Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Saddam Hussein's loo to go in US museum

The US military is vacating Saddam Hussein's ornate palaces at its war headquarters in Baghdad and will turn the property over to Iraq next month, but Saddam's prison toilet is leaving with the Americans.
The stainless steel commode and a reinforced steel door have been removed from the cell where the dictator spent two years before his 2006 execution, and are destined for a military police museum in the US.
"We're not taking anything that the Iraqis had. We are only taking stuff that we put in, we utilised, and when we didn't need it any more, we took it home," Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Brooks, a US military historian, said.
The villa, where US troops built a maximum-security jail for Saddam and Ali Hassan Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti, otherwise known as Chemical Ali, sits on a US complex near Baghdad's airport known as Victory Base. It is scheduled to be handed over to Iraq's government in December as US forces withdraw completely by the end of the year.
Surrounded by 27 miles of blast walls and razor wire, Victory, the largest of the 505 bases the US military once operated in Iraq, housed more than 40,000 soldiers and up to 25,000 workers. Only 4,000 troops now remain there.
From a peak of around 170,000, 31,000 US troops remain in Iraq, at 12 bases. The announcement in October by the US president, Barack Obama, that all the remaining forces would leave by the end of the year has kicked the withdrawal into high gear.
The palaces that once housed the US war command, modelled on the Palace of Versailles and scattered around a series of interconnected, manmade lakes, are being emptied of everything except Saddam's French provincial furniture.
The Burger King, Subway and other American food outlets that catered to hundreds of thousands of US soldiers at the dusty complex are now closed.
At the faux-elegant al-Faw palace, the stadium-tiered war ops room, where orders were handed out, is dark and empty of phones and computers.
General Lloyd Austin vacated the US commander's palace in September to move to the US embassy, on the banks of the Tigris.
US officials said they were leaving behind improvements valued at more than $100m (£62m) on Victory base, including buildings, water tanks, generators and other equipment.

taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/08/saddam-husseins-loo-us-museum

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