Administration welcomes news of Saddam's sons
Bremer hails 'great day'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Declaring that their "shadow of hate" would no longer fall on Iraq, the Bush administration on Tuesday welcomed the news that two of Saddam Hussein's sons, key players in his regime, were killed.
In a written statement released by the White House, the administration described itself as "pleased" by Tuesday's developments, and said they point to a "better and more prosperous future" for Iraq.
Uday and Qusay Hussein, the statement said, were responsible for crimes against the Iraqi people.
"Over the period of many years, these two individuals were responsible for countless atrocities committed against the Iraqi people, and they can no longer cast a shadow of hate on Iraq," the statement said in part. (Full statement)
The two were killed by U.S. troops in the northern city of Mosul after a tipster betrayed their hideout, according to the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq. (Full story)
President Bush was told by his chief of staff Tuesday afternoon of the deaths and views the deaths as "an assurance to the Iraqi people that the regime is gone and will not be back," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters.
Bush administration officials said they believe the deaths of Saddam's sons could provide a psychological boost to both the Iraqi people and U.S. forces who remain in that country.
"It's a great day for the Iraqi people and a great day for the American military who once again showed their astounding professionalism in this operation," said L. Paul Bremer, U.S. administrator in Iraq. He spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill where he was meeting with lawmakers about reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
At the White House, administration sources said the deaths of the Hussein brothers could improve the morale of the Iraqi people, described as rattled by the prospect that Saddam -- who remains unaccounted for -- might return to power.
Before the deaths were announced, one administration official said confirmation that the two sons were killed would "brighten" spirits in an administration that has been accused of exaggerating the threat posed by the former Iraqi regime.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers also welcomed the news.
"Iraqis can celebrate the removal of yet another remnant of the Baathist regime that brutalized their long-suffering country," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said in a written statement.
Several Republican lawmakers said the raid in Mosul could prove to be a big break in the effort to curb attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, believed to be the work of Saddam sympathizers.
"I'm optimistic that this most recent action that we learned about this morning will clearly reveal that once again we have been able again to get the key people that are inspiring and financing and otherwise providing for this insurgency," said Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee.
After meeting with Bremer, Rep. Porter Goss, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that reconstruction efforts in Iraq would take time, despite the deaths of Saddam's sons.
"We've got to have some patience ... It's a tough job," Goss of Florida said.
Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the panel, said she was "very encouraged" by what Bremer had to say about efforts to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but she stressed that work needs to continue.
-- CNN White House Correspondents John King and Suzanne Malveaux, and Congressional Correspondent Jonathan Karl contributed to this report.