women who are over there [in Iraq]," said Mr. McCain. "This has a tremendous psychological effect in Iraq. And I hope once the trial begins and the exposition of the extent of this despot's crimes are known to our European friends and people around the world, it will further justify our [U.S.] actions in Iraq."

Mr. McCain's words were echoed by Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who said Saddam Hussein must be held accountable for his actions.

"This upcoming trial, whatever form it takes, is a phenomenal opportunity to expose all the Iraqi people to the depth of the degradation that Saddam Hussein put them through and the atrocities he committed," said Mr. Biden.

Senator Biden said there should be no rush to try Saddam Hussein, that the former Iraqi leader's crimes should be painstakingly laid out for the world to see.