U.S.-led coalition forces have taken into custody several former officials of Saddam Hussein’s regime. They include Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan, deputy head of tribal affairs and the only surviving son-in-law of Saddam Hussein. Another is Humam Abd al-Khaliq Abd al-Ghafar, the former Iraqi minister of higher education and scientific research. In addition, science adviser Lieutenant General Amer al-Saadi and the ousted president’s half brother Watban Ibrahim Hasan have been arrested. Hasan once served as Iraq’s interior minister. They and many others will be held to account for the suffering they inflicted on the Iraqi people.
Every day more Iraqis step forward to bear witness to the brutality of Saddam Hussein’s regime. One man, named Yousef, said he was tortured every day for three months in a Basra jail. He received electric shocks and blows from machetes. Yousef sometimes was confined for two days straight in a cell so small that he had to sleep while kneeling. After brutalizing him, the Iraqi prison officials would give him an hour to recuperate. Then they would start again.
Even Iraqi children were rounded up and tortured by the regime of Saddam Hussein. During their efforts to liberate Baghdad, U.S. marines helped free more than one-hundred children. President George W. Bush said they had been jailed for refusing to join the dictator’s Baath party youth organization:
“Malnourished and wearing rags, the children were overjoyed to see their parents and our liberating forces.”
President Bush said it is critical that countries such as Syria not become havens for war criminals or terrorists:
“The Syrian government needs to cooperate with the United States and our coalition partners and not harbor any Baathists, any military officials, any people who need to be held to account.”
Top Iraqi leaders will be investigated, and those responsible for the suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people must be held accountable.