Manassas Journal Messenger | Gory photos of Saddam’s sons spark debate

Reactions to the photos of what the Bush administration says are the bullet-riddled bodies of Saddam Hussein’s sons Odai and Qusai have been wide and varied in Prince William County.

Some residents are lauding the deaths and others doubt the authenticity of the photographs, released Thursday.

Odai and Qusai Hussein, both in their thirties, were killed during a four-hour fire fight with U.S. soldiers Tuesday morning in Mosul, a city in northern Iraq.

The brothers were superior in rank to everyone in Iraq except their father. The photos are grim; the Husseins are shown on their backs with thick beards; blood trickles off each of their foreheads. Neither are shown wearing shirts.

“Death to anybody is horror. I don’t wish death on anyone,” said Rafael Santy, a 41-year-old supply chain manager. “This happens to be an act of war. Death does happen, whether friend or foe.”

A 23-year-old Wal-Mart employee said the brothers’ death is a major step toward changing Iraq.

“It’s kind of disturbing but at the same time it’s going to be letting people know that these two aren’t going to be hurting the United States anymore,” Michael Sturdevant said.

“I do find it kind of disturbing,” Sturdevant said. “I don’t think they had to be released publicly.”

Other people disagreed. A 48-year-old man who wouldn’t identify himself said the photos needed to be released in Iraq. He felt the images were “graphic.”

“The Iraqi people are not going to believe it unless they see it,” he said. The man felt the photos would help bolster American credibility overseas.

But others felt U.S. and British forces had no place in Iraq. Stephen Heard, 30, said Bush never made the case to go to war and that negates the effects of Saddam and his sons being deposed.

“To run in the man’s house and tell him and his kids he has to move is ridiculous,” Heard said. “Even if the guy is a bad guy, it wasn’t warranted. As far as witnessing the photos, I’m not too sure that those are the guys anyway.”

Shanise Baldwin, 27, disagrees with the war’s premise and said she wished such graphic pictures had not been released.

Sandrah LaFrance, 45, believes the deaths will help to change ingrained anti-American attitudes overseas.

“Under these circumstances, it was necessary,” LaFrance said referring to the Iraqi people. “It’s going to take stuff like this to get them to know they’re free. No more.”

Others had more draconian solutions.

“I think they should have cut off the heads of Qusai and Odai and put them on stakes in downtown Baghdad,” said Bob Chapola, 59. “It’s kind of like a little bit of triumph. Now all we need is the other one — Saddam.”

The one word that summed up how the photos made him feel?

“Good,” Chapola said.

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065

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