ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL REPORT
GNS correspondent John Yaukey and photo chief Jeff Franko traveled to Iraq in March. Browse their word and photo journals.
Glimpses of life in a war-torn country by GNS national security correspondent John Yaukey and photo director Jeff Franko.
Recall key dates, browse defining photos from six weeks of combat in Iraq. (Requires Flash)
January 26, 2005
January 25, 2005
January 25, 2005
January 20, 2005
Also on the Web
Special coverage and photo galleries of American troops serving in Iraq from The Honolulu Advertiser.
Take an interactive tour of Saddam's hide-out and capture at USATODAY.com's Iraq home page.
Click here to browse more than 1,000 Iraq war news stories from the front lines and the home front.
Context: Saddam’s ruthless ambition sapped Iraq’s prosperity
By John Yaukey, Greg Barrett | GNS
There was a time when most Iraqis lived well under Saddam Hussein. Even if the dictator was most interested in conquest, Saddam’s ruling Baath Party initially kept the masses comfortable.
Long before he replaced ailing Iraqi President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr in 1979, Saddam was considered his government’s strongman. He effectively ruled as
It was Saddam’s goal to rule a unified Arab world that ultimately led to the collapse of Iraqi society and his own political demise. When he retreated from the invading
A year after becoming president, Saddam dragged
If Saddam had opened up the political process early in his presidency, “he would have won by a landslide,” said
Saddam had long espoused dreams of a unified Arab superpower replete with nuclear weapons, stretching from the
It was this Pan-Arabian vision that drove Saddam to invade
Saddam, whose name roughly translates into "he who confronts," was born April 28, 1937, to poor peasants in the unforgiving Tikrit district of
Witnessing as a young boy the arrest and imprisonment of his beloved uncle by colonial British forces instilled an early, visceral hatred of the West that radical politics would further inflame.
After running with street gangs, Saddam began his career in thug politics at age 20 by joining the Baath Arab Socialist Party. It would prove a defining moment, giving shape and direction to his passionate anti-colonialism.
The Baath Party doctrine — essentially a combination of Marxist and nationalist ideologies blended under the banner of Arab ethnicity — advocated eliminating the artificial boundaries imposed in the
Saddam would use assassination, torture and war to foment a more virulent strain of that Arab nationalism.
“Like all these despots, they begin by doing a number of positive things in order to gain popularity,” Dawisha said. “Then, as they continue to be in office and gather more power — appropriated to themselves — they acquire qualities they think are above that of any other person. As a result, they become tyrants.”