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Bush: 'Important milestone;' Pelosi: No 'substitute for an effective strategy'

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Published: Saturday December 30, 2006
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Refusing to have his face covered and uttering curses upon his perceived foes, condemned Iraqi ex-dictator Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging early Saturday morning in a Baghdad square outside the Green Zone.

President Bush went to bed before Hussein's execution Friday night, but the White House released a statement after the news trickled out, which had been first reported at the U.S. based television station Al-Hurra in Iraq, minutes after 10 PM EST.

Spokesman Scott Stanzel said the president was told of the impending hanging Friday afternoon and went to bed shortly before it took place, with instructions not to be woken up.

"Saddam Hussein's execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops," Bush's statement said. "Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror."

Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (CA-Dem) released the following statement this morning: "The execution of Saddam Hussein ends a tragic chapter in the history of Iraq, but it is not a substitute for an effective strategy that will bring peace to the region and allow the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces."

Per The Los Angeles Times, here is the text of a written statement released by President George W. Bush on the occasion of the execution of Saddam Hussein. More of the statement can be viewed at this registration-restricted link.

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Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial -- the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.

Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule. It is a testament to the Iraqi people's resolve to move forward after decades of oppression that, despite his terrible crimes against his own people, Saddam Hussein received a fair trial. This would not have been possible without the Iraqi people's determination to create a society governed by the rule of law.

Saddam Hussein's execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror.

We are reminded today of how far the Iraqi people have come since the end of Saddam Hussein's rule - and that the progress they have made would not have been possible without the continued service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.

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