Bush Welcomes Iraqi Amputees

Seven Iraqi men whose hands were ordered cut off by Saddam Hussein (search) met with President Bush at the White House on Tuesday, along with a Houston doctor who helped fit them with prosthetics (search).

"I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein with six other Iraqi citizens as well who suffered the same fate," Bush said, shaking the new hand of Qasim Ghida Kadhim at a photo opportunity at the Oval Office. "They are examples of the brutality of the tyrant."

Kadhim, a salesman, and the six others had their hands crudely amputated in 1995 at Abu Ghraib (search), the Iraqi prison that was a symbol of torture under Saddam's regime and more recently was the scene of alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops.

The men were accused of doing business in foreign currency, including American dollars.

The six other men were Laith Niema Aqar, a jeweler; Salah Hasan Zinad, a businessman; Nazaar Abdulridha Joudi, a jeweler; Ala'a Hassan, a textile salesman; Basim Ameer, the news manager of the Iraqi Media Network; and Hassan Al Gereawy, a laborer.

Last week, Al Gareawy said of his surgery and rehabilitation, "It's a dream come true."

In recent interviews with the news media, the men have profusely thanked the United States and American troops for bringing hope for freedom and democracy to Iraq.

Bush thanked Joe Agris, the plastic surgeon who fitted the men with high-tech hands last month, and others who helped bring about the surgeries. Don North, a documentary producer, discovered the men last year and sought help for them in the United States, and a Houston journalist, Marvin Zindler, helped arrange for their surgeries and publicized their story.
The prostheses, each valued at $50,000, as well as all services, were donated.