Rupert Murdoch’s two tabloid dailies in London and New York today run front page pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underwear doing his prison laundry. The Sun claims to have received the pictures from a source in the U.S. military who hoped they would take the steam out of former Ba’athists turned insurgents.
“Saddam is just an aging and humble old man now,” the Sun’s source said. “It’s over, guys. The evil days of Saddam’s Ba’ath Party are never coming back – and here’s the proof.”
The military and the President reacted angrily and quickly.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – British and American newspapers published photos Friday showing an imprisoned Saddam Hussein clad only in his underwear and washing his laundry, prompting an angry U.S. military to launch an investigation and the Red Cross to say the photos may violate the Geneva Conventions.
Britain’s The Sun and the New York Post said the photos were provided by a U.S. military official it did not identify. The photos not only angered the U.S. military, which issued a condemnation rare for its immediacy, but also were expected to further fuel anti-American sentiment in a country edging toward open sectarian conflict.
“This is an insult to show the former president in such a condition. Saddam is from the past now, so what is the reason for this? It is bad work from the media. Do they want to degrade the Iraqi people? Or they want to provoke their feelings,” said Baghdad businessman Abu Barick, 45.
President Bush was briefed by senior aides Friday morning about the photos’ existence and “strongly supports the aggressive and thorough investigation that is already underway” that seeks to find who took them, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.Somewhere Michael Isikoff is breathing a sigh of relief…
We’ll Publish More Saddam Pictures Says Defiant Sun – [PA/Scotsman]