Just a few more reasons not to be there

A Lone Woman Testifies To Iraq’s Order of Terror:

Thanks to OpinionJournal for bringing this to my attention.

For all those liberal protest nuts who say we have no right to be in Iraq I’ll just quote this article from the Washington Post….

Hanna, a 41-year-old Assyrian Christian from a formerly rich and prominent Iraqi family, returned last week to the well of her nightmares: the police academy in Baghdad, a sprawling complex of offices, classrooms, soccer, polo and parade grounds — and prison cells, some of them converted dog kennels, according to American officials who now control the campus.

This is the place where in the 1990s Hanna was hung from a rod and beaten with a special stick when she called out for Jesus or the Virgin Mary. This is where she and other female prisoners were dragged outside and tied to a dead tree trunk, nicknamed “Walid” by the guards, and raped in the shadow of palm trees. This is the place where electric shock was applied to Hanna’s vagina. And this is where in February 2001 someone put a bullet in her husband’s head and handed his corpse through the steel gate like a piece of butcher’s meat.

Hanna, who agreed to the use of her full name, is just one of hundreds and possibly thousands of women who were tortured and sexually assaulted by the agents of the last government, human rights officials said.

The torment of Jumana Michael Hanna began as a love story in the summer of 1993. She was the only child of a venerable Iraqi family. She met Haitam Jamil Anwar, then a 30-year-old wood carver, son of immigrants from pre-independence India. It was an unsuitable match for Hanna’s mother and, much more dangerously, Saddam Hussein’s paranoid state.

Their first encounter was at Anwar’s workshop when Hanna brought an old ornamental box inlaid with fine Iranian stones to the Indian craftsman for repair. He was funny, charming and flirtatious, she remembers. There was a promise that the box would be ready in two days and an immediate attraction that left her giddy afterward. The courtship began when, upon her return for the box, Anwar asked if he could see her again.

Because of Iraq’s tribal traditions, where each marries his own, Hanna said she felt forced to hide her relationship from her mother. “I wanted her to marry an Iraqi man, a Christian man, not a foreigner,” said Hanna’s mother, Jeanne d’Arc Jacob Bahnam, 73, the daughter of an iron merchant who married a pharmacist from her own community. Her husband died in 1974.

The family lived in a fine house in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood, were members of the exclusive and largely Christian al-Hindia club, and vacationed in the United States and Europe. Wealthy and well-known, Hanna didn’t lack suitors, her mother said. But she rejected them. She wanted, Hanna said, to fall in love.

On Aug. 15, 1993, Hanna and Anwar eloped and were secretly married by a sympathetic priest. In Iraq, however, the country’s citizens needed state permission to marry a foreigner and the newlyweds had broken the law. A trip to the immigration authorities in Baghdad might have solved the problem, but Hanna, confident of her status as a member of a prominent family, went instead to the Olympic Committee in hopes that she could shortcut the bureaucracy. The Olympic Committee was the personal fiefdom of Hussein’s eldest son, Uday, a psychopath and serial rapist whose penchant for cruelty and violence led him to even run afoul of his father when he bludgeoned to the death one of Hussein’s close associates. The Olympic Committee building, now a burned-out ruin abutting the police academy grounds, was a symbol of the venality of Hussein’s rule.

Hanna arrived at the building at 10 a.m. on Nov. 15, 1993. It was the beginning of a prison sentence of two years, three months and seven days without the approval of any court of law. Through much of that first day, she waited in one room after another on the promise that a meeting about her problem was imminent.

In the last room, where she was held for several hours, the door was locked. At sunset two men entered. She recalled they said they had to take routine security precautions in advance of a meeting with Uday Hussein. They slipped a black hood over her head and tied her hands behind her back. The anxiety, which had mounted through the day, flared into terror.

She was taken down to a lower level in an elevator and then along a passageway that seemed narrow because of the way the two men bumped against her. She was pushed into a room and tied, spread-eagle, to a bed.

“All of this period, I didn’t resist,” she said. “But on the bed, I knew. I said, ‘I am like your sister; please don’t do this.’ I started to beg. They said if our sister married an Indian and started a network against the government, we would kill her. I kept praying, calling for Jesus and the Virgin Mary. I prayed to Muhammad. They damned them all.”

“They raped me twice that first day,” she continued. “I don’t know the persons. Two of them. I couldn’t see them. They kept raping for four days as well as I can remember. They took my honor.”

A guard, who was not one of the rapists, took her periodically to a bathroom and washed her himself because he said he couldn’t untie her. He lifted the hood to allow her to smoke a cigarette before taking her back to the room in which she was held. “I thank him for this small favor,” Hanna said.

On what she believes was the fifth day, another man entered the room. She recalled he railed at her about a British spy network. He told her she had wanted her papers stamped so he would stamp them. He applied electric shock to her vagina; she lost consciousness.

Hanna awoke in what she thought was a veterinary clinic for dogs because of the sound of barking. She was, in fact, in a room adjacent to the police academy kennels. A woman applied alcohol to her vagina in a crude attempt to clean it. Hanna was given a painkiller and put in a cell with 17 other women where she was kept for 10 days before she was questioned again

She was routinely beaten and she said the Major, in a grotesque joke, kept three sticks on a wall hanging under the names Jesus, the prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali, whom Shiite Muslims believe is Muhammad’s true heir. Whichever holy man a prisoner called out for determined which stick they were beaten with. The Major, she said, also routinely used electric shock and once set a police dog on her in a small room; the scar of the bite mark is still on her arm.

In early 1996, Hanna and her husband, who had been held in a detention center directly across from the police academy, were finally released. Anwar’s body bore the marks of torture and one of his legs had been broken while he was in custody, Hanna said

In January 2001, Anwar went to the Ministry of Interior to try and sort out his children’s papers before they started school; he also needed the papers so their church would baptize them. He was arrested and taken back to the cells near the police academy where he had been held before.

“He never came home,” Hanna said. On Feb. 14, 2001, Anwar’s body was passed through the front gate of the detention center to Hanna after she had been summoned there. “I lost my mind,” she said. “I was hysterical.” A taxi driver agreed to take the body to her church, where Hanna washed and dressed her husband for burial. Anwar had been shot in the head.

With her husband’s body, she was also handed a piece of government paper recognizing her as the two children’s legal guardian. They could now be baptized and go to school.

Liberal radicals will now tell me about all the other human rights atrocities in other countries and I just have one thing to say. One step at a time. To all those leftist radicals who say this was all about oil then you have sold your soul to the leftist propaganda machine.