‘President Bush Sends His Regards’: After Nearly 20 Years, Soldier Speaks Of Saddam Hussein’s Capture

After nearly 20 years in which members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force had remained silent about the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, retired Army Master Sergeant Kevin Holland spoke publicly of Hussein’s December 13, 2003, arrest.

Speaking with former Navy SEAL Jack Carr on his program “Danger Close,” Holland, who served on the U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 and the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, countered a claim by an Iraqi interpreter that Hussein had been found in a room praying when he was caught.

“President Bush sends his regards,” Holland recalled the soldiers who found Hussein saying. He delineated how the soldiers received intelligence regarding Hussein’s hideout on a small farm. “We had some human intel that showed us exactly where it was at,” Holland stated.

“They had a big Styrofoam plug, you know, that they would put in there and then cover it with leaves and dirt, sand, and it had a pipe for air – we had noticed it when we cleared it. Just dug it away, pulled it up, and sand fell in. … And in goes a banger,” Holland said of the grenade that was thrown inside.

“We had lights on our guns, when you looked in it, you could tell – you could see bricks, you know, where they bricked it up,” he remembered. “We know it’s something. And the guys says he’s in there.”

After the unsuccessful attempt to get a frightened dog to enter the underground den, Holland said, “We start hearing somebody talk in Arabic, and the interpreter starts talking back. And it’s like, someone’s coming — the voice is getting closer, you can tell. The sound, it’s getting closer. … hands come out of the hole, and then a big bushy head of hair. ‘We grab him and jerk him out, and it’s like, ‘That’s him.”

After yanking Hussein out of the eight-foot-deep hole, Holland said, the soldiers saw Hussein had a gun, prompting a “Big Texan” to hit him in the mouth and knock him down. “We had to make sure that he couldn’t get to that gun,” Holland noted, adding that the “fully automatic Glock- 15” is now owned by former U.S. President George W. Bush.

“He just said he was the president of Iraq and that he’s ready to negotiate, and he said that in English. And we’re like, ‘That time’s passed, brother,’” Holland said.

“You could feel he was just an evil guy,’ Holland said of the Iraqi dictator, who murdered tens of thousands of Iraqis. “He had this presence about him that was very unnerving.”

American troops secretly reported finding thousands of chemical warheads, shells, and aviation bombs in Iraq, The New York Times reported in 2014. Many of the chemical munitions found contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin, The Times noted.

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