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Saddam's Aftermath Lives On

Alitabatabaeyhat72x723Ali Tabatabaey -- I really wanted this post to be more positive and fun to make up for the past couple of posts. Yet, after much thought I couldn’t resist letting you in on an experience that moved me deeply.

Last Monday while on shift, I heard one of the nurses talk about a new patient down in internal medicine, who had everyone … I really can’t find the right word, maybe thinking, maybe angry, maybe frustrated, or maybe simply heartbroken!

He was a casualty of the Iran-Iraq war of the 80s. But he wasn't just any old casualty -- he wasn't missing an arm or leg, nor was he paralyzed. He just couldn’t breathe! He was a chemical warfare veteran, exposed to mustard gas back in 1987. Twenty years on, he is still suffering.

His notorious coughs bring the whole ward to a stand still. As his metallic coughs echo through the ward, no other patient dares to complain of pain. Even worse is when these coughs mix with his humble pleas for help. Even the nurses fear to approach him, because help is not an option. Not even giant doses of hydrocortisone can counter the never-ending inflammation of the mustard gas, which burns his airways all the way down with every breath.

At the time, Saddam’s execution was the talk of the day, and I wanted to go down and ask him how he felt about the news. It would have made a great post, right? But to this moment, I haven’t found the courage. What do I expect as an answer?! He is suffering, and will suffer for the rest of his life to pay for the cruel ambitions of a feared dictator. I’ve heard others like him comment about Saddam: "His death was too easy. He should have suffered like all the others for whom he caused life-long suffering."

Like you, I never met Saddam or felt the product of his actions personally, but unlike you, I’ve seen others feel it, and it’s very ugly. I don’t preach capital punishment, and even in this case I don’t see any good coming out of it. But I get furious when I read some people turning Saddam into a hero after his execution. Let’s not forget, he caused the death of 300,000 Iranians, many Iraqis, and many Kuwaitis, not to mention the injured veterans and the families destroyed. He personally ordered the rape, execution and torture of many civilians throughout his rule. If he had been given the chance, he would have done so again without a second thought. I accept that the death of a man is something to mourn, but Saddam was a monster, a puppet monster maybe, but a monster nonetheless. Never ever doubt that. I’m sure victims won’t.

January 7, 2007 | Permalink


Now this is a courageous post indeed, Ali my friend. For all the politicking surrounding Saddam's death, people sometimes forget that he was responsible for so many deaths. That alone is justification enough for his execution. Personally I sympathise with the old man in your story, but for fear of being assassinated or beaten up I'm not touching that subject with a ten-foot pole.

Happy New Year to you.

Posted by: The Angry Medic | Jan 7, 2007 10:33:05 AM

Thank-you for your thought provoking blog. It is easy for people to make comments until they have lived through the situation themselves.

Posted by: saraiderin | Jan 9, 2007 4:53:44 PM

all i can say that this is a happy ending 4 sadam's horror story, im a kuwaiti and i know whats the meaning of death, i was little but my dad and uncles weren't. hopefully people will understand the way we feel. thank god he is gone 4 ever. and the world is a better place now to live.

Posted by: mona | Jan 10, 2007 4:25:48 PM

hi doc ali.even at saddams' time of execution there is no uttering of forgiveness from him.he remained to be a rock,not even a face of being humbled.therefore he equally deserve his fate.love begets love,and vice versa.we only pass this way but once ," so if there be any goodness we can do or kindness we can give ,let us do it now, for we will only pass this way but once"as the saying goes.
more power.

Posted by: ava ortega,PHL.uph-djgtmedical university | Jan 10, 2007 6:06:36 PM

Saddam was a cruel and relentless dictator who killed thousands - most times with cruel tactics like in Halapcha (sp?) but lets not forget the many thousands that the Iranian government killed during and after the revolution and those they sent to their deaths in the Iran-Iraq war. There are dictators on both sides of the fence and we in the medical field should strive together to fix ALL injustices in the world, not just those that affect our "own" people. Nice post :)

Posted by: Newcastle Boy | Jan 10, 2007 8:41:23 PM

Don't forget that Saddam was supported by the US and was given technology by the US to fight the Iranians. He was a monster but there are many more monsters that are better at hiding their actions.

Posted by: Alex | Jan 10, 2007 10:45:09 PM

Don't forget his execution was performed before the month period passed and it coincided with Eid al Adha day. Iraqis now wish that Saddam was still the ruler of Iraq because he used to kill for reasons which could be avoided but now Iraqis are killed for no known reasons.

Posted by: Saddam | Jan 11, 2007 4:05:02 PM

Hello dear friend....
it is too hard when we see people injured in the war....in one moment they become unable to live normally....
when i see them in hospital, they remember me memorials of horrible war days....
thank you for this beautiful view and nice writing....this words show your thinking cap that is really manly and admirable.

Posted by: alireza najafian | Jan 12, 2007 12:07:39 AM

sadam does not deserved that kind of death...that execution was a very easy way out. he should have suffered until his last breath!!!!!

Posted by: human | Jan 13, 2007 10:13:17 PM

dear ali
thanx for writing that.but dont expect europian or amerikan understand it.they no nothing a bout middle east ,our country or the war.they just beleive what their impartial governers or their televisin says.thanx again for writing that note.

Posted by: ghazal | Jan 15, 2007 6:47:07 AM

no man should be muredered...
no man shoud be a murederer...
death is on God's hand...
if Saddam was hanged because of killing thousands of people...then Bush and Blair should be hanged too...

Posted by: asian_med_student | Jan 15, 2007 9:44:01 PM

you are right.Saddam was a puppet monster. we must not forget the united state @ u.k are the main agents of terror and violence in the word.so their politics of them must be hanged too.

Posted by: kuroush bassami | Jan 17, 2007 2:12:07 AM

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