Wow. The New York Times‘ John F. Burns is just awesome.
His story about the capture of Saddam Hussein is the best piece I’ve read on the subject so far, in part because he sets the scene so well. Check this out:
The single-story farmhouse made of concrete blocks is edged by a courtyard and encircled by a fence of tree branches and palm fronds. Branches on orange trees hung low with fruit. Chickens and a single cow were cooped up in the yard, and dates and sausage were strung outside, apparently to cure.
And these closing grafs are incredible:
Mr. Hussein’s capture culminated a search over the last nine days that involved several raids in the Tikrit area. The target area was just over a mile long and a half mile wide. The farmhouse where Mr. Hussein was found is nestled along the reed banks of the Tigris River. As journalists flew in today by helicopter over the flatlands and banks, farmers and their children waved from the ground.
Military officials said two men at the farmhouse were also taken into custody, but they were not immediately identified.
The interior of the farmhouse was spare, with two beds. Possessions that the American military believed were Mr. Hussein’s were strewn about, including Arabic poetry books, new sandals, shoes, socks and unopened boxer shorts and T-shirts.
Over the door to the hut were the words, in Arabic, “Praise be to God, the most Merciful.”