Dispatch: Inside The Hunt For Saddam

The U.S. thinks Iraq's ex-leader is alive and inspiring resistance. TIME goes along on a mission to track him down

As the five-ton truck rattles to a stop on a dirt road just before dawn, Lieut. Jason Lojka snaps his squad to attention. "Dirty!" he barks to the men loaded in the back of the vehicle. "Boots!" they reply. Again. "Dirty!" "Boots!" The infantrymen barrel out of the truck toward a two-story home perched on the edge of a sandy bluff overlooking the Tigris, some 10 miles north of the city of Tikrit. They reach the compound's metal gate, M-16s locked and loaded. A translator bangs on the door. When an old woman opens up, the troops sweep through the garden...

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