Nevada residents excited, wary after capture
Nevada residents had mixed emotions Sunday about the news of Saddam Hussein’s capture – excitement giving way to caution.
When word got out at the Carson City Jail, everyone cheered, said corrections officer Sgt. Kurt Davis. Inmates were watching the news during a break.
“When that came up, this whole place went crazy,” he said. “Trusties, inmates, members of the staff – everybody.”
Davis, who has several close friends attached to Marine Corps units in Iraq, said he hopes the capture will help stop attacks on U.S. troops.
“This should put a damper on their whole reason for continuing to fight,” he said. “But until we capture his second-in-command, we’re still going to have a few problems. That goes without saying.”
Brig. Gen. Randall Sayer of the Nevada Army National Guard, who attended the deployment of 91 members of the 321st Signal Company on Sunday morning, agreed.
“I have mixed emotions,” he said. “It’s good for our troops, it’s good for the American people. But that guy is a symbol, and my concern is now that this symbol has been taken out of the picture there is a potential for someone else to fill the void.”
Sayer had advice for Nevada Army National Guard troops, like the members of the 777th Engineer Group stationed in Iraq.
“My words of caution are, ‘This is certainly a good thing – but don’t let your guard down. The danger still exists.'”
While televisions at most Carson City bars were broadcasting the 49ers and Bengals football game Sunday, two employees of the Horseshoe Club Casino watched MSNBC’s coverage of “High Value Target No. 1.”
“They did a DNA check and examined his teeth and everything,” said change person Lisa Mayfield, on her lunch break. “It’s really him.”
Doris Wallin, another employee, said Saddam was searched for poison to make sure he couldn’t take his own life.
“I wish this would mean the end of it,” said Mayfield. “It would be so nice to have our guys home.”
Congressman Jim Gibbons issued a celebratory statement.
“While some skeptics questioned our ability to find the dictator, there was never any doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein would be found and brought to justice,” he said. “Just like a rat, he was found hiding in a hole.”
Nevada U.S. Sen. John Ensign was the only member of Congress in Iraq when Hussein’s capture was announced.
“I share in the celebration and jubilation that I witnessed in the streets of Iraq today,” he said in a statement. “As an American senator in Iraq today, I have an especially deep sense of pride in our military forces, their commitment and professionalism.”
But he, too, noted U.S. troops are not out of the woods yet.
“Although this is an historic day of celebration, we must remember that the danger facing our men and women is not over.”