Saddam's Torture Tape

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 29, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

PAT HALPIN, GUEST-HOST: I'm Pat Halpin, filling in for Alan Colmes.

Exclusive video on just how brutal Saddam Hussein's regime really was.

We need to warn you about this video. It's extremely graphic and may be difficult to watch.

This video was handed over to the U.S. soldiers by a man who said he was ordered by the Iraqi Republican Guard (search) to tape the unthinkable forms of torture carried out by Saddam's Fedayeen (search) fighters. The tape, which was just declassified, showed soldiers cutting off fingers, cutting out tongues and a partial beheading and people being thrown off tall buildings to their deaths.

These punishments were carried out in public squares in front of dozens of members of various military installations and were carried out for such infractions as desertion and disobeying an order.

Joining us from Washington is former CIA operations officer and former deputy assistant secretary of defense Peter Brooks. He's now with the Heritage Foundation (search).

Peter when I looked at that tape, it reminded me of the kind of thing we saw coming out of the Nazi Germany, of the tapes that they made of the horrors that they inflicted in the concentration camps.

Now, there are a lot of brutal things that happened by brutal regimes. And unfortunately this is not unique. What would motivate a regime to tape these atrocities?

PETER BROOKS, FORMER CIA OPERATIONS OFFICER: Well, I think they're telling other people that it will allow them to show others what might happen to them if they don't go along the regime's ways.

There's no doubt about it. There is terrorism of its purest form but it's against his own people. He was a brutal dictator. He was a terrorist, and he ruled by fear. And anybody who disobeyed him could up upon these sort of actions against themselves.

HALPIN: But is part of this that they thought that they got some sort of sadistic pleasure out of watching these tapes and that they would never become public? I mean, this is the kind of evidence that you would see in a war crimes trial in Hague (search).

BROOKS: I think it is very sadistic. There's no doubt about that. And it speaks volumes about Saddam Hussein and his regime. But also, at times in the past we've seen these sort of films be used in front of security services, like in the former Soviet Union saying, if you disobey, if you are disloyal, these sorts of things can actually happen to you. And that's the reason they allowed them to be public events, so that people would come, they would see it.

This sort of stuff goes on in Iran today. So I mean, you're right, it didn't only happen in Iraq, but people in the public would see it. They would be frightened. The people who work in the security services said, "Hey, if you show any disloyalty, this is what will happen to you."

The same thing with Saddam when he filmed the general who was considered to be disloyal, and they filmed him being dismembered by a couple of Doberman Pinschers.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: You know, Peter, I just wonder if maybe we can show this to some of the fierce critics of the president that have been lecturing us we have no business to do this and have them now say, well, how do you defend the existence of this regime even today, because it would exist if some of these guys were in power.

BROOKS: You're absolutely right, Sean. He's the weapon of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was. And just think, if we hadn't removed him from Kuwait in 1991, he'd be doing that in Kuwait. He killed -- in fact, they say today that Saddam Hussein killed more Muslims than any other man on the face of the earth today. He killed the Shias in the South, he killed the Kurds in the North. And he used chemical weapons against the Iranians.

HANNITY: We knew about this evil, we knew how bad it was. And this is now more evidence, but you know, it's probably not enough to convince some of these liberals.

HALPIN: OK. Thanks, Peter.

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