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3/29/03 - ILLUSIONS SHREDDED IN IRAQ - 2003-03-31

Today, the world is learning even more about the brutal nature of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. But some learned the truth about Saddam Hussein and how most Iraqis feel about him even before the war began. In February, a group of peace activists traveled to Iraq with the intention of protesting military action against the Saddam Hussein regime. Now that the war has come, most of the protesters have returned home. But before they left Iraq, they saw with their own eyes how cruelly the Saddam Hussein regime oppresses the Iraqi people.

One of the activists who had second thoughts was Daniel Pepper, a twenty-three-year-old American. As he wrote in the London Telegraph newspaper on March 23rd, he began to realize how mistaken he had been when he began a conversation with a Baghdad taxi driver by saying, “Bush bad, war bad, Iraq good.” Mr. Pepper said the driver looked at him with an expression of disbelief. Then the Iraqi cab driver proceeded to tell Mr. Pepper about the massive human rights abuses perpetrated by the Saddam Hussein regime.

Activist Kenneth Joseph, an American clergyman, said that Iraqis told him sickening stories about the Saddam Hussein regime’s atrocities. They include reports of Iraqis being chewed up alive in a huge shredder designed for plastic products. As Ann Clwyd [clyde], a British member of parliament, wrote in the March 18th Times of London newspaper, Iraqi witnesses say that some of these gruesome murders have been personally supervised by Saddam Hussein’s son Qusay.

Faced with such a brutal regime, many Iraqis told the peace activists they were looking forward to military action by the United States-led coalition. As another Iraqi taxi driver told Daniel Pepper, “All Iraqi people want this war.” Asked if he feared being bombed himself, the Iraqi said, “Of course the Americans don’t want to bomb civilians. They want to bomb the government and Saddam’s palaces.”

That is precisely what the coalition forces are doing -- waging war on the Saddam Hussein tyranny but taking the utmost care to minimize civilian casualties. And the results are plain to see, as President George W. Bush said:

“Day by day, Saddam Hussein is losing his grip on Iraq. Day by day, the Iraqi people are closer to freedom.”

The day of reckoning for the Saddam Hussein regime is drawing near.