today's reading assignment
today's reading assignment
An excerpt from The Threatening Storm by Kenneth Pollack, read by Sen. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) this month in the House of Representatives.
|"This is a regime that will gouge out the eyes of children to force confessions from their parents and grandparents. This a regime that will crush all of the bones in the feet of a 2-year-old girl to force her mother to divulge her father's whereabouts. This is a regime that will hold a nursing baby at arm's length from its mother and allow the child to starve to death to force the mother to confess. This is a regime that will burn a person's limbs off to force him to confess or comply. This is a regime that will slowly lower its victims into huge vats of acid, either to break their will or simply as a means of execution. This is a regime that applies electric shocks to the bodies of its victims, particularly their genitals, with great creativity. This is a regime that in 2000 decreed that the crime of criticizing the regime, which can be as harmless as suggesting that Saddam's clothing does not match, will be punished by cutting out the offender's tongue. This is a regime that practices systematic rape against its female victims. This is a regime that will drag in a man's wife, daughter or other female relative and repeatedly rape her in front of him. This is a regime that will force a white-hot metal rod into a person's anus or other orifices. This is a regime that employs thalium poisoning, widely considered one of the most excruciating ways to die. This is a regime that will behead a young mother in the street in front of her house and children because her husband was suspected of opposing the regime. This is a regime that used chemical warfare on its own Kurdish citizens, not just on the 15,000 killed and maimed at Halabja but on scores of other villages all across Kurdistan. This is a regime that tested chemical and biological warfare agents on Iranian prisoners of war, using the POWs in controlled experiments to determine the best ways to disperse the agents to inflict the greatest damages.
This is the fate that awaits thousands of Iraqis each year. The roughest estimates are that over the last 20 years more than 200,000 people have disappeared into Saddam's prison system, never to be heard from again. Hundreds of thousands of others were taken away and, after unforgettable bouts of torture that left them psychologically and often physically mangled, eventually were released or escaped. To give a sense of scale, just the numbers of Iraqis never heard from again would be equivalent to about 2.5 million Americans suffering such a fate.
In the words of Toren, have a nice day.