Iraq: Saddam's House of Horrors

Australian newspapers are full of horror stories today

Australian newspapers are full of horror stories today - all on front page and in color. Coalition forces discovered dozens of simple wooden coffins stored at an Iraqi Army base. Inside - human remains, human bones. Some bearing signs of gunshot wounds. Executed by the cruel regime? At the same warehouse, documents in Arabic. Documents going back to the Iraq-Iran war. Some, clearly shown on TV, looking like personal files, with a photo on the front page.

Torture? Execution? Contrary to the popular belief, neither. In the last couple of years, Iraq and Iran have been exchanging remains of soldiers killed during the war between the two countries. The purpose was - to identify victims and give them a proper burial. That's why human remains wrapped in protective plastic sheets were held at the Army base. That's why so many personal files nearby. That's why those old human bones were not buried as yet. A similar morgue was maintained in Hanoi after the end of Vietnam war. Remains of US servicemen were gradually released for identification and sent home for burial. Considering the state of military archives in Iraq nowadays - after the first Gulf war - their forensic team had a most challenging task to identify the men.

Henry Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney

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