SADDAM'S LIFE IS A HARD CELL
By GERSH KUNTZMAN
http://www.newyorkpost.com/news/nationalnews/44340.htm (full article)
May 20, 2005 -- Now Saddam is no longer the tyrant who oppressed millions of
Iraqis and slaughtered thousands. He's an old man awaiting the Mother of All
Trials in a dingy cell, washing his own socks and sleeping in his coat.
The pictures capture a Saddam Hussein far removed from the man who once
owned 100 palaces, a huge yacht and a fleet of cars. This is the
postdownfall Saddam - a man of no wealth, no luxuries and underwear that
doesn't fit right.
Sources told The Sun that Saddam spends most of his time in this sparsely
furnished, 9-by-12-foot cell, which contains just a small desk, one red
plastic chair and a cot.
He mostly stares at the walls, reads the Koran or works on his
autobiography. Neither he nor the other high-profile prisoners make any
trouble, guards told the paper.
The vain Hussein is given a sole luxury: hair dye to keep his mane
"They're just old men now, and seem to have accepted their day is over," a
prison source told The Sun's defense editor, Tom Newton Dunn. "They're just
waiting out their fate. Most of them know that means the gallows."
Closed-circuit cameras monitor Saddam's every movement - even his bowel
movements, as the former Butcher of Baghdad isn't even afforded privacy when
he uses the toilet.
The photos offer the first glimpse of the former despot beyond a brief
court-appearance last July. He was captured by U.S. troops in December 2003.
The paper claims that it was told the name and location of the Iraqi jail
where the 68-year-old ex-dictator is being held, but the exact whereabouts
are being withheld. Prior reports have said he is being held near the
Baghdad airport that once bore his name.
Authorities have said that Saddam is being treated no worse - and, clearly,
no better - than other former Ba'athists behind bars.
His fellow prisoners include Ali Hassan al-Majid - aka "Chemical Ali" - who
killed 5,000 Kurds in gas attacks, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, known as
"Chemical Sally" because she was a top scientist in Iraq's
All are awaiting trial for genocide, torture and crimes against humanity.
On the plus side, Saddam's cell is fully air-conditioned, he sleeps with a
big, fluffy pillow, and is fed three fresh meals a day. Every two months or
so, he's visited by a team from the International Committee of the Red
Cross, which checks on his medical condition - and then refuses to comment
He can exercise in a 4,300-square-foot back yard while razor wire keeps out
would-be attackers. He tends a small garden in a nearby courtyard.
"It may look pretty basic from these [photos], but Saddam is pretty
comfortable in there," a soldier who has seen the photos told the newspaper.
"Hell, the man's got much more living space than most the GIs out here. You
should see the tent I have to share with 30 other guys."
The Sun said it received the pictures from a source in the U.S. military who
hoped the release of the pitiful pictures will deal a body blow to the
lingering Iraqi insurgency.
"Saddam is just an aging and humble old man now," the source said. "It's
over, guys. The evil days of Saddam's Ba'ath Party are never coming back -
and here's the proof." Saddam Hussein once ran a tyrannical dictatorship -
but now he's been reduced to washing his own socks. The former Butcher of
Baghdad sits in a dingy plastic chair in a simple button-down shirt as he
does his laundry by hand.
Most Iraqis don't know how Saddam can even sleep at night, but these photos
show that when he does get some shut-eye, he bundles up against the cold
like a street bum. He may appear harmless, but Saddam is monitored every
minute of the day and night, even when he sleeps and uses the bathroom.