It was an incredible day, an historic day, a day for freedom. Saddam
was captured. The streets were filled with jubilant Iraqis. But this
is not a story for me to tell, for I am a guest in this country. Better
to have an Iraqi tell it in his own words.
The only way the US army can operate here in Iraq is with the help of our
Iraqi interpreters. This is the story of one of them. For security
purposes, I cannot tell you even his first name or show you his picture.
He is incredibly brave. He literally risks his life every single day that
he works for us. I may not agree with everything he says, but this is his
story, not mine. These are his own words...
No matter where the U.S. armed forces go, interpreters always
play a crucial role.
Under the old regime, I was a teacher of English and English Literature
for three to four dollars a month. Now I earn $15.00 a day as an interpreter.
I was also a conscription soldier. There was one small loaf of bread
for two soldiers for breakfast, if you were lucky. There was no lunch
or dinner provided. You had to bring food from home or buy it from
shops. It was a miserable life. The army did not take care of its
The American army treats its soldiers very well. They give food, equipment,
a place to live and medical insurance for their soldiers. I saw that
the air conditioners were given to the enlisted soldiers first and
then the officers got them. Lt. Col. McGrew asked me if this would
have happened in the old Iraqi army. I just laughed.
I have seen recordings of how the Fedayeen were trained. Small children
would be executed in front of them to harden their hearts. Dogs would
be set on old people and criminals with the same purpose. Saddam paid
them good money, which is why they served Saddam.
If they took money from Saddam Hussein, believe me, they are your
enemy now. An entire generation has been raised under Saddam. He washed
the peoples' minds. Just like Osama Bin Laden, he had his special
group. People are still worried about Saddam and that he will come
back. He is considered a nightmare. People are afraid that there will
be civil war in Iraq if Saddam comes back.
We study history and see what happened to South Vietnam when the USA
left. South Vietnam was left alone and North Vietnam came to kill
Cuba is so close to you, yet nobody can do anything for Cuba, therefore
some Iraqis don't trust the USA. Why the USA not get rid of Castro?
Why come over so many oceans to Iraq when Cuba is so close?
Other dictators are worried now because Iraq is free. There is no
democracy in the Middle East. Not in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or Egypt.
If America does democracy in Iraq and gives us the freedom and make
life better, then the neighboring countries will ask America to come
and give democracy to them. That is what the Presidents of Arab countries
are afraid of.
If Saddam comes back or USA leaves too soon, I will be killed, without
Three interpreters were recently killed. More have been wounded. I
cannot walk in the market free. I have to be very careful.
The only people who are against the Americans now are those who were
rich before. Now they know that they can't sit at home and get wealthy.
They will have to work and they don't like it. They lost the power
and authority. It is very dangerous.
How are the Americans doing? Good, but it could be better. In Iraq
we say, "One hand cannot clap." You need to work with the Iraqis more.
We are looking for heavy industrial projects, basic projects for us
to grow strong. Our country is like a treasure. We have the two rivers,
agriculture, gas and oil. We need to be an industrial country. We
need to be a good country.
I just learned yesterday that Saddam is captured. Lt. Col. McGrew
has asked me what the Iraqis think of this.
came home to my town yesterday and I knew something had happened.
There was so much celebration. When I got to my house, my family said,
"You will not believe it! USA soldiers captured Saddam Hussein!" I
can't believe it. Mr. Bremer said, "We captured him." I looked on
the TV at him getting medical tests. I can't believe it! This is Saddam
There was a big celebration because these people suffer so long under
him. People were in the streets laughing and celebrating. This was
a message for those who follow Saddam Hussein-You will end up like
this-that your future is like this son of a b----.
I am sad for us because a coward ruled our country for 35 years. He
did not even have enough courage to kill himself. Now he will face
the justice he prevented us from getting all these years.
My people want Saddam Hussein to be tried here by our people with
an Iraqi judge. All the people want to see his defense and what he
will say about all the claims, the crimes against humanity, the use
of chemical weapons in the north and the south of Iraq.
He was a war criminal in Iran and Kuwait. He took Kuwaiti hostages
and killed them. He imprisoned hundreds from my village and killed
some of them. He killed more Iraqis than anyone else.
The future is now in our hands. My people are afraid of civil war.
We don't want the USA to leave us alone because another dictator could
come. We want, by ourselves, to chose our president by election. I
want to feel as if we have rights, and, more importantly, duties of
What would I say to the families of those US soldiers who have died?
I am embarrassed because they are killed by my people. God bless them.
My family prays to God to protect USA soldiers.
(He paused then, obviously emotional). We write down on a piece of
paper the names of the US soldiers that we want God to protect. We
place them in the Koran and ask God to help and protect them.
What would I say to the American people? You have to be proud of your
sons. You have to be proud of your army. They are fighters for freedom.