With the news of the capture of Saddam Hussein by the U.S. military, the MSNBC.com Letters to the Editor mailbag saw an outpouring of reader reaction ranging from thanks to U.S. troops to support for President Bush to continued criticism of the war.

Re Saddam captured without a shot fired

I CONGRATULATE OUR MILITARY HEROES FOR CAPTURING SADDAM HUSSEIN!!!
Ultimately, they are entitled to the credit, because they, not any of the rest of us, sacrificed their very lives in this effort.
Saddam Hussein posed -- isn't it nice to say this in the past tense! -- a threat to the United States of delivering chemical weapons to terrorists for use against us, and President Bush was right to identify this terrible threat.  The pictures of the Kurdish victims of his chemical attacks, or rather of their later-born children, born without arms or with other deformities, demonstrate that Saddam Hussein was a monster.  Saddam Hussein had the chance to disarm and save himself.  It is good that he's been taken alive, as we can now perhaps account for the missing biological and chemical weapons, something which is important!
This is a tremendous victory for our country.  Let us hope we can begin the economic recovery now, from 9/11, which we have been prostrately praying for for so long.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Jackson Rip Holmes
Miami Beach, Florida

The big news today is the capture of Saddam. Good news – but the facts remain the same. This was an illegal war, hyped by WMD that never materialized, and I’m not convinced that the administration ever really believed that they did. Bush had every intention of going to war from the minute he entered the White House. Lots of young people have died, and many more Iraqis, when it wouldn’t have been necessary had we waited for the U.N. and waited for the inspectors to do their work.
The facts remain.  Why isn’t the media talking about them?? They must be kept in the forefront of the news or they will be forgotten just like the dead soldiers.
H.Louise zahasky
Decorah, Iowa

I think it is kind of funny how now that Saddam has been captured, France, Germany, and all the other nations that were so quick to condemn the war in Iraq, are the first ones to congratulate the U.S. on the capture.  Where were they when soldiers from the U.S. and other supportive countries were risking their lives in the search for him? Well they were at home, safe and sound. Now those countries act as if they were in support of the war all along. I just hope that when the time comes around for them to need our help in some matter, we remember that they did not support us in this at all.
Melissa Hardy

The capture of Saddam Hussein is a good thing, there's little question about that. But please, in all the exultant rah-rah coverage that is already following, don't forget that capturing Saddam Hussein is not why we went to war. It is not why President Bush told us all that we were going to war. We were supposedly going to war to find and eliminate weapons of mass destruction that were an imminent threat to our country and the rest of the world. In all the rush to celebrate the capturing of Hussein (which has taken much longer than it should have), we cannot forget that every reason we were given for going to war was a lie. So while this capture can be seen as a good thing on it own merits, it should most definitely not be seen as a sign that this unilateral invasion of another country that posed no direct threat to us is justified.
While the headlines are full of Saddam's weary image, we shouldn't forget the real stories of this war:

Over 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed by our invading forces, with many more injured.  Over 20,000 Iraqi soldiers (not 'terrorists') killed by our invading forces. Not one trace of any of the weapons of mass destruction our administration promised were there. An increase in terrorist attacks compared to before the war. 70% unemployment throughout Iraq. Selling off of Iraqi industries and utilities to foreign (mostly American) corporations with no say from the Iraqi people. Openly hostile anti-union, anti-workers'-rights activity on the part of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Continuing violations of treaties and conventions by the U.S. military through their practices of indefinite detainment of prisoners, holding of families of suspects as a method of intimidation, and torture. Manipulation of the mainstream media (how you can still show images of the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein, after it's been plainly shown to be a staged event by the U.S. military, is beyond me). That the entire invasion has been a terrifyingly precedent-setting violation of international law.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Frankly, after all this time I've virtually given up hope of seeing genuine, objective reporting from you and other big news corporations, but this is yet another chance for you to redeem yourself by not just being a cheerleader for the often-deceiving government line.
Kevin Gamble
Columbia, MO

I woke up this morning to the news (yours and everyone else's) indicating the capture of Saddam.  Then came all the interviews of Democrats praising the capture as if they had anything to do with it.  I loved hearing about all they did when in fact they were the ones totally against the war and the President.  Where are the Republicans in this?  Why are you not interviewing them??  Our brave service men & women, the President and our Republican party are the ones that have the right to take the credit in the capture of Saddam.  The news media needs to improve on who they interview and to ask the right questions - not the ones you want us to hear or the ones that make Democrat's look good!
Lets give credit to those who deserve it - not the ones who want to get in on the bandwagon after the fact!
It seems to me that the people today have forgotten that sometimes it takes wars to protect our Freedom.  We do not have what we have today without fighting for it (as history shows).  I refuse to have what happened on 9/11 happen again, and as Americans we have to stand up to those people and yes, if it means war - then we must go and stand up for our Freedom!!!!  We won't get it by backing down.
One last piece of advise - I really don't care about how this affects the Democratic Presidential Campaign - other than the fact that they did nothing!
God Bless America - Freedom is not Free!
Your Republican Friend,
Petra J. Fochios

Get set for the spinning of the Saddam capture at some high RPM by the current U.S. regime.  OK, "we" they got him. Get a rope, etc. 
But this does NOTHING to substantiate:

  • That Saddam's regime represented an imminent threat to the U.S.
  • That there was a strong link between Saddam and Al Qaeda
  • That Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ready to go
  • That Iraq would welcome U.S. occupation and U.S. can and will  "bring democracy to the Middle East"
  • That the U.S. had a plan for Iraq post-conflict
  • That domestic problems and governmental responsibilities (established by law) can be postponed, underfunded or not funded, and/or ignored because of "war on terror"
  • That drastic tax reductions and gaping tax loopholes for the very rich and corporations can be given because all the extra expenses of "war on terror" etc. can be paid for by debt -- and anyway by the time these bills come due Bush will be out of office (even if he gets a second term) 

Will the U.S. public notice or care that Saddam's capture has nothing to do with these other grievous mistakes, deceptions, and stupidities, demonstrating the ignorance and arrogance of  the Bush regime?  Unfortulately, probably not. 
Charlton Price

I think a perfect punishment for him would be to put him in a room with a handful of representatives of the women of his country and shut the door!  They will represent themselves and all the sons, husbands, brothers and fathers that have been mistreated and/or killed by his leadership.
Sandy Doone

Saddam Hussein, the Ace of Spades has been captured!!  How long till we hear from the collective Deuces of Clubs, those nine nattering nabobs of negativism running for the Democrat nomination, that they are ready to eat crow and congratulate President Bush and his magnificent fighting force in Iraq for the incarceration of the Butcher of Baghdad.
For the past eight months, in front of any camera they could find, these nay-saying Democrats have been whining, "Where is Saddam Hussein?  Will he ever be captured?  Where are the weapons of mass destruction?" and every other form of fear-mongering that only served to weaken American resolve, to give our soldiers pause in considering their duties and missions, and to otherwise aid and abet the enemies of the Iraqi people and our brave soldiers stationed there.
This capture of Saddam is great news for our troops who know that the more their successes are trumpeted, the more that Iraqis will come forward with more and better intelligence, the more Iraqis will cooperate, the more bad guys we will capture, and the closer we will come to total victory for the Iraqi people, the total reconstruction of Iraqi society and economy, and our brave troops can finally come home.
I pray these Democrats will set aside their differences and recognize this capture of Saddam Hussein as the seminal event in the establishment of a new Iraq that spells the end of a reign of terror and the beginning of an era of peace, prosperity, and stability in the Middle East.
Thank you, President Bush, for having the courage and determination to overthrow this murderer and tyrant, to ignore these naysayers, and to thus make America a safer place from terrorists.
Refusing to be held hostage by naysayers,
Robert C Gotshall, Jr.
Palm Bay, FL

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