Congressman Calls Capture ‘Giant Step'


"The beast of Baghdad is in custody and Iraq is a giant step closer to stability and reconstruction," said Congressman J.D. Hayworth about this weekend's major news event.

"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 concluded.

Experts believe there is a possibility that attacks by insurgents will increase as a result of the capture, while others think it will help stabilize the country, according to a report in the Lawrence Journal-World from The Dallas Morning News.

A number of Payson residents shared their thoughts about the capture of the deposed Iraqi dictator.

  • Mayor Ken Murphy, Army Veteran of Operation Desert Storm, currently serving in the Army National Guard -- "It couldn't be any better news for both the Iraqis and for us. Anybody that has ruled as long and with the terror that he has used on his own people -- it's one of those things that now that he's in custody, everyone around the world can breathe a sigh of relief that he isn't coming back. It was great news -- I saw it on TV. We've got to get that other jerk -- Osama Bin Laden -- then we'll be two for two with the big guys."
  • Chief Joe Tunno, Army Veteran, served six years, past commander of the American Legion --"Rejoiceful! This man was another Hitler with all the atrocities that he's done. Millions of people died under him."
  • Chuck Longenbaugh, Veteran of Korean War, Marine Corps, VFW Commander -- "I think it's great -- that's all I can say! He needs to be brought to justice. Now he will be brought to justice."
  • Art Stone, Air Force intelligence division, colonel, 23-year career, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Senior Vice Commander of the American Legion -- "Well I think it's a real shot in the arm to the troops that are over there and trying to get this area straightened out. If they can talk to him and he gives them some information, it may lead to a resolution to the problems we are having in Iraq."
  • Vince Palandri, father of Dominic Palandri, 21, Navy, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom -- "Dominic just deployed again in December and I believe he is waiting for further orders. I'm relieved that this has happened. I think that it will prevent us from sending additional troops in at this point in time. I feel they are going to wait and see whether it gets better or worse.

"I'm glad. It may put a stop to the small groups trying to retaliate. That's what I'm hoping anyway. Maybe they won't have to send another 100,000 troops in there."

The capture of Saddam Hussein was the topic of conversation in many Payson High School classrooms Monday, especially in history and civics classes.

American history teacher Dennis Pirch said he handled the subject as a current event.

"We talked to the kids and then did questions and answers," Pirch said. "Ninety percent of the students in my classes had heard about it."

Pirch said he also shared some of his perspectives with his students:

"Here's a man whose been on the run. Here's a man who has committed atrocities on his own people for the last 25 years and he's caught.

"I don't have much sympathy for him. The sympathy I have is for the people of Iraq and I'm just overjoyed that they caught him."

Pirch was impressed with the questions his students asked.

"They asked like, ‘What's going to happen to him? Where is he going to be tried? Will the U.N. get involved?' Those are pretty cool questions. You know that they're thinking."

Two of Pirch's advanced placement students offered their views.

"We were talking about it in Mr. Pirch's class, and we basically think it's a good thing," Tina Jackson said. "We think it's going to be good for U.S. morale.

"We were also discussing what we think will happen to him now, what we want to see happen to him now, things along that line. I think I speak for a lot of students in our school when I say that we're all for it."

Stephanie Vandruff agreed.

"A lot of doubt has been on America since 9-11 and this will restore a lot of confidence in our armed forces and our government," she said. "We want to catch Osama too, so we're pretty excited."

The disheveled image of Saddam that flashed across TV screens elicited little sympathy from the students.

"For a second it was like whoa, but then I felt sympathy for everybody who suffered because of him," Vandruff said. "Then I thought, no, this is good."

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