Published September 10, 2009
To the rest of the world, Saddam Hussein was a ruthless tyrant and an infamous international criminal. But to retired U.S. Army Nurse Robert Ellis, he was a client and daily companion who went by the code name "Victor."
Ellis worked as the senior American medical advisor at the compound, Baghdad's Camp Cropper, where Hussein was held for eight months until his execution in December 2006. During that time, the former Iraqi leader grew close to his caregiver, who was known to him by the code name "Alice."
Ellis spent more time with Hussein than any other American. And Ellis says that when he told Hussein that he had to return to St. Louis to see his dying brother, Hussein hugged him and said, "I will be your brother," according to FOX's St. Louis affiliate, FOX2.
Ellis' new book, "Caring for Victor," is a chronicle of his time with the infamous Iraqi dictator. For Ellis, the mission caused serious internal conflict.
"I was always conflicted throughout the whole mission," Ellis told FOX2. "My job was to keep these people alive and healthy so they could be interrogated."
Ellis admits that Hussein was a brutal killer, yet he says that by remaining "non-judgmental," he was able to see another side of Hussein.
"By me spending time with him, I got to see his other side, a side that you don't hear about," Ellis says. "They play by a different set of rules over there."