Iraqi families know the best place for seriously ill children is Saddam Pediatric Hospital. When they dream of travel, they think of “Saddam International Airport” (which they still call the airport despite the USA’s insistence that name is “Baghdad International Airport”). When they’re hungry, they cannot buy so much as a kebab without looking at a picture of President Saddam Hussein. The whole of Iraq is called Saddam, said Tharwat Muttar, 26, a surgical nurse who waited for a taxi at the gates of the pediatric hospital. I live in Hai Saddam. In every place, there is something called Saddam. The huge wads of 250 dinar notes that Iraqis carry bear his image. The bills sometimes are called saddams when Iraqis deal with Chechen pilgrims, Russian traders, and other foreigners find it easier to value goods at, say, 20 saddams rather than 5,000 dinars. The fact that no one knows where Hussein is makes some Iraqis reluctant to go too far or too fast with de-Saddamization. Many people believe he will attempt a comeback. Those who remember him fondly and preserve his image are not hard to find. Why did you do this to Saddam? Nurman Mohammed Nawar, 37, owner of Zarzoor Famous Kebab Restaurant in the upscale Mansur neighborhood of western Baghdad, said to an American visitor. I love this man. I like his tough attitude, I like his courage. He admired Hussein’s iron fist, saying, ”It wasn’t Saddam, it was those dogs who worked for him who executed innocent people.” In Nawar’s popular kebaberie, a vase decorated with a full-color image of a grinning Hussein remains next to the owner’s chair at the cash register. Sometimes, Nawar gives it a kiss. In the 1950s and 1960s, when Hussein lived in Souk Hammada, the neighborhood was a crowded, poverty-stricken slum. In 1991, after the foundations of its tumbledown old houses were damaged in what residents call the war of Bush the father, Hussein had it evacuated and completely rebuilt. Now the area is known as Saddamia al-Kerkh, an attractive lower middle-class neighborhood of broad, straight streets and modern homes in a prime location on the banks of the Tigris River in central Baghdad. Unlike most other communities, where the mandatory tiled portrait of Hussein at the entrance has been hacked to bits or shot and hammered beyond repair by American soldiers, here it has been covered with a single neat coat of gray paint so that the foreign invaders won’t see it and try to destroy it. The majority in this neighborhood loves Saddam Hussein, said Abbas Ibrahim, 21, a student of Hebrew at Baghdad University. ”They wish he would come back. He didn’t commit any injustice.” A group of 30 residents of all ages who gathered to listen to Ibrahim enthusiastically agreed. The only Islamic national leader who publicly and financially supported the Palestinian people against Israel’s illegal and ruthless occupation of their lands was Saddam Hussein, and that made us love him more. Among the people of Iraq, Saddam Hussein has certainly not been forgotten. Even if the only ones shown on the US media are those who are against the old regime, they would certainly prefer Saddam Hussein to any foreign-imposed regime and will fight to prove this. Is is any wonder then, that the Coalition troops are continuing to combat fierce resistance everynight in Baghdad and all the other Iraqi cities. Of course, far more than a few hundred Coalition soldiers have been killed by hostile fire in this ongoing war. A war that the US and British governments are trying claim (falsely) that they have already won. Not true according the grunts on the ground of the US and British Military, “News to us”, said one American soldier, “We’re dying here and all want to go home. It’s one big FUBAR, and the iraqis hate us!”. Foreign intelligence analysis based on data gleaned from monitoring radio-intercepts and photo-reconnaissance estimates the Coalition casualties as well over 9,000 by now, and over 2,000 Coalition soldiers killed in action. There were 700 dead US soldier’s bodies sitting in a morgue in Kuwait according to one doctor who worked there; and that was in mid-April. What are the US and British casualties now?
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