July 5, 2004

"At the time these men seemed like giants."

John Burns has a beautifully written account in today's NYT of Dr. Muwaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's new national security adviser, who witnessed the arraignment of Saddam Hussein. Rabaie had not known that Hussein knew of his case--"he was seized from an operating room while still an intern in Baghdad in 1979, taken to a dungeon, tied up, and hung from the ceiling and rotated for hours"--but a prison guard told him that Hussein had said, "The man with the beard, was that Muwaffak al-Rubaie?" Rubaie describes what he was thinking as he watched the arraignment:
"You know, at the time these men seemed like giants, like monsters, but it turns out that they were basically just thugs. I sat there in court thinking, how could it be that men like this reduced a nation with a 5,000-year history of civilization to this? How did we allow it to happen?"

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