This is just a great story, just awesome. The story of how Saddam was captured by a fellow Iraqi, this time a Iraqi-American.
First off, while I began reading this article I was sceptical, but one paragraph sticks out:
Samir’s extravagant story is difficult to believe — until he pulls out his laptop computer and rifles through the dozens of photographs he shot that night. There’s the photo of Samir posed next to the bodyguard who will ultimately lead U.S. forces to Saddam. There’s the photo of Samir standing behind the stack of $12 million in U.S. currency seized near Saddam’s hideout. And there’s the most riveting image of all: Samir kneeling behind the bruised and bloodied dictator just minutes after his inglorious capture.
“I would die for this picture,” Samir says. “Without this photo, no one would believe me.”
You got that right. The story begins:
The high drama began to unfold around noon on Saturday, December 13, 2003, when Special Forces delivered one of Saddam’s bodyguards to a U.S.-controlled palace outside Tikrit.
Intelligence officials had long viewed the bodyguard as a crucial linchpin in finding the tyrant. In a room deep within the palace, the officials and Samir went to work interrogating Saddam’s protector.
“At first he lied to us; he said he didn’t know anything,” recalls Samir, who questioned the bodyguard in a plush recliner called the “Baath Chair” — nicknamed for its role in interrogating members of Saddam’s Baath Party.
“We made threats to him. Routine stuff, saying we would beat him. Finally, after a couple of hours, he said he knew. Saddam was on a farm.”
The reconnaissance complete, the group returned to the palace. By nightfall a brigade of some 600 soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Fourth Infantry Division was in place, along with an armada of eight support helicopters flown in from Baghdad. The raid was imminent.
When they arrived at the farm, soldiers quickly detained two of the three farmers who had served as lookouts for Saddam; the third one was never found.
Back at the farmhouse, Special Forces couldn’t find Saddam or the hidden bunker.
“The farmers wouldn’t tell us anything,” says Samir. “We were beating the shit out of them, but they weren’t talking.”
Desperate, they pulled the bodyguard from the Humvee and demanded that he tell them the location of the bunker.
Samir thought the bodyguard was again trying to deceive them when he told the soldiers they were actually standing on top of Saddam’s secret bunker.
“I gave him a few slaps on the face and said, ‘What do you mean I’m standing on it?’ We couldn’t see anything. All there was was dirt and leaves. But we got some shovels off the trucks and started digging. Immediately we hit something.”
Samir says a soldier fired several blank rounds into the bunker’s exposed opening, and a man’s voice cried out from the spider hole, pleading for his life.
“He said, ‘Don’t shoot. Don’t kill me,'” recounts Samir.
Peering into the hole, Samir could make out only part of the man. In Arabic, Samir told the fugitive that if he wanted to live, he needed to get out now. When Samir asked to see the man’s hands, he showed his right hand, and then his left, but he wouldn’t show both at the same time.
“No, I want to see both your hands,” Samir yelled.
Keeping an eye on the man’s hands, Samir plunged into the hole and grabbed the prisoner. Samir says he knew right away that it was the deposed dictator.
“He smelled bad, like a homeless person, and had the long beard and hair, but I knew it was Saddam. I told everyone, ‘It’s Saddam. It’s Saddam!'”
Unconvinced, Special Forces had Samir ask the captive his identity. When the man answered that his name was Saddam, Samir says he shook him by his hair and dirt-matted beard.
“I said, ‘Yeah, Saddam what? Saddam what?’ Finally he said, ‘Hussein.'”
Upon hearing that, Samir unleashed years of pent-up rage.
“I told him that I was going to fuck him up the ass. That we were all going to fuck him up the ass. I told him he was a criminal and a murderer. I hit him and spit in his face. I stepped my foot on his head and his back. He wasn’t crying, but I think he was shocked. No one had ever treated him this way.”
The beating over, Samir tossed his digital camera to a nearby soldier, who quickly snapped a shot of Samir kneeling over the fallen despot.
Later, when the world’s most wanted man was whisked onto an awaiting helicopter, Samir remembers Saddam muttering to himself in English, asking the same question again and again: “America, why? America, why?”
I love it….Samir, you will get all your beers free if I ever meet you. You and all your fellow Special Forces soldiers did good. At least one American punched this fucker in the noggin.
Lot’s more about Samir and his story here.
Check out Discarded Lies for more.