December 22, 2005


They would take one of us away and he'd return in a sheet, dripping in blood: A brave Iraqi takes the stand and tells how seven of his brothers were tortured and killed 'on Saddam's orders' (Adrian Blomfield, 22/12/2005, Daily Telegraph)

It was the first time since he went on trial that Saddam Hussein seemed lost for words.

Gone were the histrionics and bluster of previous court appearances, when the former dictator upstaged everyone from judge to fellow defendants with his interruptions and grandstanding.

Instead the limelight was taken by a softly spoken witness who comported himself in every way Saddam has not since he took to the dock. Ali Hassan al-Haidari was dignified, erudite, compelling - and brave.

While the vast majority of other witnesses have so far chosen - understandably so - to testify behind a curtain, sometimes with their voices distorted, Mr Haidari stood just feet away from the once most feared man in Iraq.

Saddam seemed to shrink beside him. He sucked his glasses, and occasionally took notes. Much of the time he seemed to be doodling. It was as though he could not meet the eyes of his accuser.

Dressed almost identically to Saddam in a brown suit and a white shirt, Mr Haidari recalled the 1982 massacre at Dujail, where Saddam is accused of orchestrating the mass reprisals in retaliation for an alleged attempt on his life. Mr Haidari, who was only 14 at the time, told how he and all 43 members of his family were rounded up and taken to the Ba'ath party headquarters in Dujail.

"I saw my brother being tortured in front of my eyes," he said, looking straight at Saddam. "I was terrified. They would take one of us away and he would return in a sheet, dripping in blood."

Seven of his brothers were executed, he testified. Like so many Iraqis, he has no idea, he said, where they were buried.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2005 10:24 AM

When the Iraqis hang Saddam, one hopes it will be with a horsehair rope, gently employed to pull him up in the air, with none of this hasty drop-through-a-trapdoor foolishness.

Posted by: Axel Kassel at December 22, 2005 12:10 PM

Hard to believe that any reasonable person can look at America as the bad guy in Iraq after reading stories such as this. Of course, most of the people who look at America that way aren't reasonable.

Maybe we can't remove every screwball dictator in the world -- but dammit, when we do, don't give me some baloney about how it's illegitimate to go after Dictator A without also going after Dictator B. This guy was a bloodthirsty megalomaniac and anybody who says he and George W. Bush are two sides of the same coin needs to be run out of town on a rail.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 23, 2005 5:57 AM


You are of course correct.

I think the problem with all the moral equalizers is the they really don't understand the depth of the evil in a Saddam, a Stalin, a Mao, a Pol Pot, a Mugabe, a Mladic, a Khomeini, and all the rest - primarily because they cannot handle the confrontation. It would force them to make decisions about themselves and the world they live in. It would require moral courage.

And so they "equalize". That's why people think like Grog, KB, lonbud, Nancy Pelosi, Ralph Nader, Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, John Kerry, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, Sartre, Bertrand Russell, and all the rest. They are afraid. It is easier to attack the evil that they create in their own minds than to point out the horrors right in front of them. And inside them.

Eichmann was a little man, quiet and fastidious. A prissy twerp, perhaps, but he was more than that when he could hate Jews. Each of us has our own dark corners in our hearts. The left doesn't want to consider this, because it is too 'religious'.

And so they equate, because it means they don't have to do anything. I suppose the equivalent on the right would be those who sniff at the homeless or the addicted or the orphaned or the dying. Compassion is the great mantra of the left, but they need to check themselves before they lie about Bush, Reagan, and every other conservative.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 23, 2005 8:33 AM

Funny how we don't see Grog, or oldkayaker or Rick Perlstein or any of the other outlandishly named trolls commenting on this article.

Posted by: Bryan at December 23, 2005 2:10 PM


They supported the removal of Saddam if it could be done by space aliens, without a single loss of life or serious paper cut. They only oppose the way you have to remove genocidal tyrannts in reality--except those done successfully in the past by Democrat presidents....

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2005 3:16 PM

"They supported the removal of Saddam if it could be done by space aliens...."

You're almost there OJ. I think they feel pangs of conscience and shame subconciously because they've never had the guts to join in such an enterprize. The actions of those with the courage to do so force the sensitive "elites" to face that reality about themselves. It diminishes the shell of self esteem they've collectivety constructed by obstructing and demonizing "the men of the West." For them, "courage takes a village," or a flock, if you prefer. The joy of collectivism.

Posted by: Genecis at December 23, 2005 5:24 PM