Iraqi Man Who Helped to Topple Saddam’s Statue Says He Regrets Taking It Down
An Iraqi man who helped to topple the statue of Saddam Hussein, in what became one of the most iconic moments of the first phase of the Iraq War, says he wishes he could put the figure back up again.
Speaking to the BBC, Kadhim Sharif Hassan Al-Jabbouri said, “More than 14 or 15 people in my own family were executed by Saddam. So I was happy the day that the Americans came and got rid of Saddam’s oppressive regime. When I heard that the Americans had reached the outskirts of Baghdad, I was very happy and went to get my sledgehammer and left for the square.”
“I started to strike the statue. I wanted to tear it down,” he continued. Images from that day show Al-Jabbouri enthusiastically wielding his sledge at the base of the Hussein figure.
“But then every year things started to get worse,” he added, speaking of the corruption, infighting, looting, and violence that consumed the country in the years following the initial rush of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
George W. Bush and then-United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair were “liars,” he said, who “destroyed Iraq and took us back to zero and took us back to the Middle Ages or earlier.”
If he were a criminal, he added, he would “kill them with my bare hands.”
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