On Our Watch
In 2003, when Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, a woman named Hamdiyah al-Dulaimi had three handsome sons. They were good men with wives and families, the shining accomplishments of her life.Multiply that thousands of times over.
In hindsight, it was a much better life than she realized at the time. Most certainly better than it is now, four years after the fall of Baghdad.
On April 9, 2003, the people of the city cheered invading U.S. soldiers in the city square. Leaders of the coalition troops promised liberty, freedom and life without tyranny.
But Baghdad still has none of those things. And al-Dulaimi has no sons.
One day last spring, a dozen men in black uniforms knocked down her door. They screamed "Filthy Sunnis!" and handcuffed her sons, Haqqi, 39, Qais, 37, and Ali, 31.
"Why? What did my boys do?" the mother cried as the gunmen dragged their new prisoners across the floor.
Al-Dulaimi dropped to her knees, clinging to the ankles of a kidnapper. She begged, kissing his shoes. "At least leave me one. Take the other two. Leave me one."
They beat her unconscious with their gun stocks and took her sons.
The next day, her sons' corpses were on the sidewalk. Haqqi's body was headless. The bodies of Qais and Ali had been mutilated; some parts were missing.
Like so many others, their grieving mother fled -- to Syria, in her case.