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Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003, 02:50 GMT
Humbled Saddam stares out from papers
Staring off the front page of every single one of Monday's British newspapers is the familiar face, albeit dirty and bearded, of a man whose image has stared from billboards and murals in Iraq for decades.

The Daily Express describes the pictures of the captured Saddam as "the mother of all mugshots".

Robert Fisk in the Independent compares Saddam's appearance to that of "a prisoner of ancient Rome, the barbarian at last cornered".

A number of the papers try to piece together what it was in Saddam's early life that helped him become a murderer and torturer of thousands.

The Express notes that Saddam for once was not a victim of his own miscalculations, instead falling victim to the aftermath of 11 September, an attack he probably had nothing to do with.

The Sun - 15 pages
Daily Mirror - 15 pages
Daily Mail - 12 pages
The Guardian - 9 pages
The Times - 8 pages
Daily Telegraph - 8 pages
The Independent - 7 pages
Daily Express - 7 pages
Daily Star - 5 pages
Financial Times - 3 pages
The Daily Mirror has the headline "Ace in the Hole", in reference to Saddam's status as the ace of spades in the US military's now infamous pack of cards featuring senior Baathists.

In the Mirror, Christopher Hitchens tries to conjure up a picture of the all-pervasive presence of Saddam in Iraq during his rule.

In its leader comment it describes him as "one of the most evil tyrants of the 20th century", but it stresses that the war was not launched to depose an evil man but because of the threat of WMD and the coalition is no closer to finding evidence of these.

The Sun uses as its headline the soon-to-be-infamous announcement by the Coalition Provisional Authority boss Paul Bremer: "Ladies and Gentleman... we got him."

Saddam's submission

The newspaper's editorial manages artfully to link the capture of Saddam and the collapse of the European summit on a new EU constitution.

A former head of Iraqi television is quoted in the Guardian, saying video footage of Saddam quietly submitting to American hands examining his mouth and checking his hair for lice would make him seem like a coward to Iraqis.

The Daily Star devotes a mere five pages to the capture of Saddam and as well as his capture, and the shaving, poking and prodding, he also has to put up with the indignity of being dwarfed on the front page by a giant picture of a scantily-clad Jordan.

"Hang Him", says the headline, although stressing that this is the demand of ordinary Iraqis, not the Daily Star editorial team.

The Daily Mail provides a detailed account of the events leading up to Saddam being dragged, blinking and bewildered out of his spider hole, appearing "tired and resigned", and reportedly offering no resistance.

Electoral boost

The Financial Times said Mr Bush will be expecting political capital from the capture of Saddam as he seeks re-election in 2004 in a time of economic uncertainty.

Saddam's apprehension will go some way towards ending jibes about the war in Iraq, with 200 US soldiers killed since Mr Bush landed in a jet on an aircraft carrier and declared major hostilities over.

It will also bolster his claim to be the only candidate capable of leading the war on terror.

The Times uses its front page for a huge photo of Saddam, accompanied by his sneering reaction to being introduced to four members of the Iraqi Governing Council.

He is said to have asked sarcastically: "Are you going to be the new rulers of Iraq?" In contrast, he remained polite to his American captors.

In the Daily Telegraph Saddam biographer Con Coughlin said the toppled leader, even at the moment of his greatest humiliation, would already be thinking up strategies to avoid the firing squad or hangman's noose.

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