New York - May
16, 2004 - On a brief stopover on the way back to Baghdad
the story of the terrible treatment of Iraqi Prisoners in
Abu Ghraib prison broke. Having been by there many times
and having a family member who was actually forced to work
their during the time of Sadaam Hussein I look at it from
a very different perspective.
While looking at the pictures and reading
the descriptions of the unacceptable way the Iraqi
prisoners were treated something began to feel very
As a wave of condemnation began to rise,
proper of course, for those of us who were in Iraq during
the time of Sadaam and have been throughout the Middle
East it all began to ring very hollow.
While we must rightly condemn by all means
possible and prosecute each one who violated the rights of
the Iraqis put in their charge, it seems so very strange
that the loud cries of outrage ring out so strong and true
when the crime is on the side of the United States, but
those same voices were completely silent for 35 years
during the terror that was Sadaam Hussein and to this day
are silent on the `thug rulers` throught the Middle East
and throughout the world who must have all had a good
laugh as they looked at the pictures and read the
descriptions of the terrible abuse of the Prisoners under
Sadaam himself, must have smiled at the
`Childs play` in comparison to what he did on a daily
basis and what occurs throughout the region even as I
The UN itself, currently being considered
for a role in the future of Iraq according to the Iraqis
who despise it so intently never lifted a finger of
opposition to Sadaam and his daily terror.
Ask anyone living in countries in the
region what happens if you are picked up by the `Amin` or
secret police! They all live in holy fear of crossing the
secret police . . . today! This is the reason they never
speak put and appear to be so docile and anti-American.
Ask the Iraqis why they do not rise to the
challenge given them by their liberation by America! It is
because they are afraid, and rightly so that after the US
hands over power on June 30th the `thugs` will be back and
will as they always do `take care of` all who spoke the
I was in Iraq during the time of Sadaam
Hussein and can testify to the sheer terror of my family
members at the horror of Sadaam Hussein.
I remember the way the whole house would
stiffen at an unexpected telephone call, an unexpected
visitor or anything out of the ordinary.
Ask any Iraqi what happened on a daily
basis with Sadaam Hussein and his two sons. The story in
Iraq to this day is of the absolute evil they were. They
were said to end each day with a call to the Prison - the
same prison that the current outrage has happened - to ask
for a couple prisoners to be sent over.
Sadaam, Uday and Qusay his two sons were
said to have ended the day by torturing one or more
prisoners while they drank and laughed.
Many were the stories of those who simply
disappeared never to come back again. Travel throught Iraq
and look on the walls of just about every family for the
telltale black and white pictures of one or more family
members who died at the hands of Sadaam Hussein or in one
of his `stupid` wars as they call them.
My own cousin, a wonderful, sweet Assyrian
Christian woman endured the unspeakable when she was sent
to Prison to be abused not once or twice but for 15 years
for the simple crime of refusing to sleep with one of
Another relative to this day with huge
scars on his face and body where he was tortured over and
over and over during the many years of imprisonment for
simply saying he was an Assyrian and a Christian.
While we must condemn in the strongest
terms the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US Troops, at the
same time we must bring the discussion back to reality - a
reality where as terrible as it is the action by US Troops
it is Childs play in relationship to what occurred every
single day under the terror regieme of Sadaam Hussein and
occurs right now in `thug regimes` throughout the Middle
East - the same people in many cases who are so loudly and
vociferously attacking the crimes by US troops.
With all its faults, the US has the
honesty to admit she is wrong and as Condoleezza Rice did
to apologize, say Sorry and do all it can to make sure it
doesn’t happen again.
While they rally against the unacceptable
actions of the US troops, those in the middle east quietly
and always in private admire a system where such misdeeds
actually see the light of day, are apologized for and
The silent majority while outwardly in the
`politically correct` atmosphere in nearly every Middle
East country will demonstrate against the abuse, quietly
they express astonishment because they all know that the
`thug rulers` do many times more horrible things to their
fellow citizens on a daily basis.
The question to ask is `When will those in
other Middle Eastern nations who so loudly cry out against
the American abuse be able to do the same for abuse in
their own country?`
The `thug rulers` of the Middle East and
the poor, longsuffering people under their unfortunate
rule are closely watching what happens in Iraq.
Will the US stand up against `thug rule`
or will she cave in, cut and run.
As one who has been there, while so
intimidated and in fear that they will never publicly
acknowledge it, every Iraqi with the exception of the 20%
who worked for Sadaam in some form or another hopes and
prays that the US will cancel the June 30th handover and
keep charge of the government until a secular, normal
constitution can be written, free and fair elections held
and a `normal` government in place.
The `thugs` cry out for an American
departure and Islamic rule for one very simply reason -
they want to take turns with Sadaam Hussein and continue
his rule of terror themselves.
While the `thugs` will cry foul at a
cancellation of the June 30 handover until a normal
government can be in place, the `silent majority` of
Iraqis will welcome it with relief and with the assurance
of American control will slowly but surely begin to speak
out and express what they really feel.
`June is too soon` is the private rallying
cry of the silent majority of Iraqis. Instead of caving in
as they did in Fallujah, the US should make it clear that
the future of Iraq and the Middle East is one in which
government, as it has shown by example is accountable to
its citizens and should use the terrible occurrence at Abu
Ghalid prison to show how a free and open society based on
the rule of law operates.
Can good come out of the terrible things
done against Iraqi prisoners? You bet! As one Iraqi told
me the other day - we need the Americans to stay until we
can have `normal government` again! We cannot have one
group of thugs replace another one!`
Will his prayer be answered? The
occurrences at Abu Ghalid Prison and the response of the
American People and its government have served as an
example of how a free society works and done more to
advance the cause o liberty than a hundred good deeds.
It is precisely how a free society handles
the tragic that shows its greatness!