In the name of God, the Merciful, the Mercy-giving.
"And among the Believers are men who are true to that which they pledged to God. Some of them have fulfilled their pledge by death and some of them still are waiting and they have not altered in the least. That God may reward the true men for their truth and punish the hypocrites if He will, or relent towards them, for God is forgiving, merciful. And God repulsed the infidels for their wrath. They gained no good. God averted their attack from the Believers. God is strong, mighty." [Qur'an 33:23-25].
To the American people:
Peace upon those who believe in peace and desire it, and the mercy of God and His blessings.
I address you in this letter from the place of my confinement, as my attempt on the basis of my moral, human, and constitutional responsibility so that no one among you might say that no one came to us with a message of peace after the war began, refuting the arguments for it and desiring peace for you and for our upright, loyal, heroic people. And as I say this, I do no know whether my brothers and comrades who are leading the Resistance outside the prison have come to you with a letter before or not. That is because the "democracy" of your leaders has prevented me since my arrest and until now from getting newspapers and magazines or hearing radio and television and has isolated me from the world and has isolated the world from me so that I might not hear or see anything from outside my place of confinement.
Is this the true face of democracy and human rights that they advocate outside America!? Or have your rulers lied about it? This includes the killing of people in prisons and jails, some of them by means of the pistols of the American investigators. Or has all of this along with other details that would turn an attentive person's hair white been concealed from you by your officials such that you do not know the truth!?
Anyway, I address you with this letter of mine in the hope that it will reach you and that you will hear it or read it. And on the basis of my responsibility to bring the facts before people, whatever their color or nationality, for that is our duty to them, just as they have a duty to us not to accept evil.
I address you today as my attorney the eminent lawyer and Professor Ramsey Clark has asked that I write this letter of mine to you. Professor Ramsey has presented an excellent example of a humanitarian in his person and in his colleague Professor Curtis Dobler, both of whom left a positive personal impression on me. On this occasion I wish to salute their courage as they have volunteered for the task although they know the dangers that surround them in carrying out their duty, in particular after criminals have killed four of the defense attorneys.
People of America, it still seems to me that the officials in your government are still lying to you and are not giving you true explanations of the reasons that led them to embark on their aggression against Iraq. In what they have said about the reasons they have deceived, from the starting point, not only the international community, and in particular the European Community but also the peoples of America themselves, knowing beforehand that the facts were contrary to what they were declaring. Untrue is what they said, after their lies were exposed, about having been deceived by their intelligence agencies and by the stooges that they brought along to serve as their puppets in Iraq, just as old imperialism and the old empires of the 19th and 20th centuries used to do. What we are saying is based on many facts, the major ones being as follows:
1. The inspection teams – that came to Iraq in the name of the United Nations and carried out searches even of some private houses as well as government departments, presidential palaces and government documents – those teams knew that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction because most of the leading members in those teams were Americans and British and in addition they had spies and volunteers of other nationalities. Those teams searched Iraq piece by piece from one end to the other and never found any information contrary to what they and others were told by Iraqi government representatives. The inspections lasted for more than seven years. And in addition to the teams that traveled by car and on foot, they used spy planes, helicopters, and satellites in space. The American and English officials thought that this was their historic chance to strike Iraq and destroy its legitimate aspirations and the lofty cultural and scientific achievements made in the course of 35 years, making use of the information gathered by their spies in the inspection teams and making use of the so-called war on terror after the 11 September incident that struck America. They shuffled the cards to bring up the goals that they had already decided upon earlier, and these were not the goals that they publicly announced at the starting line.
It was their assessment that the unjust embargo had not destroyed Iraq's will nor halted its legitimate aspirations to develop economically, culturally, scientifically, and as a civilization in the conditions of a new independence. They believed that Iraq had come close at that time to breaking the economic embargo as the result of the cooperation of those who cooperated with Iraq on the basis of mutual benefit and fraternal national feelings as far as the Arabs were concerned. The officials in your country thought that this was their chance to impose their will on the world by means of their control of the Middle East's oil and its production and marketing in new ways and for new goals – those about which we spoke in and before the year 2003 – in addition to attaining one of their Zionist goals and winning support in the election. Iran and its lackeys played a dirty role in making aggression appear attractive and in facilitating its implementation.
2. The American officials did not withdraw from Iraq after they became hard pressed, but declared that the facts were contrary to what they had claimed before the invasion that took place in March and April of the year 2003. If they had been truthful when they claimed that they had been deceived as a result of the information they had been given and which they used as the cover for their invasion, and which they declared at the time was sufficient justification for the invasion – declaring at the time that it involved things that they said affected the security of the United States – then they would have withdrawn from Iraq after discovering that that information had been false. They would have apologized to the heroic Iraqi people, to the American people and to the people of the world for what they had done.
None of the Americans asked their government before the war how Iraq, a country that had still not emerged from backwardness, could threaten the security of a country like America across the Atlantic. And for that matter why would Iraq want to threaten America, which at that time had not violated the territory of Iraq. If the American officials wanted to promote the claim that Iraq's threat was precisely involved in the opposing stances taken by Iraq and America over the Zionist occupation of the land of Palestine and other Arab land, it could be said that Iraq is not the only state that takes an opposing stance to that of America in regards to the issue, whether that be Arab states or other states in the world. Furthermore, who has authorized America to make the countries of the world tailor their policies to America's measurements, and if they don't oblige, then war should be waged against them? How can one understand America's call for democracy if it does not permit a difference of opinion even in issues of a regional character, to say nothing of international ones?
Another lie was the claim of American officials that Iraq had links to what they called terrorism, although British Prime Minister Blair declared that Iraq does not have any ties to so-called terrorism and had no internationally prohibited weapons, forcing Bush to declare the same thing. Despite that, none of the important American personalities asked President Bush on what sort of rational analysis or what sort of realistic information this claim rested. Do you know, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, why they didn't ask? Because some of your prominent personalities are directed in what they do by hidden forces that distorted the image you received of Iraq's positions. They had been laying the groundwork for years to facilitate aggression from the start. Therefore no one asked the American officials, for example, why no Iraqi took part in the events of 11 September!? And if the participation of individuals in the attack on American targets isn't to be taken as proof of the involvement of any country in those events, then how do you accuse a state like Iraq, the features of whose political system are known, of so-called relations with terror? How can you consider this charge to be one of only two on the basis of which aggression was launched against the people of Iraq, destroying their property and achievements and bringing their lives under daily and direct threat?
Do you know, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, that I asked one of the American officials who talked with me perhaps two weeks after my arrest, just what was it that you based those false charges on? He said that as far as the weapons of mass destruction were concerned, "we didn't have anything to confirm what you were saying." And as for the links to terrorism, he said, because you, Saddam Hussein, did not send a letter of condolence to President Bush after the incident [of 11 September].
I smiled bitterly and told him: as regards your claim that you didn't have confirmation of our statements, it seems that your officials lie and imagine that officials in countries around the world do not tell the truth, or that many of those who have relations with you in fact do not tell you the truth, neither when they oppose your policies nor when they agree with them. This is a dangerous matter, not only for the countries of the world but because they then pose a danger for America as well, if nobody in the world will tell America: 'this is a mistake' and 'this is unacceptable'! And at that time when American planes were striking targets in Iraq and destroying public and private property, killing Iraqi citizens including women and children for no reason and imposing on Iraq their unjust embargo, prohibiting Iraq from importing even pencils for children to use in primary schools, what exactly is it that should obligate Saddam Hussein to send a telegram of condolences to the president of the state whose officials have committed all those crimes, unless it be out of hypocrisy and weakness? But because I am neither a hypocrite nor a weakling I didn't send Bush a telegram of condolence. But I did agree on the telegram sent containing condolences in the name of the government of Iraq and sent by Comrade Tariq Aziz, the Deputy Prime Minister, to our friend Ramsey Clark and through him to the stricken families.
Are the great states so deluded as to imagine that whoever does not send a letter of condolence deserves that war should be waged against him, his country, and his people!? Here you see how the American officials used even your own blood to promote their reckless, aggressive policy. Is this the kind of morality that people should have? Or men? Or officials? There is nothing graver than for disasters to ravage people who have been stricken by delusions, committed wrongs, and wantonly despised the roles of others. The worst disease of the American officials who involved the Americans in war against Iraq is this.
3. After I was arrested they made vain attempts to use intimidation and threats against me. One of their generals conveyed that intimidation and host threats and tried to bargain with me, promising to let me live if I agreed to read in my own voice and sign a prepared announcement that was shown to me. That stupid announcement called on the people of Iraq and the courageous Resistance to lay down arms. They said that if I refused, my fate would be that I would be shot just like Mussolini, as my interlocutor put it. But, as you know me and would expect of me, I disdainfully refused, not even touching that dirty document with my hand and sullying myself with it. I told them if I were given the chance to address my people, I would call them to more resistance.
Seven days later, to reinforce themselves, they sent a group to talk with me. They said they were from an American University and that they wanted to engage me in a broad discussion. I agreed and I confirmed to them that Iraq didn't have any of the things the American officials claimed and I advised them [the US] to leave Iraq quickly and apologize to the people, warning them that they were going to get what they now are facing and what they are now embroiled in – in fact, the fate I expect for them is worse than what they are facing now – and they will never have an adequate chance to pull their arms and equipment out of Iraq if the two halves of Iraq engulf them, and they will engulf them, God willing, because our people are deeply rooted and conscious. They know that our liberation can be clean and complete only with their unity, and that tolerance must be the basis for the orientations of our people within their ranks, and that wounds must be bound up, not ripped open.
I say, I told them all that at that time but they didn't change their methods; they didn't replace the keys of falsehood, and they are still knocking on the doors of wrong, failing to try the door of legitimacy, even though they now know. In this connection, attached to this letter are some verses from a long ode; a selection of 56 verses. [Not translated here.]
4. It is neither reasonable nor convincing that a country like America to which the doors of the intelligence agencies in the east and most of the countries of the west have been opened did not know the truth and could not know the truth. Although I am convinced and believe that many countries in the world have an interest in war or wars, she [the United States] does not have an interest in war even though she might believe she does. The contrary, in fact, is the case.
America is a big country on the other side of the Atlantic. It has developed a unique unparalleled power such that I think some people there imagine that it is on its way to attaining the crown of the world all for itself as a world empire. Have they not learned a lesson from their war in Viet Nam? The west used to promote the idea that world Communism and the Soviet bloc threatened their interests and also the security of the entire west. But despite that promotion, this was nothing but a flimsy cover. Nevertheless, America used it and wrapped itself in it until the heroic Vietnamese people expelled them by force.
As to their invasion of Iraq, it came in a situation that made the first step easy from the standpoint of the reaction of the international community because of the international balance of forces. But it came in a situation that might make it more costly that its war in Viet Nam. That is because when America was expelled from Viet Nam it did not lose its standing, or we might say it only lost a small part of its standing. But when it is expelled and routed from Iraq, which has no great power to support it directly, it will lose the fundamental basis of its standing.
In fact it has now already lost the foundation for that standing and its reputation has begun to decay. It is no longer able to wield the big stick that it formerly threatened to use. It used to accomplish more by threatening to use force than by really using force. I will go further and say that after its war in Iraq, that stick no longer frightens many people and America has come to need the silence of the smallest and simplest countries and tries to please them in order to get them to stay quiet about America's crimes and reckless, deviant policies.
Before, many of the world's countries used to court the United States and most countries in the world, all except a few, used to fear her threats or parried them with defensive arguments. But now Mao Zedong of fond memory is laughing in his grave because his prediction has been fulfilled and America is a paper tiger. This is by the will of the Living Eternal God, and by His agents on earth, the heroic Mujahideen in glorious, virtuous, militant, jihadist Iraq. So God bless the heroic people of Iraq and God bless the jihad and the mujahideen.
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen of the peoples of America, the time has come to an end in which greatest and best-equipped armies could scatter the organized formations of the opposing army and thereby bring a war to a close. Now you see our courageous army, our heroic people, and our Mujahideen replacing the system of organized formations with a new kind of warfare. And when the Americans on the ground become targets in the vicinity of the guns of the revolutionaries, who attack them as deadly human bombs with nothing more than their bodies filled with faith in God, American superiority is worn down over time. In fact in the near future that superiority will become a burden whose equipment will be difficult to withdraw. So, will America trust the voice of rationality and logic that calls for the preservation of what still remains, or will Satan the deceiver and the hate-filled supporters of Zionism keep pushing the Americans until the waves swallow them and they sink to the depths of the raging sea?
Who, after all, appointed the American government to be the world policeman, to form the world in the mold that it likes, giving national orders to the countries of the world?
Saddam Hussein, ladies and gentlemen, is an honorable patriot and an honest man. He is a statesman resolute in implementing the law, just, but benevolent. He loves his people and his nation. He is straightforward, doesn't double-cross or deceive. He speaks the truth even against himself. Do tyrants like Bush like such characteristics? If he were a person like De Gaulle or even like Reagan, perhaps he would understand them, or at least would not abhor them. But I must say to you that your country will discover more, esteemed ladies and gentlemen. It has lost his reputation and his standing. Indeed the American who used to travel around the world respected and safe and welcomed wherever he went, is now no longer able to step outside America without a mine detector. And the State Department issues warnings for you constantly about what world regions are dangerous to American lives
It was American officials and their polices themselves that have created an atmosphere of anti-American hatred in the world by means of their arrogant behavior, their haughty aggressive attitude, their lack of respect for international law and the security of the world – including the security of my Arab Nation through their support for the Zionist entity in Palestine – and other world and human issues.
Today you are in a bad predicament with the world and nobody can rescue you but yourselves. If you reform, you will open for the world and for yourselves a new opportunity. But if you are heedless, that is your decision. What you need is free and fair competition and peace in order to have security.
The years that followed the 18th century had long gone when they came as invaders to the Middle East to bring back memories of things that awaken and arouse. The Middle East, and the Arab homeland in particular, was the cradle of prophets and messengers from God. Is the cradle of the prophets, where the prophets are buried in their tombs, also the home of devils and their mirror images – the malicious invaders?
We have believed, and our faith was suited to us,
Then came the Zionists with a devil for a guide.
They stormed in on us as invaders, unjust.
The did not stop their advance nor sit still,
Their diabolical patron has prepared their dilemma.
But as for us, we have the Merciful God as Patron.
People of America, despite the crimes your government inflicted on our people, our Arab Nation and humanity, the people of Iraq – and I mean by that the Iraqis, not those with split loyalties who prefer to serve foreigners rather than their own people – I say the free people of Iraq even in their present circumstances are not thinking about their destiny alone but about the destiny of others wherever it's possible to create a solution that treats a painful problem.
On this basis I said to some Americans when I was in my prison, why don't you come to an agreement with the Resistance to designate a country with a charter and power to which the Resistance can hand over those American soldiers whom they capture, rather than executing them as currently is said to be taking place. In fact the extent to which the Resistance is responsible for this is unknown, but people who are equitable know that America has not abided by international law in any of its activities in Iraq, including the Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners and detainees. The Resistance has no secure place in Iraq where prisoners can be kept. So whether the Resistance is at all responsible, or whether the responsibility lies with some other parties that have no connection to the Resistance, the justification for it is that there is no secure place for prisoners to be kept.
Therefore in order to fulfill humanitarian needs and to eliminate the justification [for killing prisoners] I make this proposal to you and to the national Resistance and to anyone concerned, and I make this with the best of intentions. If you accept it and respect the Geneva Conventions then the argument of those who kill rather than detain prisoners will have vanished. But if your government does not accept it, then it will bear the responsibility for refusing and for whatever befalls our people and the heroic Resistance as a result of your government's violation of international law. This will be particularly true if the number of American prisoners increases in the future, and we think that it will increase. Or is it that your government can't see anything until it feels it?
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for your government to look at all people as equals before international law regardless of the size of the countries to which they belong. Whoever violates international law in his policies and the behavior of his army, he alone must bear the consequences for that policy. And if his policies are not in accordance with the letter of international law, he has no right to call others to protect his rights in accordance with that law.
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, whoever missed his or her chance to take action to try to prevent the war still has a chance to act to end it and bring back peace and freedom to Iraq in accordance with the choice of its people without foreign interference by anyone whoever that may be.
People of America, I address you not from weakness nor as a supplicant. I, my people, my brothers, comrades, and my nation – we address you on the basis of our moral and human responsibility. I tell you that officials whom you know, and first among them your President, lied to you and deceived you and tricked you using the media that portrayed Iraq to you as incorrigible, and Saddam Hussein as a hateful dictator, and that his people hate him and that his people are just waiting for their chance to get at him. Some of them just wallowed in lying falsehood to the point that they openly declared that the Iraqis would meet the invading armies with roses and celebration.
I know that lots of people don't do a lot of analysis; they don't have the time or the ability or the desire to do careful assessments when presented with falsified news so as to uncover the truth. The American peoples had no chance to inquire, for example: why, if the people of Iraq hate Saddam Hussein, how he managed to defeat the Iran of Khomeini after eight years in the aggressive war that Iran sought to impose on us under the slogan of exporting the revolution beginning with Iraq? People of America, the victory over Khomeini's Iran was not due to the short length of the war, but came only after eight years of grinding warfare in which tens of thousands fell and hundreds of thousands on the Iranian side.
Then if Saddam Hussein were a dictator, why did he establish a parliament with elections for the first time in the year 1980 during wartime, when there had been no parliament in Iraq since 1958? If he and his government were dictators, how could he visit schools, universities, towns, and villages and spend the night with the people wherever the sun went down? How could he travel around and lead at the battle front at night and during the day even in the trenches in the front lines on the battlefield among the Muslim soldiers!?
Yes, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, your government deceived you, and you, or rather most of you, had no chance to inquire of themselves or of others in order to discover the truth because the Zionists in the lobby who advocated the war together with some of the centers of power were deceiving you and tricking you, hiding from your eyes the real truth, exchanging the facts for falsified and slanted information. Last but not least in this regard, if Saddam Hussein were a dictator hated and despised by his people, how is it that his people endured him and why was he chosen President by referendum?
People of America, the misfortunes that have afflicted you and afflicted our Arab Nation and within it our heroic Iraqi people – including the breakdown of America's standing and reputation – were only caused by the reckless behavior of your government and by pressure from Zionism and power centers that influenced the government to commit those crimes and scandalous actions for specific ends that have nothing to do with the interest of the American peoples. The massacres and blood that now flows in the streets and countryside of Iraq in torrents – the responsibility for that falls on America before all others. You know, or rather you have now come to learn, that neither the stooges whom the American forces brought in on board their aircraft or as shamefaced presents aboard their tanks, nor Iran, which pushed and still pushes forward those who support it and whom they support, would be able to cause the bloodshed, or the destruction of the honor, and property of our people and our state had not America undertaken the aggression and invasion and issued the orders. It is still issuing orders in the Green Zone. Therefore America bears the burden of all those crimes and outrages. So, will you put an end to what is going on by using the methods of direct truth without evasion and digression? Or will you invite the machine of death to continue to eat away at the flesh of Iraqis and the flesh of Americans without doing anything to resolve this?
It is your historical responsibility, esteemed ladies and gentlemen. If you reform, you could save what remains of the standing and reputation of America and its legitimate interests. If you do nothing, you will be keeping silent over something evil. "God grant us patient perseverance and let us die as Muslims." [Qur'an, 7:126]
People of America, the wars that your government promotes in the world – one of them being the war in Iraq – with input from certain centers of power – which you know better than we – are not in the interests of the American people. You know better than many how you paid in blood so that you might liberate yourselves from British colonialism and after that how the United States of America was unified and what rivers of blood were shed in order for that to come about. So, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, how do you accept this interference that abases America before it abases Iraq? How can you accept not only the invasion but becoming mired in the internal affairs of Iraq? You know that Iraq is a land of prophets, messengers, and righteous figures. You know that Baghdad is the fourth holiest city in the Arab homeland – after Mecca, al-Madinah, and Jerusalem – in the sight of all of the Islamic world and all of our Arab Nation. How can one imagine that Iraq could reconcile itself to colonial rule, even if it comes, this time, under another name and with other slogans? Save your country, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, and leave Iraq.
God is greatest. God is greatest.
President of the Republic of Iraq and Commander in Chief of the Mujahid Armed Forces.
7 July 2006.
[Appended to the letter was a selection of poetry by Saddam Hussein dealing with the homeland, invasion and the struggle for liberation]