WASHINGTON – President Bush (search) keeps in his White House offices a trophy of one his high points in the Iraq war, the pistol that Saddam Hussein (search) held when soldiers pulled him from his underground hideaway.
Military specialists mounted the sidearm, and soldiers who helped in the deposed Iraqi president's capture presented it to the president, the White House said Sunday. The president keeps the gun in a small study adjoining the Oval Office (search).
"The president was proud of the performance and bravery of our armed forces and was honored to receive it on behalf of the troops involved in the operation," said White House spokesman Jim Morrell.
Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of 4th Infantry Division, said the Saddam had the loaded pistol on his lap but didn't move to use it against the Americans who surprised him in what the military described as a spider hole near his hometown, Tikrit, on Dec. 13.
Soldiers from Odierno's division conducted the raid that ended Saddam's seven months on the run.
Time magazine first reported the story in its edition on newsstands Monday.