In the end, he was found in a dirt hole. Saddam Hussein, who once ruled Iraq from opulent palaces around Baghdad, climbed out of a J spider hole just big enough to accommo- f date one man and surrendered to U.S. soldiers without a fight.
"I'm Saddam Hussein," he told his captors. "I'm the president of Iraq and I'm willing to negotiate." As the Special Forces soldiers pulled him from his hiding place, they merely responded, "President Bush sends his regards." And with that it was over. Within an hour the former ruler of Iraq was in an Army helicopter heading into captivity.
The operation that captured Saddam, Operation Red Dawn, began at 10:50 A.M., December 13, when a former confidant of Saddam's was captured and questioned in Baghdad. The mission ended almost eleven hours later with his surrender. The confidant-turned-informant was interrogated for hours before disclosing what he knew: that Saddam was in the village of Ad Dawr, southeast of Tikrit. Acting on the information, the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) put together a force of 600 soldiers of its 1st Brigade, including cavalry, engineers, artillery, aviation and special operations forces and headed for the area.
Once in Ad Dawr, the troops raided two farm houses but did not find Hussein. Instead they found a man in the first house who was suspected to be Hussein's cook. At the second house they found the cook's brother, be lieved to be Hussein's driver. As the soldiers searched the area, the men broke and ran, hoping to draw the troops away from Saddam's underground hiding place. But the informant brought the soldiers back to the area where he explained Hussein could be found.
Soldiers from the 1st Brigade surrounded the area while a squad of about 24 Special Forces soldiers scoured the spot. The small compound they were searching contained a mud hut and a lean-to. Nearby, one of the soldiers pushed aside a small rug in the yard and discovered a Styrofoam lid. …