"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
One former prisoner he talked to, Anwar Abdul Razak, remembers when a surgeon kissed him on each cheek, said he was sorry and cut his ears off. Razak, then 21 years old, had been swept up during one of Saddam Hussein’s periodic crackdowns on deserters from the Army. Razak says he was innocently on leave at the time, but no matter; he had been seized by some Baath Party members who earned bounties for catching Army deserters. At Basra Hospital, Razak’s ears were sliced off without painkillers. He said he was thrown into jail with 750 men, all with bloody stumps where their ears had been. “They called us Abu [Arabic for father] Earless,” recalls Razak, whose fiancee left him because of his disfigurement.
No one is sure how many men were mutilated during that particular spasm of terror, but from May 17 to 19, 1994, all the available surgeons worked shifts at all of Basra’s major hospitals, lopping off ears. (One doctor who refused was shot.) Today, Dr. Jinan al-Sabagh, an administrator at Basra Teaching Hospital, insists that the victims numbered only “70 or 80,” but he’d prefer not to talk about it. He says the ear-chopping stopped before his own surgery rotation came up. “I want to forget about all this. I vowed I would never do it. I said I am a surgeon, not a butcher,” he told NEWSWEEK. He may be forced to remember. At Baath Party headquarters in Basra, once secret documents are floating around the trashed courtyard. They include receipts of sums paid to party thugs who rounded up Army deserters for a fee.
America wants to bring liberty and democracy to Iraq. But first the Iraqis will have to come to terms with the legacy of fear Saddam created, and regain the humanity that was frightened and beaten out of them by three decades of grotesque misrule.More