"We got him!"
Those were the words that Ambassador Paul Bremer used to announce that Saddam Hussein had been captured in an early morning raid just south of his hometown of Tikrit.
Operation Red Dawn involved about 600 US troops acting on good intelligence that a high level target was located in a specific area of about 2 square kilometers. They cordoned off the area and performed a search.
In what has come to be called a "spider hole" next to a small hovel, they found Hussein. He was with 2 other people, had 2 or 3 weapons and a large amount of US cash. He gave up without a fight and was taken into custody, looking very disheveled and a far cry from the well dressed, in control man in the propaganda-type images from his glory days.
The full implications of this are yet to be seen. Nobody assumes that this will end the insurgency that has been taking American soldiers' lives since the end of major combat operations on May 1st as they were likely driven more by one of his top generals, but it can't help but have some demoralizing effect. Many feel there will initially be a strong reactionary kickback from the insurgents but that it won't last long.
The bigger hope is that this will free up the flow of intelligence information from people who felt too intimidated to speak up earlier out of fear that Saddam Hussein might return to power and retaliate against them.
One thing we know for sure - there is celebration in the streets of Baghdad tonight.