Now that Iraq has been liberated, the world is learning more about the horrors of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. Mass graves containing thousands of bodies are being uncovered throughout the country.
According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, at least two-hundred-ninety thousand people went missing during the Saddam Hussein years. They were presumably killed by his regime. In the words of Ambassador Paul Bremer, director of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, the extraordinary brutality of Saddam Hussein justified his removal:
"There is no question that this was a regime that deserved to be changed and I'm glad we changed it. The mass graves certainly bring home in a way that is very dramatic how truly bad this regime was." About one-hundred kilometers south of Baghdad is the Mahawil killing field, a mass grave containing as many as fourteen-thousand bodies. U.S. Marines are helping Iraqi relief workers exhume the bodies. Captain David Romley told the Voice of America that Mahawil is now the site of a criminal investigation:
"We are photographing, we are videotaping, we are interviewing people to find out what the circumstances were about this site with the intent of providing that information to the Iraqi people and the judicial system."
Among the grieving Iraqis at Mahawil was Nahada Jabaar Abed Muain. She told V-O-A that she came to find her brothers, who disappeared twelve years ago:
"What can I say? They took my two brothers, though they had done nothing wrong. They just went to bring us water from a stream. But Haider and Ali never came back."
So many Iraqis during Saddam Hussein's reign of terror never came back. That is why the U.S.-led coalition will work with the Iraqi people to see to it that those who committed these horrible atrocities are found and brought to justice.