By: E&P staff
The man who was said to be the leader of the group in Baghdad that famously toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein (with a little help from Americans) after the U.S. invasion in 2003 now voices a lot of regrets.
The British paper, The Guardian, is carrying a film about the man on the ITV network tonight.
Kadhim al-Jubouri, the paper reports, took a sledgehammer to the 20-foot bronze statue of Saddam on that April day. The account continues as follows.
Now, on the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, he says: “I really regret bringing down the statue. The Americans are worse than the dictatorship. Every day is worse than the previous day.”
The weightlifter had also been a mechanic and had felt the full weight of Saddam’s regime when he was sent to Abu Ghraib prison by the Iraqi leader’s son, Uday, after complaining that he had not been paid for fixing his motorcycle.
He explained: “There were lots of people from my tribe who were also put in prison or hanged. It became my dream ever since I saw them building that statue to one day topple it.”
Yet he now says he would prefer to be living under Saddam than under US occupation. He said: “The devil you know [is] better than the devil you don’t. We no longer know friend from foe. The situation is becoming more dangerous. It’s not getting better at all. People are poor and the prices are going higher and higher.”
Saddam, he says, “was like Stalin. But the occupation is proving to be worse.”
According to an opinion poll of 5,000 Iraqis carried out over the past month, 49% say they are better off now than under Saddam, and 26% say life was better under Saddam. More than one in four said they had had a close relative murdered in the past three years.