This is a very interesting article about Mrs Anthrax. I just copy here some paraghraphs.
During the interview, she declared: “To end one’s career in defense of Iraq is an honor.” Ammash laughed while recounting the anonymous phone calls that were bombarding her and other Saddam aides, urging them to defect and abandon the regime for the sake of their families. She said she’d received e-mails filled with computer viruses, as many as 18 in a single day. “It doesn’t fit the image of the U.S.,” she complained, evoking the notion that gentlemen don’t mess with a lady’s e-mail.
Articulate and well-mannered, Ammash had been educated in the United States; she received a masters from Texas Woman’s University in Denton and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Missouri. She was said to have been a key figure in Saddam’s biotech and genetic research programs and to have been trained by Nassir al-Hindawi, the alleged father of Iraq’s biological weapons efforts. However Ammash told me her scientific work focused on the what she called the carcinogenic effects of depleted uranium, which had been present in some U.S. bombs and missiles during the 1991 war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.
Of course, I didn’t believe everything she said (and she probably didn’t believe I was a journalist acting in good faith, either). Although we talked for nearly two and a half hours over tea, this was hardly a normal interview. It was a chat on the eve of war. Ammash and I both knew that bombs would soon be falling on Baghdad and that Saddam’s regime was, most likely, in its last days.
One thing Ammash said did stick in my memory. She stressed that Iraqis remained fiercely proud of their civilization despite decades of violence and deprivation. “This country is Mesopotamia. Ninety-nine percent of the American people don’t know the country they’ll soon be bombing is Mesopotamia,” she said. “This nation has been serving civilization for 6,000 years. We invented the first alphabet … every American who enjoys education owes that to us.”
To be sure, the “Mesopotamia card” was part of a spiel that Saddam’s aides had propagated before the war in an effort to stir up international sympathies. But pride in their history is also one reason why even Iraqis who opposed Saddam remain so resentful of what they see as foreign occupation. When I was in Iraq on assignment for a couple of months this past summer, some Baghdad friends who’d welcomed the sight of American Marines in 2003 now nurtured a festering and deep-seated ambivalence about the U.S.-led occupation. Some said they actually preferred the yoke of an Iraqi autocrat such as Saddam to the rule of an American conqueror, even a benign one.
Today it’s obvious that many aspects of the U.S. presence in Iraq have been far from benign. When Ammash’s husband, Ahmed Makki Mohammed Saeed, told me in 2004 that he’d been “tortured” while being detained by U.S. authorities, I wasn’t sure whether to believe him. Revelations about U.S. abuses at Abu Ghraib prison had not yet surfaced. And his accounts sounded bizarre: being subjected to hours and hours of earsplitting American rap music laced with profanity and being doused with cold water, then forced to stand for hours in front of a freezing air-conditioner turned up full blast.
Still, the sheer weight of detail suggested to me that he wasn’t making it up. And subsequent tales of torture from other former detainees indicated that he might actually have been one of the luckier ones among them.
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