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Saddam the Gardener

Posted on Jan 1, 2007

Saddam Hussein’s American nurse, in an interview with his hometown paper, revealed what life was like for the former dictator during his last years. He would save scraps from his meals for birds, tend to a patch of weeds and once asked why the U.S. had invaded, saying: “The laws in Iraq were fair and the weapons inspectors didn’t find anything.”


[Master Sgt. Robert] Ellis, from St. Louis, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Saddam Hussein was held in a six-foot by eight-foot cell with a cot, table, two plastic chairs and two wash basins.

When he was allowed to go outside, Saddam Hussein saved bread scraps from his meals to feed to the birds, Sgt. Ellis said.

The former leader also watered a patch of weeds.

“He said he was a farmer when he was young and he never forgot where he came from,” Sgt. Ellis said.

He said Saddam Hussein never gave him trouble and complained little.

“He had very good coping skills,” Sgt. Ellis said.

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By fred dodsworth, January 2, 2007 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
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This is not about Saddam, who was clearly a piece of [expletive deleted]. This is about us.
Are we honorable, civilized people who believe in the rule of law, in civilized response to horrific crimes?
Are we barbarians or are we reasonably held to a higher standard?
If we want to be moral examples for the world, if we want to be leaders, we must act like leaders, we must uphold higher standards. No civilized person can possibly justify the circumstances surrounding Saddam’s death.
No reasonable American, no honor-bound, law-abiding person of integrity can possibly justify, excuse or rationalize the barbaric treatment Saddam recieved on the gallows.
While the gutless cowards in the White House, the excuse-giving, draft-dodging, war-profiteers in the White House now blame the Iraqi for what happened, you and I know the truth and for that I am ashamed.
This beautiful country that I love has shown it’s worst side to the world. No wonder the nuclear arms race is on again.
If I were the leader of a foreign country I’d be doing everything in my power to assure my people that they were safe from American violence.

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By IT Brown, January 2, 2007 at 7:42 am Link to this comment
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Why does everyone forget his crimes? Even the worst of killers had a good side. He murdered thousands and tortured more. He said very clearly he was going to attack us with WMD’s. He even shipped his technology to Syria and other countries. He paid suicide bombers families to kill people in coffee shops, stores, and buses. If my family suffered from this person I too would convict him to death. This isn’t about your political point of view - this is punishment for crimes committed. If his good side was so good he wouldn’t have don’t the things he did.

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By BudThomas, January 2, 2007 at 5:25 am Link to this comment
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In response to Edward WashShips comment posted below….

What the HELL are you smoking? Why don’t YOU just pack your bags and move to Iraq and kiss Saddams grave? You’re really ignorant when it comes to the news and history.

I wish that everyone on this site was not allowed to post a comment unless they passed a basic 2nd grade history course AND had an IQ of at least 25. Unfortunately, this would mean that Edward WashedShips would be excluded from any further postings on the site.

You CAN’T be for real - what a stupid, ignorant, Anti-American comment to make.

Do us ALL a favor and LEAVE the country!!

Bud from Tucson

“Comment #44795 by Edward Shipwash on 1/01 at 10:14 am

Saddam never harmed one American. He was a firm but fair leader and was innocent of having the weapons used to rationalized the war. He did not deserve to be murdered along with his children and over 600,000 others in a political war. He is just one in the hundreds of thousands of people who died as the result of a lying coward known as George Bush.

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By Wade, January 2, 2007 at 4:39 am Link to this comment
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Saddam was a Iraqi leader who did things he thought best for his country, just as Bush did things he thought best for our country.  I just don’t believe that it is worth more than 3000 Ameican lives, tens of thousands of wounded soldiers and maybe more than a trillion of dollars to throw him off power.  Just look at the situation we have created… what the mess!

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By Leocon, January 1, 2007 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment
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No one is perfect and everyone has good and evil in them. GW Bush has evil and good in him just as Saddam did. The difference is that GW Bush and his coherts are the ones who, through their blinded arrogance, are full of hypocrisy and self-righteousness—pretending to be so good and truthful—but to them is the greater damnation!
Saddam was a man, a human being, and if you cannot find the least bit of love in your heart for this man, than why should you expect anyone to have any love for you? You think you are better and filled with more morals? Well what are you doing about the millions of innocent people dying of hunger and disease all over the 3rd world? While you sit there comfortably damning others to hell, what the hell are YOU doing to make this world a better place???

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By Quy Tran, January 1, 2007 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment
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Weapons din’t find anything but Bush & his Co. found your death. They suddenly became your fate’s sole agent.

Sorry Mr. President. Just rest in peace and forget everything, even hatred and love !

Your grave could be milestone for their graves also.

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By Brad Morin, January 1, 2007 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment
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Some people can tolerate nothing more than a one dimensional view of others, insisting that Sadam should only be talked about in the most condeming terms. I appreciate hearing about another side to Sadam, even as I condem him for the horrors he perpetuated. Having spent most of my life guilty of one dimensional thinking, I welcome a story that shakes me from that perch, however temporary that may be.

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By Chaseme, January 1, 2007 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
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Fred, you nailed it. The bush administration wanted us to see this brutal dictator who murdered and killed the boys and men who attempted to assassinate him. But what became clear were the similarities between bush and Saddam with their vindictive and unforgiving fiendish habits.

On one hand, there was a dictator who maintained order in his country by killing a few people…not good, but it worked to maintain stability. On the other hand, there is a dictator who maintains chaos in his country by killing a few thousand people (WTC) as an excuse to kill the dictator who “tried to kill my deddy” and maintain instability…not good (period).

Now, the entire planet seems to be taking a page from the plant-the-bomb-create-chaos bush tactic. In Thailand, Thaksin and his supporters are blamed for the New Year Eve and New Year’s Day bombings. Remember, Thaksin and bush are very close friends.

How much chaos will these power hungry “babies” create before someone comes along to restore order?

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By Paul, January 1, 2007 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
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A Rush to Judgment and Rush to Punishment is still Murder and Murder is still Murder. Just goes to prove how freaked out Bush, et al., all were and are and how they didn’t want Saddham alive, to be able to: “tell all”. Only problem is, he’s now more powerful than he ever was when he was alive and he has now gone wayyyyy… beyond the level of mere “martyr”: to a: “God” ~ ~ in the eyes of most of the Iraqi’s and the rest of the world. Saddam’s stronger (so-called) dead than he ever was alive and that’s exactly why the Jew’s didn’t let anyone know where they buried Moses. Because if they did the idiot’s would have clebrated Moses as a God.

Boy ! Bush and all the boy’s really blew it ! ; I sure wouldn’t want their Karma. But, they never were that smart anyway, because everybody knows what Sun Tzu said about: “No war had ever been fought before it was already won.” And obviously, “Saddham Won ! “. Won the heart’s and mind’s of all the people worldwide.

It was that bonerrooo buckerooo primitive lynching that really swayed world opinion about how insecure and freaked out Bush & Co. was/is and now everynight when Bush goes to sleep there’s Saddaaam tormenting him in his nightmares.

Poor baby. The rest of the world is working on how to learn to “forgive and forget” and learning and practising the “Golden Rule” ~ ~ but there are still (obviously) a few spirtual laggards that will all have their soul’s crystalized very soon. Better them than us ;

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By Bud Thomas, January 1, 2007 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Saving BREAD CRUMBS for the birds is a sign of ‘caring, consideration and loving’???

WHAT the HELL is wrong with this story? As far as I’m concerned, the Nurse that’s in LOVE with Saddam should be in bed with him as well - in hell! What the FCK? I don’t care WHO this Nurse is, but maybe he was sleeping during the past 20 years?

Bud from Tucson,

PS Was this the same nurse that loved Richard Ramirez?

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By TruthSeeker, January 1, 2007 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment
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Bravo, VitalCenter, well done!

I’m ordering my tickets now. This show is sure to be the toast of old NY.

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By Moe Hare, January 1, 2007 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That shrub in the White House could use a gardener; he’s looking like an old dead plant or maybe just a rotten vegetable.

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By me, January 1, 2007 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
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fred dodsworth is correct.

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By anthropologist, January 1, 2007 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
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The fact that Saddam was hung for killing people for political reasons is justice.  However, the fact that George Bush and Company also killed many thousands of innocent people for political reasons, and won’t be hung, that’s injustice.

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By Fredrick Bernanke, January 1, 2007 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment
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I wrote an article several weeks ago that the folks at were kind enough to publish. [To read it, go to and click on Iraq Study Group on the left hand column.]

The article, written in response to the very much “inside the box” thinking of the ISG, suggested that Saddam—monster that he was—nevertheless WAS Iraq for decades; and possessed knowledge thereof far beyond the members of the ISG.

He was in our control. Why not try using him as an intelligence asset while we had him? In such an incredibly nuanced crisis as the Iraq War has become, should any stone be left unturned?

The complete article in no way argues that Saddam be returned to power; it categorically states that he can never be a free man again. The article makes clear there was nothing “nice” about him. But he sure was a treasure-trove of information regarding Iraq, a treasure-trove the ISG certainly didn’t have at its disposal.

But was hanging him and tossing his body into a pick-up truck the best use we could have made of him?

The article is at:, click on Iraq Study Group on left column.

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By Jon, January 1, 2007 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s difficult examining this issue objectively when so many people have already made up their mind about Hussein.  If we take a step back, it appears he was tried and hung for these deaths which is definitely deserved.  At the same time, these Kurds had attacked his ruling government, and they were backed with arms and logistical support from the US (they were slaughtered after we abandoned their cause).  Take a moment and think about what would happen if a cult of individuals here in the US attacked the White House…  It would be considered terrorism at least.  Like in the case of the Branch Dividians in Waco, all that was needed was a sufficient stockpile of weapons to incite mass murder from the US government.  So, I’m of the opinion that Saddam’s execution was conveniently rushed though by the US in a war now known the world over as illegitamate and wrong.  How many innocent deaths have been taken in Iraq - women and children included?  I think in any case Hussein or Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney…  it is wrong, and I can’t wait to hang them as well.

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By Lol at the rationiality, January 1, 2007 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I laugh at all those who point out Sadam killed/murder etc X many people. But you should realize since the invasion almost a MILLION iraq’s and various others have been tortured, killed etc. The majority of them being killed on Bush’s orders.

I can see the same people who justified WMD’s now justifying the hanging of this man, who was never tried fairly.

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By San Diego Resident, January 1, 2007 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When will our dictator, George W. Bush be tried for war crimes?  Why wasn’t he hung along side of Saddam?

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By Shawn, January 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How repulsive can you be.  I dictator that murdered hundreds of thousands in his own country!  Now you want to show he has a soft side.  How ridiculous!  What else was he going to do?  If he could’ve murdered you and everyone else and made an escape HE WOULD HAVE!  MORON!

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By Trinity, January 1, 2007 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why don’t we try a little bit harder to convey the sensitivity and caring of a brutal mass murderer who never gave any of his victims one ounce of mercy

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By John, January 1, 2007 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did he water the mass graves before his regime was removed?

This is garbage, and shouldn’t even be in print.

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By fred Dodsworth, January 1, 2007 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I very much doubt that our war criminal president, GWB would fare so well under such circumstances. Bush is such an insecure, fragile baby, I’m sure he’d be whining and mewling and trying to weasel his way out the entire time.

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By Edward Shipwash, January 1, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Saddam never harmed one American. He was a firm but fair leader and was innocent of having the weapons used to rationalized the war. He did not deserve to be murdered along with his children and over 600,000 others in a political war. He is just one in the hundreds of thousands of people who died as the result of a lying coward known as George Bush.

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By Frank, January 1, 2007 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, isn’t that precious?

Never mind that Saddam presided over decades of institutional rape, torture and murder of political prisoners and their innocent relatives, including women and children. He also reportedly fed birds and took care of weeds while in prison!  Gee, I guess he wasn’t so bad after all.  Thanks for showing us Saddams soft side, Truthdig.  Your objectivity is so refreshing.


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By VitalCenter, January 1, 2007 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
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“American Nurse” Humanizes a Monster and Touches the Heart

“American Nurse,” a boldly sexy and romantic three-act penned by Terrence McNally, premiered Off-Broadway this week and is sweeping audiences and this critic off our feet.

“American Nurse” chronicles the relationship of a US Army nurse and Saddam Hussein in the years between his capture by US troops and his execution at the hands of his Shiite enemies.

The play begins with the nurse, played brilliantly by Nathan Lane, offering the former Middle Eastern strongman only the cold and requisite care and communications of a military professional who has “drawn the most noxious conceivable duty.” Hussein, played in this debut production by Al Pacino, replies, “I used to execute ten of your kind every day before breakfast.”

Yet, the relationship of the male nurse and the Richard III-esque dictator begins to warm when Lane’s character sees Hussein saving bread crumbs for birds in the prison yard.  “So, there’s a tender side behind those aviator sunglasses?” says Lane’s gradually softening nurse.

The two men form a deep bond as their relationship begins to cross the line between friendship and romance.  And, while I am loath to tip the hand of a great playwright, I must celebrate the final sequence in which Lane’s nurse bursts into the death chamber just prior to Saddam’s execution.  “This is no monster!” shouts Lane.  “This is a man!” Pacino’s Saddam turns his head in an imitation of Christ, “And you, my little dear one, are much more than a man.” Lane half-smiles, slowly nods and silently weeps as the trap door opens and Saddam plunges into oblivion.

As usual, Lane builds a character with depth.  His nurse can imply, via body language and the delicate turn of a phrase, an entire personal universe and a rich back story.  And Pacino, having faltered on stage, seems to have found a home in the character of Hussein, who he plays as a reprise of Tony Montana (Scarface) and the Shakespearean Richard he desperately sought a decade ago.

If you see only one play this season, be sure to make room on your calendar for “American Nurse.”

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