Ten Feet From Saddam

FNC's Dana Lewis
Thursday, December 01, 2005

This is my first blog. Not my first blog from Baghdad. But I mean ever. Gosh...who would have thought I'd surrender!

But some things don't fit in every news story and I thought this would be a good way to talk about the trial of Saddam and being in Baghdad.

Keep it short...keep it short...(My blog, not the trial...but that too!)

This is my second time in court looking at Saddam from 10 feet away. I was here last month for the beginning of his trial. I learned a long time ago when I was a crime reporter that people — terrible people — never seem that sinister up close in a courtroom setting. They are kind of 'de-fanged.'

Saddam looks that way. Slow moving. Casual almost. Sort of disoriented sometimes. But suddenly there is that cold cool look from eyes that lock on you and you see the old Saddam is there — just as dangerous, just as unrepentant.

The courthouse was the former Baath party headquarters. It's opulent. Marble floors and crystal chandeliers. And it's become my Baghdad sports club, because I run from the second floor pressroom to the fourth floor courtroom repeatedly to update FOX during the trial.

What they see on the video feed is 20 minutes late. I try to run to the phone and dial them collect so they can be up to date. Last time, the FOX News foreign desk wouldn't accept a collect call! Ahhhhh. I finally got through on another number. Hilarious.

I am surprised (as always in the Middle East) at the deep divide in opinion about this trial. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark tells me after day one, "Saddam is innocent. There is no due process of law here, the trial is not justice."

I had breakfast with Basam Ridha, advisor to the Iraqi prime minister, who says "Why is the judge taking so long, this judge is no good, giving these lawyers all this time to regroup and delay the trial." But he says Monday, December 5, the trial will go forward "no matter what." We’ll see.

At our live spot in the Green Zone yesterday I met Peter, an American soldier from Guam. We were talking about diving off Truck Island. Amazing place. Palm trees. Good food. Beach. I think they should move the trial to Guam!