In today’s Opinion Journal, IWF’s Yasmine Rassam notes that, when it comes to the regime of Saddam Hussein, too many people suffer from amnesia:
Some radical feminists and anti-war liberals have very short memories. It’s just three years after Saddam Hussein’s ouster and some would have us believe the tyrant was in fact a protector of women’s rights in Iraq. That Iraq under Saddam actually had progressive, pro-women policies that are now being ‘rolled back’ thanks to the Bush administration.
Ressam recalls it differently:
Much of the anti-war propagandists’ defense of Saddam as a champion of women’s rights rests on his willingness to allow women to vote (for him), drive cars, own property, get an education and work. What they choose to ignore, however, is the systematic rapes, torture, beheadings, honor killings, forced fertility programs, and declining literacy rates that also characterized Saddam’s regime. A few examples can only begin to illustrate the cruelty and suffering endured by thousands of Iraqi women.
One torture technique favored by Saddam’s henchman and his sons involved raping a detainee’s mother or sister in front of him until he talked. In Saddam’s torture chambers women, when not tortured and raped, spent years in dark jails. If lucky, their suckling children were allowed to be with them. In most cases, however, these children were considered a nuisance to be disposed of; mass graves currently being uncovered contain many corpses of children buried alive with their mothers.
During Saddam’s war with Iran, nearly an entire generation of Iraqi men were killed, injured or captured, leaving a dearth of men of military age in Iraqi society. As a result, Saddam launched ‘fertility campaigns’ that forcibly administered fertility drugs to school girls as young as 10 in an effort to drive up the population rate.