May 14, 2004

Abu Ghraib Videotapes We've Yet to See

DANIEL HENNINGER reports on unseen videos out of the Iraq Prison in: OpinionJournal - Wonder Land

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.

OKAY, TELL ME AGAIN the ways in which Americans are just the same as the regime they destroyed. Tell me again all the ways in which we are just as evil and that the Saddam torture chambers have reopened under new management but with the same old ways.

But wait a moment. The sequel to this story is not the same as we would have had in Iraq if we had not gone to war. Instead the sequel reads:

Last year, after we liberated Iraq, a veteran TV news producer named Don North--who has worked for major U.S. broadcasters--was in Baghdad with the U.S. to restore TV service. Iraqi contacts there brought him a tape of the men's amputations. Mr. North says dismemberment was common in Saddam's Iraq and that if one walks down a crowded Baghdad street one may see a half-dozen people missing an ear, eye, limb or tongue. He decided to seek out the men whose stubbed arms represented the civilized world's lowest act--the perversion of medicine.

He found seven. Mr. North determined to make a documentary of their story and get medical help for them. How he found that help, if one may still use this phrase, is an all-American story.

An oil engineer from Houston, named Roger Brown, overheard Mr. North's tale in a Baghdad café. He suggested Don North get in touch with a famed Houston TV newsman named Marvin Zindler. Mr. Zindler put him in touch with Dr. Joe Agris, a Houston reconstructive surgeon, who has worked in postwar Vietnam and Nicaragua repairing children.

Mr. North sent Dr. Agris a copy of the videotape of the surgical atrocities, and Dr. Agris said: Send me the men; I will fix them.

How this was done is something that will restore you after the last week of the news. Read it.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 14, 2004 11:58 AM
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