Abu Ghraib – 1995
WSJ’s Daniel Henninger offers some perspective in his piece, Want a Different Abu Ghraib Story? Try This One.
As perfect justice, the story in fact begins in Abu Ghraib prison, in 1995. With Iraq’s economy in a tailspin, Saddam arrested nine Iraqi businessmen to scapegoat them as dollar traders. They got a 30-minute “trial,” and were sentenced, after a year’s imprisonment, to have their right hands surgically cut off at Abu Ghraib prison.
The amputations were performed, over two days, by a Baghdad anesthesiologist, a surgeon and medical staff. We know this because Saddam had a videotape made of each procedure. He had the hands brought to him in formalin and then returned to Abu Ghraib. Oh, one more thing: The surgeon carved an X of shame into the forehead of each man. And the authorities charged the men $50.
A gruesome story, to be sure. It doesn’t, of course, excuse the abuses committed by a few. It is, however, a pretty useful reminder of what our soldiers in Iraq have accomplished.